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Old Forum Spam And Links


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13 replies to this topic

#1 brassmonkey

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 06:20 AM

Let's say I take over a website that has an old forum (not linked to from main site anymore) that is getting large number of daily spam posts. G has these indexed and make up a large proportion of the G results for the domain.
Also a large % of the backlinks are spammy links to that old forum, presumabely trying to boost credibility of their spam posts.
If I remove the old forum completely, the site will go from 30k pages to 3k, and most of the links will go nowhere.
In taking over the website, some of the few remaining links in would also be removed by owner.
How will this hurt the domain and rankings etc from G perspective?

#2 Jill

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 08:17 AM

I'd say it could only help to remove the spammy forum pages.

#3 Michael Martinez

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 01:15 PM

If you have no interest in running a forum I would recommend shutting it down and redirecting all the old forum URLs to a page on your site that explains the forum closing.

#4 brassmonkey

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 03:02 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Jan 20 2012, 01:17 PM) View Post
I'd say it could only help to remove the spammy forum pages.


Thanks Jill. But wouldn't you say the sudden 404 of so many pages and subsequent loss of incoming links would likely have a negative impact on the domain's rankings. Raise a flag at G?


#5 Jill

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 03:25 PM

QUOTE(brassmonkey @ Jan 20 2012, 03:02 PM) View Post
Thanks Jill. But wouldn't you say the sudden 404 of so many pages and subsequent loss of incoming links would likely have a negative impact on the domain's rankings. Raise a flag at G?


Not if it was basically all spammy. It would have a positive impact to get rid of it.

But I would 301 redirect, not 404. Never 404 anything, imo.

#6 brassmonkey

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 02:51 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Jan 20 2012, 08:25 PM) View Post
Not if it was basically all spammy. It would have a positive impact to get rid of it.

But I would 301 redirect, not 404. Never 404 anything, imo.


So you would do a 301 redirect for all eg example.com/boards/ to the homepage?

eg:

RewriteRule ^boards/(.*) http://www.example.com/ [R=301,L]

What about the spammy text links now pointing to the root?


#7 chrishirst

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 06:11 AM

QUOTE
So you would do a 301 redirect for all eg example.com/boards/ to the homepage?

Or to a HTML sitemap that explained the forum closure and gave them chance to visit other parts of the website.

Just to add there is no problem with having URIs that return a 404 response other than:

A: You are "wasting" any "value" those URIs have accumulated.

B: With a 404 response the URIs will stay in the index for months on end, whereas a permanent redirect (301 response) will remove them in a matter of weeks.



#8 Jill

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 10:50 AM

QUOTE
What about the spammy text links now pointing to the root?


Yeah that's a good point. I'm not sure you'd want to point the forum to your main site if it's being penalized. It's something I'd have to really look at in more detail to see what was happening before I could make any real recommendations.



#9 Webnauts

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 07:05 PM

QUOTE(chrishirst @ Jan 21 2012, 07:11 AM) View Post
B: With a 404 response the URIs will stay in the index for months on end, whereas a permanent redirect (301 response) will remove them in a matter of weeks.

I did not have that experience yet that 301 redirects would remove them in a matter of weeks. I also do not recommend 404s.

For the record, if I did not want for some reason to redirect all old pages somewhere and would prefer to kill the entire site, section or pages, I would just return for those 410s, because 404s have two meanings: It could be a temporary OR a permanently not found. 410s mean gone permanently.

If I would like to go more aggressive, I would have redirected with all site, section or pages to a gone page (410). That should kill them all faster. Waiting for Google or other SE to resurrect links from their supplemental index can take even several years, and if they will ever be found.

#10 chrishirst

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 05:54 PM

That's something I've never tested we search engines, but yes for HTTP/1.1, a 410 (Gone) status (it's not an error) would indicate that the removal is a permanent one, whereas a 404 is the ambiguous "not Found" and a hangover from HTTP/1.0 (and earlier) which means that the document is currently not there, but may, or may not, be available in the future.

#11 chrishirst

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:04 PM

Just to add:


Webservers will always return a 404 status by default because it is not known whether the document will return or not, as dictated in the HTTP/1.1 specs.
So if you do want to do this it will have to be done in code.

#12 brassmonkey

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 04:41 AM

How would I do the 410 in htaccess? I think I will delete the forum directory and then server 410 via htaccess? Shame to lose the inbounds, but they are all spam anchor texts

#13 chrishirst

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 08:08 AM

Use a rewrite condition and put
CODE
[G]
on the rewrite rule.

CODE
# Check for HTTP/1.1 request Host header
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
# Make sure the requested file does not exist
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
# Return 410-Gone for HTTP/1.1 requests for non-existent forum files
RewriteRule ^forum/ - [G]


#14 brassmonkey

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 11:47 AM

Thanks! Fingers crossed doesn't do too much damage SE wise




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