We recently revealed the results of an experiment we did which proved that CTR is a ranking factor.
We did say we was going to publish more experiments on SEO and here is the next one.
We covered earlier in the month about Penguin being real time and to get disavowing, and I want to share with you the results of an accident experiment I did.
This was purely by chance. So as well as running this agency I also run a few other websites. Some are what would be classed as “money sites” – site which actually generate a profit and have an income, some are just hobby sites, others have I had a great idea once – but never had the resources to complete it and others are tests sites. Hence why we are able to prove everything we do. We do it with data and facts and not what someone is claiming or a hunch.
We did want to do this test to prove how real time is Penguin after Google announced towards the back of 2016 that Penguin is real time.
One of the money sites is actually a spin off a former site we had around 2011/2012 – it expanded and we rebranded. At one point both sites we’re competing, but I didn’t make sense to have both sites running so around 2015 I migrated the decent content from the old site to the main site and shut it down. I thought I had placed a 301 redirect from the one domain to the new domain.
A direct debit came out on Friday morning for Domain renewals and it was a decent figure, just made a note to me to analyse if we still need all the domains. Anyway, I was just looking through the list of domains we own (it’s quite a large list, most aren’t even in use) and came across the old domain and it was just sat there no 301 put in place.
The first thing I did, like anyone would. I added the 301 redirect to the main site, which was fine.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was speaking with someone and they said they had done a google search for the domain name and it wasn’t there.
Great – just what you need on a Saturday morning when the family has things planned.
Anyway, I did a bit of digging. Yes, the home page was missing from Google, but EVERY other page was still in Google’s index. Only the home page has been affected.
I knew straight away been hit with the penguin penalty and then it hit me about the old domain, I used in in 2011/12 when it was ok to exchange links, build links farms etc (or as I like to call them, the good old days when it was simpler).
So I check GSC and yep – the linking pointing to that domain was awful – worse still they had already appeared in my GSC for the new domain.
There were about 70 domains which had transferred across. So I did what anyone would do and started analysing all the links – had there been more I probably would of use LInkRisk, but I was in a hurry and just wanted to get it done. Out of the 70 domains, I think there was 6 really bad and 10 that was borderline. The rest was ok.
Normally I would have spent more time analysing the other 10 and coming to a decision – but the family wanted to go out.
So I just disavowed the 6 domains and thought to myself when I get in a will analyse the other 10.
I uploaded the file and didn’t think too much more about it, until about 2 hours later. I wanted to check all the other pages we’re still ranking, did a few terms I know the pages rank for and yeah they were there. I then searched for the domain name and it had reappeared.
Within just a few hours the site had the penalty removed. I guess Penguin really is real time.
The lesson I have learnt is, don’t do a 301 redirect blindly- it could really hurt you, but more importantly do a regular check of your links. Could you really afford to lose your traffic from Google?
I am the Managing Director of Indago Media and have been in Digital Marketing since 2009. Initially in-house working for some of the UK’s biggest brands, but now I run my own agency helping small business grow.