Today we are sharing the interesting Penguin recovery story of one of our clients, a leading animated video production company – for obvious reasons, let’s call them Thevideomaker.com. We’d like to demonstrate how the proper implementation of a 301 redirect strategy can help Penguin-hit sites get their rankings back.
IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that 301 redirection should be the last resort—it should only be done when all other methods have failed. While this post provides enough information for you to implement the same strategy, 301 redirection strategy deployed properly by experienced SEO specialists yields the best results.
But First, What is a 301 Redirect?
In the simplest of definitions, a 301 redirect refers to a permanent redirect from an old URL to a new one. It’s the equivalent of the ‘change of address’ form you need to fill up at the post office if you are moving to a new home. If someone sends a mail to your old address, the post office redirects that mail to your new address. A 301 redirect does the same—it brings people (and search engine bots) from your old URL to your new one.
For instance, if your previous site was www.hello.com and you want to change it to www.hellothere.com, you will need to implement a 301 redirect from your old URL to your new one. Whenever someone types in your old URL or clicks on a leftover link to it will be automatically redirected to your new URL.
Can 301 Redirection Recover a Penguin Hit Site’s Rankings?
Yes it can — but only when implemented properly. SEOValley successfully used this technique to help Thevideomaker.com recover after being hit by the Penguin update.
Last year, Thevideomaker.com sought our help because their website was badly hit by the Penguin Update. As you might already know, Penguin was launched by Google to penalize websites that are involved in spammy/low quality or paid links. The client’s old domain had lots of low quality backlinks, all created by previous SEO companies they hired.
Like thousands of other small and medium businesses, the client hired an SEO firm to improve their rankings, not aware that the tactics implemented went against Google’s strict quality guidelines. Their old SEO firm bought and traded links with shady sources and link farms. This virtually wiped out their Google presence when Penguin was rolled out, causing them to lose serious revenue.
When they came to us, their situation was almost beyond repair. But you know how we are—we never give up!
And so our team quickly got to work and started a massive link audit. We disavowed almost all low quality links—a process that took many weeks. Still, the site’s rankings didn’t improve because Penguin did not refresh. Only when Penguin refreshes can penalized sites get a chance to get out of it.
At this point, the only choice for the client was to wait for the next update. But there was no guarantee that of this happening anytime soon—and the client wasn’t willing to wait. They were losing a lot of customers to their competitors because of their low search visibility.
That was when we decided to give 301 redirection a try.
Our team carefully implemented 301 redirects from old (Penguin-hit) domain to the new domain, which was totally fresh—with no backlinks. Also, we added all the low quality links found on the client’s old site in the disavow file to ensure that the penalties associated with the old domain does not pass on to the new domain.
The result: The site recovered immediately. The client saw a jump in traffic within days, and has since enjoyed increased Google visibility. They are receiving high-quality traffic once again, ranking on the first page of search engine results for some of the most competitive keywords in the animated video niche. This is what the rankings looked like after the site was migrated and 301 re-directs were made in place:
Is 301 Redirection Right For You?
In general, 301 redirection is the last resort. It is recommended only for businesses that cannot wait 10 to 15 months for the next Penguin update/refresh.
Talk to the SEOValley team to see if this option is the best for your situation. We can
assess your Penguin-hit site and recommend the most effective remedies. If we determine that a 301 redirect might work for your situation, we can carefully implement a strategy to ensure that the penalties incurred by your previous domain are not passed on to the new one. Contact us today for more information.