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I have purchased a legacy domain which was hit by Panda/Penguin in 2011/2012 for paid link networks. When I redirected my old site to the new domain I purchased, organic traffic and rankings immediately and significantly declined. I have gone through the link profile of the legacy domain and disavowed all sketchy/spam paid links.

I suspect that a Panda/Penguin penalty from 2011/2012 has been recently reactivated or reinstated because of the site move.

Is there a way for me to view past webmaster tools manual actions / penalties from a previous site owner? With the new way google handles reconsideration requests...if you do not have a current manual action, you CANNOT file a reconsideration request.

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Panda / Penguin are algorithms, not manual actions, so they would not be notified or listed as manual actions. All current manual actions are shown in Webmaster Tools, even if they were put in place when someone else owned the domain. It sounds like you're doing the right thing with regards to the problematic links to the new domain - removing them, or submitting them in the disavow file is the right way to handle them. Keep in mind that some algorithms aren't update that often, so even after cleaning things up (and giving time for those changes to be recrawled & reindexed), it can still take quite some time for you to see changes in search.

When moving to a new domain, I'd also make sure that all settings are set the same. In particular, the URL parameter handling settings can make a big difference if set for someone else's website, and the geotargeting setting can affect how the website is shown in the country specified.

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