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As far as I can tell there is no real connection between email spam and SEO, but I have a hard time explaining any other way.

Site: local marketing agency with major clients, good profile and decent SEO stats (I've done local SEO audit) by all accounts they should be up top or at least somewhere in the middle. They did mention when they bought the domain their emails were going to spam if there was even a mention of that domain name in the email because of previous owners. They worked with gsuite and spamlists to get the domain delisted. So hypothetically all is good.

The problem is their SEO stats is OK, all their pages are listed but in terms of competitive SEO they are non-existent. Besides their company name they are not ranking for any terms I checked to pages 10+ (for reference a site I made in a similar niche 6 months ago with no optimization is on page 3).

I am scratching my head what is going on? Is there any way to contact Google to ensure they are not penalized? I am reluctant to do any more optimization until this is resolved.

  • If the domain had been previously spammy towards search engines, it could still hurt SEO years later, although Google's Matt Cutts says that it would be unlikely after 12 years to still be hurting: seroundtable.com/google-old-penalties-expired-domain-17883.html If there was email spam, it wouldn't surprise me to also find spammed links on forum comments or other spam directed at search engines. – Stephen Ostermiller Jan 31 '18 at 2:49
  • Yes that's my train of thought as well. Is there any way to check on this? Submit some kind of form request to Google? I talked to Gsuite on the phone but unsurprisingly they don't address SEO issues even for paying customers. – Alexander M. Jan 31 '18 at 3:18
  • Existence for any extended period of time on some blacklists used to be a trust factor that would negatively effect search performance. Back in the day, if an IP address appeared on a small number of blacklists, not only would any site drop from the SERPs within a day but also the search engine (web site) would not be available to search queries. I am sure Google has backed off some of this, however, being blacklisted can still block access to the web site so I am sure severe cases can still be a trust factor. – closetnoc Jan 31 '18 at 4:27
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I can't answer your question from an SEO angle, but I have seen new domain owners impacted by the actions of previous owners, including having their new domains being included on blocklists, marked as fraudulent, on Phishing lists, etc. Though in the instances I've seen, these have been domains that were dropped and then re-registered within a few months.

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Well it depends really. Some spam blacklists may affect your rating due to search engines linking to blacklist entries where your site is flagged as bad/blacklisted. You can always ask the blacklist to remove you and ask google to remove the entry (if possible).

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