Here's my (short) story:

I've made a website for a customer that didn't pay me. He bought a lot of domains:


and so on.

Thanks to my work, he went up 5th in the google France search "groupe synergies" (against other websites that are far more huge).

Maybe higher in some other countries.

Then he said: "I'll never pay you".


So I removed his domain names from my vhost, I bought "groupe-synergies.fr" (and only this extension), and put this domain in my vhost.

1 day after this story, his website was down = 404 on every single page. There should have been a problem with google, right (kind of black list or whatever)?

5 days after this story, an ugly picture saying "website in construction" (you still can check it out) appeared. No 404 anymore, but google should have noticed there weren't 24 pages anymore but only one ugly picture with no text inside, right?

4 months after, his site still displays this crappy page.

All good, all fine.

But what I don't understand is this: Google registered all my webpages: try to google site:groupe-synergies.fr => 24 results.

So here's the problem: only one ugly page on the same domain with different extensions against 24 pages, well done, w3c compatible, very fast response time and... it doesn't even show up if you google (in France at least) "groupe synergies" in the 20 first pages.

Any idea how comes?

My question is: "why does his site still have a good page rank, and mine still doesn't appear"? Where could the problem come from?

Thank you very much!

PS: please, oh please don't talk about laws, about "what you did is bad" and so on, believe me: I'm always trying to be as straight as possible, and what I did has a really good reason. Please just focus on my question, not on the legal stuff side. Thank you very much indeed.

  • 1
    Olivier, I know this was almost two years ago. Nevertheless, I wish to extend my sympathy, about that evil client who did not pay you, particularly since you specialize in distance work and probably have no recourse. Sooner or later, he will suffer reputational distress, with such unethical behavior! Nov 12, 2013 at 1:07

2 Answers 2


First, to clear up something: PageRank (all one word) is a special algorithm that ranks pages based on how many incoming links it has and how important those links are. It is a number from 1 to 10. So if you are wondering why groupesynergies.com has a higher PageRank it would be purely because it has more and higher quality links pointing to it.

However from the context of your question I'm assuming you are talking about the page's position in search results (often confusingly called 'page ranking' but better known as 'SERPs position' or 'search position'). There are a few factors:

  • Google has an 'exact match domain' boost for when your query exactly matches a domain name. This doesn't include hyphenated domain names, so your domain is immediately at a small disadvantage.
  • If you did a ton of SEO for the original site such as getting links pointing to it, then it will be better ranked. If you are able to, change those links to point to the new site.
  • Google has no way of knowing that your domain is a 'new version' of the old one, unless you tell it. The method for this is a 301 redirect, so if it's possible you should add those domains back to your vhost and set them all to redirect to the new site.
  • The fact that the new site has 24 pages but the old site only has one is irrelevant, since SEs rank pages not sites. The query returns just the home page.

I must say that it is strange for a site to rank so high when it doesn't even contain the phrase you are searching for, and has clearly zero content. Maybe Google.fr still has a high weight for the exact match domain, and hasn't rolled out any of the 'Panda' updates that it has in English results.

  • Thank you very much for your answer. And you last remark describes exactly the problem: why does google rank so high a site when it doesn't even contain the phrase you are searching for, and has clearly zero content? The answer lies: in its past history, and that's why I told my whole (maybe boring) story. So I was wondering when google.fr will apply Panda, and if its results will prove to be more efficient than it is (because the problem you describe is not normal at all). Jan 5, 2012 at 15:37

I don't know the INs and OUTs of Google page ranking but buying multiple domain names will not blacklist you on Google... creating duplicate content on different domain names will certainly blacklist you. (The solution would be creating a 301 redirect to one central site)

As his site has no content, it wont come up high up in Google search. If he started to add meaningful content, it will start appearing. But once Google bot realises it's duplicate content, it will also hurt your ranking on the search.

There won't be nothing stopping him ripping of the content from your source unfortunately.

Oh and +1 for using Modx ;)

  • My question was not about being blacklisted it was: "why does his site still have a good pagerank, and not mine"? Jan 5, 2012 at 11:03

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