I am carrying out some work on a website that is a PR2 with a few good quality, relevant backlinks (PR4-6). It has a presence on Twitter that is updated regularly, a Google Places listing, and listings on some decent directories (Qype etc). The site was rebuilt into Drupal 7 two months ago, with all the basics done - URL rewriting, XML Sitemap submitted to Google, and most importantly, good quality, structured content.

I've noticed that Google is still showing "old" URL's from the previous version of the site that was ditched 8 weeks ago. I think the site may be penalised under the Penguin update, as a previous SEO company created many low quality links from link farms/directories.

My question is what the correct way to deal with this is.

Bing Webmaster Tools can "disavow" links, and I guess I can attempt to contact the link farms to have them removed. I've already submitted a request to Google to request that we have the penalty removed as we're trying to tidy up a bad history. We submit updated sitemaps to Google and Bing daily, and have built some further decent quality, relevant links.

Is there anything further I can do?

3 Answers 3


I'd continue adding quality content to update the site and keep it fresh. Sending sitemaps to Google and Bing when the content hasn't changed won't help. You're on the right path getting bad links removed building good quality links. Just keep adding content and wait it out. Google may have decided just not to crawl and index you as often due to content not being updated as often as they'd like.


No! Sorry for a simple answer, but you are doing it right - you have to go to each search engine who has penalized you and approach them one at a time.

Alternatively, if you're totally desperate, create a new domain and make your 'old' domain a forwarder.

  • Thanks for the response. I'd have thought if I created a brand new domain and 301 redirected all traffic to the new one, surely that would redirect the search engines too, therefore creating the same issue but under a new home?
    – fistameeny
    Jul 19, 2012 at 8:37
  • hmmm. I see your point. I did something similar (a little bit of a cheat) and displayed text as an image of my 'old site' which simply said "We are now at a new domain, click here" - this wasn't readable by Google and it allowed users to click on it. Due to the fact the page now only has an image and no text, Google obviously could drop the page, coupled with a robot text file stating it should not be indexed or followed etc. This then worked for users and allowed the site to be 'put to bed' by the search engines.
    – Dave
    Jul 19, 2012 at 8:41
  • Thanks - maybe the robots.txt noindex would be a good way around it. I'll have a play around
    – fistameeny
    Jul 19, 2012 at 15:34

In the end, I solved this by changing the domain of the site, building some good quality links and continuing to submit site maps to Google and Bing. A bit drastic, but content changes are now picked up on the same domain quickly as they should. I didn't bother redirecting the old domain to the new - just put a catch all page up with a link to the new site for visitors to click.

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