How to Recover From Google Panda / Penguin Updates using 301 Permanent Redirects Case Study

Hello Fellow Webmasters!

Getting attacked by a Panda bear is no laughing manner, or worse, death by a cute cuddly Penguin. Is there really a way around this penalty, or a way to recover in the Google Search Engine Rankings.


Many will say to keep building quality links and push through, but the sad reality is once a website is penalized and on the radar of the Gods, there is usually no coming back (this is why we suggest you vary anchor text and do things right the first time). But hindsight is 20/20 and let’s see a real live case study that is better than we could have ever imagined.

The Test Subject:

The number 1 review site of free to play MMO / MMORPG video games (I use to play these types of games endlessly – UO, EQ, World of Warcraft, etc). They have over 170,000 Youtube subscribers, pagerank 6, and have the best written content, images and videos on the subject. They were getting an amazing amount of search engine traffic until the Panda struck.

Click to Enlarge Image to See the Panda bear devouring MMOhut organic hopes

Notice the Panda update around April 2011 left MMOhut completely crippled. They have the best content on the subject, thorough reviews, one of the most popular Youtube channels for video games, yet here they are, cast aside as another “successful” detection of the Google Panda algorithm.

The Solution:

Yes, you read that correctly. They registered mmohut and added an “s” to the domain. Is this really going to work?

Click to Enlarge Image to see the Panda and Penguin unable to find their prey

Notice the “new” domain, is getting over 250k search engine traffic a month now. For those of us that love organic seo, we know this is a huge number and it represents thousands and thousands of dollars. It could very well be the difference between $0, $50k a month, or more.

How did they do it?
They realized their main page, should not be redirected but all the thousands of inner pages that existed such as: will be redirected to the new, non penalized domain.

Why does this work?
Google isn’t dumb. If a penalized domain would transfer the penalty via a redirect, Negative SEO would reach new heights. Webmasters would simply spam a website, and redirect it to a competitors. Because of this, there are loopholes like this that exist.

Is this blackhat?
I don’t know, but was it ethical to ban a website that was providing such high quality content?

Take aways / Actions

If you have a domain that has been penalized, register a new one with an “s” added, or it can be completely unique. Redirect your webpages to your new domain. You might lose $12 on a GoDaddy domain, but the upside of 250,000 search traffic (okay maybe you aren’t getting that), far outweighs the negatives. Best of all, you are already penalized, so why not take the plunge. Only upside at that point.