You probably remember we removed 1.7 million backlinks by deleting our WordPress theme pages to fight off Google Panda/Penguin penalties and unnatural link warnings, The traffic sustained despite removing 1.7 million backlinks to the pages over the last few months. The idea was that deleting urls with bad links would make 404 pages which will make the backlinks useless. Yet the 92% traffic drop still persisted.
Is Losing Backlinks A Good Idea
So I curbed my theme designing activities for the last year as it no longer seemed possible to get credit for my theme designs with footer links. But then I observed that most popular theme design companies like Studiopress (Genesis Theme), DIYThemes (Thesis theme) and many other theme design services did maintain a dofollow footer credit link and performed well in search.
Moreover, how would Google analyze a site where 1.7 million entries to the site return 404 errrors? Also it seemed silly to loose all the link juice by 404 pages.
After all we did not force people to use our WordPress themes, it was listed in the official WordPress theme directory like millions of other themes and were free to use under GPL licence. There had to be a better way…
Fixing Google Penalty
Here is some official Google advice which everyone must seriously consider, and it suggests a way to deal with such content issues. They say that low-quality content in any part of the site can impact ranking of the whole site – so possibly you should remove these low quality pages, or improve content quality. The other way is to mov these low quality pages to a new domain name and this might help improve search engine rankings of your good content.
New WordPress Theme Site
So I created a new site to host all out WordPress themes at the new domain name QuickOnlineThemes.com. I removed the 404 errors to the 3 theme pages and redirected all the links to the new theme pages using htaccess rules. This not only removed millions of 404 errors received by search engine crawlers, but also facilitated them to find the new site.
I added the site to Google webmaster tools and it started showing in search results (in a day!) and now shows that at over 700,000 backlinks have already migrated to the new site in 2 weeks.
I also updated the WordPress themes and had a chance to start redesigning again and do expect to create many more new themes as this site is targeted to WordPress themes and design. Maybe I will develop a themes FAQ and other cool tips around the new site. Keep watching the site.
Better than removing 1.7 million backlinks – What do you think?