Unable to 301 redirect, as part of the settlement was to hand over the domain. But the same content that’s shown is now on page 10. Has Google applied a penalty?

I’ve migrated a site to another domain, as my client infringed on a competitor’s name. Unable to 301 redirect, as part of the settlement was to hand over the domain. But the same content that’s shown is now on page 10. Has Google applied a penalty?

Webmaster Guru Asked on May 23, 2017 in 301.
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JOHN MEULLER (Webmaster Analyst from Google):

So I hope you’re not using exactly the same content, because then the competitor will probably come back and contact you again for that. But in general, if you don’t do a site move, one that we can recognize through something like a 301 redirect, and with that you could use the Site Move Tool in Search Console, we essentially treat this as a new website to start off with. So everything that you’ve kind of built up on so far is essentially associated with the old domain name and not associated with your new website. So that’s something where you kind of have to start over again with regards to search. And ranking lower would probably be a part of the effect there. Also, if you changed the content as part of this settlement or issue that you have here, then obviously you’d be ranking differently anyway. So this is something where I guess you kind of have to take it as it comes there and work on your website to improve it again and think about what you need to do to get things jump-started a little bit. But I guess the good part is, you have a bit of practice with making websites, so you know which things not to do in the future. So that’s at least one thing that’s going for you, I guess.

Webmaster Guru Answered on May 23, 2017.
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