SEO & Rebranding/new domain

Hi, not sure if best place to ask but hoping some SEO guys here can help with something…

Basically I launched a brand and completely messed up, I ended up with lots of duplicate content and ended being penalised by Google. I’m still recovering from this now but the problems continue… My site design was ripped off and the guy that done this essentially used my content word for word just changing company name to his. I’ve also attracted hundreds and hundreds of back links from spammy websites… My site is now not ranking at all and I feel like it will take a really long time to recover from this.

The branding was always temporary just to get the product launched so I’ve brought ahead the rebranding and ready to launch the new site.

My question is… Normally when changing domains etc I would tell Google and setup appropriate 301 redirects… I’m guessing this would be a bad idea since the old domain is so damaged? I should just start fresh as if it’s a new site? … the problem here is that Google has indexed my site, if I search my domain the pages show, so I could run into duplicate content again. I’ll obviously be removing the content from the old site.

So is it 301 or not?

If I’m not to do 301, I’ll need to put up some link or message on the old site on some sort of landing page, could it be damaging if I link from this page to new domain? I don’t really want to lose any potential customers that could land on this page, admittedly this is probably quite low since organic traffic is almost non existent.

I basically need to try and capture any prospective clients that land on old domain, point them to the right place, without being associated with the old domain and avoiding duplicate content (new site and old site has very similar content).

I have added a disavow file to Google or the spammy back links, I’m not sure how effective it is though or how long it takes.

Thoughts on this?

Thanks for reading

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