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Google implications of forwarded domain? Effect on SEO & backlinks?

 8:19 pm on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have a question that's been twisting my mind in knots for awhile. Feel like I should know the answer but can't figure it out. How does Google look at the issues I mention below?

I have a new site I've been needing to launch for awhile but no time to design it and get it set up right now. So I am considering just pointing it at a page on a current domain temporarily (or maybe even permanently) but figuring out the SEO implications and how the link juice will work is, twisting my mind in knots. Just can't figure it out.

Mature domain with PR (fake name): petproducts.tld
New Domain (fake name): dogs.tld

Question 1: If I point dogs.tld to petproducts.tld/dogs, would it be easier to initially rank dogs.tld? Would G see any link juice or domain authority or age? In other words, since dogs.tld is pointing to petproducts is Google seeing the brand new dogs.tld domain or is it looking past it and seeing petproducts.tld/dogs?

Question 2: If I get 20 links to dogs.tld which is really nowhere, just pointing to content on petproducts.tld/dogs - then 6 mo from now build out dogs.tld on it's own domain, those links will largely still be OK right? Since they are links to dogs.tld?

Question 3: Let's say I get the above scenario ranked #3 for my keyword, if I later move site to it's own domain will I likely drop? (The content and meta would be moved to the new site, the links I THINK would follow, but the site would no longer be sitting on the authority aged domain.)

Question 4: Is there any disadvantage to pointing the domain initially just to get started? I need it right away, just need to take a quick short cut before building the site.

Question 5: Dogs.tld is not a super important site or brand to me. Is there any problem with just leaving dogs.tld pointing to petproducts.tld/dogs?

No one can see it's pointed right? If I wanted and it was easier, I could just leave it like that?

Any downsides?

Sorry I realize that was a lot of questions. If anyone just wants to answer 1 or 2 Qs or if there is a thread or resource you can point me to that would help, I appreciate it!

Thanks, Linda

Mod's note: Changed .com in examples to .tld, since .com versions are likely to be owned.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:41 pm (utc) on Dec 28, 2011]



 8:59 pm on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry Robert and thanks for fixing. Knew there was likely a better way to use the example domains.


 9:20 pm on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

What exactly do you mean by "pointed"? Do you mean that the new domain 301 redirects to the page on the old domain? Or do you mean that the new domain resolves 200 OK, and serves the exact same content that is still served from the old domain's page?


 11:08 pm on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry I have not done it for so long that I'm not sure about the terminology. Oh and if I remember right there are different ways to do it, so this may complicate things.

I'm talking about when the domain is still with the registrar and you just forward the URL to a page on your other site. So if someone goes to dogs.tld they land at petproducts.tld/dogs but it looks like they are at dogs.tld.


 12:14 am on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ouch. You're talking about a rewrite-- or technically a proxy, since they're different domains. One of the few things robots and humans have in common is that they don't know they've been rewritten and have no control over the process. So the search engines will look around and say "Gosh, this 'dogs.tld' domain sure looks an awful lot like the 'cats.tld' I've been indexing for years" and whip out the Duplicate Content stamp.

If you can't do anything with the new domain yet, it seems safer to leave it back-burnered. Just remember to keep the registration paid up. If you absolutely must put the new name "out there", at least make it a redirect, where visitors can see that they're being sent somewhere else. The search engines will shrug and move on.


 3:13 am on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well I don't think it's considered a rewrite or proxy.

Plus it would not be a matter of one domain looking like the other and there would be no dupe content. All the content is on petproducts.tld/dogs. dogs.tld is just an empty domain that forwards to petproducts.tld/dogs.

It's a very common and accepted practice many people do in other circumstances for other legit reasons. For instance sometimes if someone has a long ugly domain name, they'll reg a short one and send people the link to the short domain, which forwards to the long domain.

Or you set up a blog on blogger and forward your domain name there so instead of giving people a long link to blogspot whatever, you give them a link to yourdomain.tld

But anyway probably not a good idea. I'll just have to figure something else out.


 8:46 am on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

The following message was cut out to new thread by tedster. New thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4402106.htm [webmasterworld.com]
12:26 pm on Dec 29, 2011 (EDT -5)

[edited by: tedster at 5:35 pm (utc) on Dec 29, 2011]


 10:51 am on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's better to start a new thread!

I'm talking about when the domain is still with the registrar and you just forward the URL to a page on your other site. So if someone goes to dogs.tld they land at petproducts.tld/dogs but it looks like they are at dogs.tld.

If this is a standard forwarding feature offered by a big web host then it sounds like a 100% height, 100% width frameset to me. This is a very common method and as far as I know does no harm whatsoever, and no link benefit is passed from the framing domain to the framed domain. You can even build some links to the framing domain and get it indexed. The only drawback is that users never see the true url they're on so they can't bookmark it / forward to a friend etc.

View source on both domains. If you see different code, then this is what is happening.

But, if you see the same code at both urls then the new domain is aliased to the old one - in other words, both resolve to the same webspace. Google sees two sites with the same content and the same owner. This IS a potentially huge problem.


 12:22 am on Dec 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

So if someone goes to dogs.tld they land at petproducts.tld/dogs but it looks like they are at dogs.tld.

If your browser's address bar says A and you're seeing the content of B, that's a rewrite.


 12:59 am on Dec 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Could also be a 100% frame - click on a link and see if the location bar changes.


 10:49 am on Dec 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

If it is a frame, clicking a link will only change the location bar if the target of the link is "_blank" / new window. Otherwise the new page will just open inside the frame and the url in the location bar won't change. That's why they don't make great 'pointers'.


 4:59 pm on Dec 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies all!

I just remembered something I'm going to go back and investigate that could help me figure out a way to do this.

I do local SEO, mainly Google Places optimization, but usually have to do some onsite too. Had a new client that was ranking pretty high already for everything and was totally shocked when I checked his code.

It was a Dentist and the domain was his name. But when I checked the code, there was no title tag or anything on his site. It was just one line of code for a frame that went to his developers domain. ALL the content for this Dentist's site was on a totally unrelated site like familycrafts.tld/dentistname - and he still ranked high. (Although it was a very low competition town).

But in my case I don't even care if dogs.tld ranks right now. In fact I don't even really want it to rank right now. I just need a domain to link some social profiles to for a quick project. And I can't link to a domain that's not even live yet, so I just need to give it a quick, temporary home. I just don't want this temporary solution to hurt me in the long run, if and when I finally build out the new domain.

Thanks again for the insights.


 5:05 pm on Dec 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ugh, I thought we'd seen the last of frames. Remember the ones where every time you followed a link you went deeper and deeper into one corner of the nest? :)

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