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Switching my domain name = duplicate content?

 7:30 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm going to be switching my domain name and I'm worried about some kind of duplicate content penalty for the new domain in terms of my quality scores, etc.

Anyone know how Google handles this? If I switch my domain, obviously the old domain will no longer be a valid URL. I assume at some point Google will remove these pages from their system. Do I need to wait until this happens before continuing to advertise on AdWords?

What I'm worried about is that as soon as I change the domain Google bots will consider the new site to have nothing but duplicate content (since the content will be identical to the old site).

I assume that when I setup new adwords ads using this new URL Google will see that the new site is nothing but duplicate content and I'll get horrible quality scores.

Anyone know how this works?



 7:49 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Is all content going to be exactly the same?

If so, you should setup 301 redirects from your old site to your new one. Redirect each page to its copy on the new site.


 8:09 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's the same site, I'm just changing the domain of the site.

Once I make the change the old domain/site won't even be accessible. I'm sure G will remove all of these URLs from their DB at some point, I'm just not sure how long that will take.

Considering the old domain/site won't exist, I can't really do any redirects. Of course I could leave the old site running somewhere, and do the redirects, but I'm not sure this is the best way?


 7:47 pm on Feb 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

yes, definitely leave it up and 301 redirect to the new pages.

see the second half of this article for more:


 8:27 pm on Feb 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

But is there any evidence that duplicate content is an issue for AdWords quality scores?


 5:55 am on Feb 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

But is there any evidence that duplicate content is an issue for AdWords quality scores?

Not that I'm aware of. So far I’ve never came across any evidence showing AdWords is connected to regular Google Search from any scoring perspective. I just use my own logics and believe (to a degree) that AdWords would not (at least) go against its sister.


Although not our business, you would help us answer your question better if you tell us why you’re changing domain name.
Were you unsuccessful with the old one so you hope to do it better with the new one?
…or you simply found better name for your site?

Anyway, when you change the domain name, you want to keep your site’s ranking and indexing history, whatever they are, unless you have a specific reason for wanting your OLD site (old domain name) disappear from results.

So, if all ok, you definitely want to implement 301 which means “I moved”. That way, all bots will rewrite their indexes with new site’s URLs.

I am saying all this just to make you aware that with 301, there should be no doubt about duplicated content.

You can actually hurt your new site with not having 301.

301 is the only right way of doing it.

Again, if you are trying to delete the history of your old site (domain name) and hoping that Google will not connect the new one to it, that’s another story.

In regards of index, without 301, it may happen that your old pages never get properly deleted – or stay indexed for long time.


 10:44 am on Feb 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have always wondered how much of the content you would need to change on two duplicate websites to avoid any potential duplicate content penalty (even though I question if there is such a penalty anyway for reasons I will not go into at this time).

For example, would moderate changes to the top paragraph combined with a few minor text changes to a couple other lower page paragraphs, plus a different external link do the job? Do Meta Tag differences matter? Also, would changes to sub-pages be needed or is only index page editing sufficient?

Can anyone estmate how extensive the content changes need to be? I know we do not know the real answers so am only asking for educated guessing.

P.S. My 'wondering' about this involves several areas including Adwords quality, Adsense and YPN quality scoring, and is applicable to SEO rank too.


 6:57 am on Feb 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies. My experience and that of others is that Google's duplicate content analysis system is extremely precise - literally line by line. In order to avoid duplicate content "penalties" you truly need unique content. If you only rewrite 10% of an article for example Google will absolutely flag that as duplicate content. Just try it yourself by grabbing some article, changing a bit and posting it on your site. Awhile later do a search for a sentence in the article and your site will show up under the original source as as a duplicate. (You'll have to click that link that says show duplicate content or whatever to see your site).

My experience also shows that this is applicable to AdWords in regards to Quality Scores, etc. in the sense that if a site has lots of duplicate content if will NOT get a good quality score overall.

In terms of changing the domain, no diabolical reasons ... we just secured a better name and since the site is still pretty new and doesn't have tons of history, links, etc. we are going to change it now.


 12:35 am on Feb 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Then 301 is a way to go. No worries about duplicated content.

Just be sure you do it (301) right after you do the switch (between domains).

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