|https mess - clean it up orleave it alone? 301 theory help|
https links throughout site need may need to be changed - what do you think
OK, here's the deal:
I have a client that I just started consulting for. They have some SERIOUS duplicate content issues. I am not sure how to interpret some of the info that I am gleaning from google, wanted your opinions.
1) https pages indexed in google: BUT I can't find any duplicate pages indexed. That is to say that where the https is indexed, the http isn't and vice versa. Is this because some pages are being ignored b/c dup content? HERE's THE KICKER: All links sitewide use absolute https urls to point to other pages. YUCK!
a) If I fix the links and do a sitewide 301 fix, is this a good strategy? Will google penalize me for all the 301 wackiness? Will it hurt the site as approx 98% of the pages google reports in its index are https pages?
b) How in the world should I tackle this? Fix the links? Leave the links alone and use 301s? Use a conditional php 301 at the top of each page if "https" 301 to "http"?
2) They have purchased alias domains of "mypoorlydesignedsite.net" and "mypoorlydesignedsite.org" which use domain masking over the "mypoorlydesignedsite.com" web site. should I fix these with 301s as well?
I know this is a complicated one... that's why I took it to you folks. Thanks for your help. Let me know if I can provide any more info for you, or if I can help you out in any way in exchange for some quality advice.
1. Right Google picks one and then filters out the other. The first thing to do is stop allowing the spiders to index the https version. So you also need to make sure you internal linking is not directing Google to do so.
2. If you can 301 redirect the links then do so. Some have trouble doing this, but if you simply tell Google to stop going to these https pages that is best start.
3. I also make sure that if they have "secondary" domains set up that they 301 redirect to the main or dont work at all.
Do you see any issues with redirecting such a high volume of the pages (approximately 1400 pages will now be using a 301... almost the entire site).
Additionally, the internal links are pointing to the https: directory. Should I fix these as well or just let the 301 do the dirty work? Will google interpret this as a sitewide link structure change? This has tended to hurt my rankings in the past... even if done properly with 301s.
Normal internal site navigation should point directly at the real URL for the content. That is, the normal site navigation, when clicked, should not see the user passing through a redirect to get to the content.
Ok, so if that is the case, when I change all of these internal links over, and put redirects on the https pages, will this hurt rankings? Seems like a major link structure overhaul like this could throw google for a loop, or am I just being paranoid?
Well, you could always change the on-page links a few at a time so that they are correct, updating the pages on the server as you go and thereby guaranteeing that the search engines won't see an "all at once" change. Once that is finished, give the search engines a few weeks to settle into the new routine, and then add the 301 redirects as a "clean-up" for laggardly search engine spiders and old incoming links and bookmarks...
Too much of the answer to "am I being paranoid" lies hidden in factors such as the age of your site, history of ownership and content changes, the "trust" that SEs place in your market segment, and the trust that they place in your site specifically...
What do you feel is a "safe" amount to change over at a time given that there are approximately 1500 indexed pages, PR4, boutique fashion industry, 5 year old site. Content updated daily (as in new products added daily).
The site seems to be in fairly good standing....
Please forgive my lack of knowledge on this specific topic. I've been consulting in search marketing for years, and I haven't had a client yet that had problems such as this... I guess I am just lucky, but there is a definite hole in my skillset in regard to dup content due to misconfiguration. Thanks again for your help.
I have no idea of the 'correct' number, but I would be tempted to do at least a hundred per week.
I have just uncovered an additional chapter in this saga: They have the same page published in 2 different directories for many products. I am assuming that the best strategy here is similar. Make all links consistent sitewide to point to one of the pages, and then 301 redirect on the other. Does that sound right?
Thanks again for all of your help gang!