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If so, I think it might be useful to recap where we think the current state of things is. Consider these questions:
Again, this has all been hashed around a lot for several years here. Lots of good general stuff on how this might be done and what outcomes there may be. But... my hope is that someone has seen evidence that there has been a change (lack of change isn't really evidence, I guess).
Thanks in advance!
I don't think I have the resources to give a definitive answer to the various issues raised by you. But a symptomatic disection of one of similar cases which happened as recent as a week before, may throw some light on it.
Site - www.example.com (PR 6). Ranked within top 5 for 3 competitive phrases till last week.
Has duplicate sites with same content in example.com (PR 3), www.example1.com (PR 3) and www.example2.com (PR 1)
www.example.com has 330 pages indexed with Google, example.com has 340 pages, www.example1.com has 113 pages and www.example2.com has 12 pages indexed with Google.
Same whois details for all the sites.
www.example.com is the oldest site, older by 3 years than the other 2 dupes.
Now www.example.com is ranked nowhere in top 1000 for those search phrases.
A search for "example" showed example.com for a while and now showing www.example1.com, where "example1" is an entirely different word than "example".
Going by my past experience, Google used to merge the duplicate sites with the site that has the maximum PR. But now I am left wondering, why has Google merged the highest PR and older site into a lower PR and younger site? None of the duplicate sites are cross linked and links are naturally obtained without any link exchange.
Hope understanding this case will help all of us in getting some insight into the duplicate content issue.
www.x.xom and www.x.co.uk are merged by Google if they are point to the same hosting IP address and the files are the same. There is no penalty for this, but only one gets listed, usually the regional variation if there is one.
So your whole www.example.com site was "nuked" (from site: and SERPs?) replaced with other domains with duplicate content? Do you still get in the SERPs, just on a different domain?
If so, this could suggest that:
Indeed, your post suggest that nothing bad has happened (yet).
The other one that's going around is heavily interlinked websites. Different ip's and servers won't save you from that one, regardless of what your e-book tells 'ya.
www.example.com still shows PR 6, all the backlinks and pages. But doesn't rank for its own name "example".
Its dupe, www.example1.com ranks only for unique keywords such as "example", "Company Name", but ranks nowhere within 1000 for the main keyphrases which www.example.com used to rank for. This may be partly because www.example1.com is a PR 3 site and IMHO that ain't good enough to rank for such competitive phrases. Perhaps it is another way of penalizing Dupe sites, by merging the main site into lower PR site, quite the other way round.
More such recent examples will help in formulating a pattern.