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Two Domains - Same Content - Which do I choose

     
6:16 pm on Dec 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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ok, I messed up a couple of years ago and I've just figured it out, or rather, it was pointed out to me.

I have a 10 year old domain that ranks very high for some very common keywords. The domain name itself is not all that good, let's say it's ABDCE.com. But there are a lot of links and a lot of original content and it has done very well over the years.

In 2001 I found a much better domain. I registered it but it wasn't until I changed servers that I set the site up on the new domain name (maybe two years ago). I also had the old domain pointing to the same site, but not in the way I should have. I renamed the site to match the new domain name but all content is still the same.

Earlier this year I noticed about a 30% drop in traffic. I had no idea why until last week. I'm sure most of you know what happened. Google has about 130,000 pages indexed for my site. All but about 300 are considered supplemental.

I setup a permanent redirect in my httpd.conf last but I pointed my old domain name to the newer domain name.

The question I have is was this the correct way to handle it. When you do a search for the common keywords my site lists in the top 5 but it is listed under the old domain name. With the redirect pointing to the new domain name will I lose those high rankings for those keywords or will Google just change the domain name listed in the search results.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Jeff

2:15 pm on Dec 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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renamed the site to match the new domain name but all content is still the same

Sounds like a duplicate content issues. Here's some options.

OPTION 1

Re-write the content on the old domain so that it is all original and not a duplication of the new site.

(both sites) Do the non-www to www pointing trick in .htaccess or httpd.conf your choice. Point their index.html to ./

Doing the above should remove any duplicate content issues.

OPTION 2

Since, in your quote above, the renamed newer site is better for your visitors since the name better matches, think of your visitors first. If you must only have one site, and you don't want to re-write the old one, 301 all of it to the new one. First though, make sure all your links you control no longer point to the old one. You want to avoid internal links that constantly give 301 when you can.

5:28 pm on Dec 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, good information.

I guess my biggest question is by using the 301 redirect from the old domain to the new one will I lose the high search rankings I have on the old domain name or will they carry over. I rank #1 for several very good two word searches and #3 for one word that Google has indexed over 339,000,000 times.

8:46 pm on Dec 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well, I had a similar issue once. I plummeted in the serps for about a month after doing this on one of my sites, but it came back with even better positioning. (your milage might vary) Consider it an investment. If neither site is having dup content issues, being pro-active about it may spare you trouble in the future.

Just my 2 cents, others chime in if I'm wrong, and/or you have a better solution for him.

EDIT one more thing:

I guess my biggest question is by using the 301 redirect from the old domain to the new one will I lose the high search rankings I have on the old domain name

I don't know if you will or not. Different keywords, themes, genres, etc. might have different effects. Call this a "disclaimer", I suggest you do what you feel your research tells you, I comment on this thread because I have done similar, though initial results were not good, it paid WELL in the long haul.

[edited by: MThiessen at 8:50 pm (utc) on Dec. 13, 2006]

3:47 am on Dec 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A 301 *should* carry your rankings over.
Occasionally it is reported as not working, but I've never had that happen to me.
I would 301 crappy domain name to good domain name. Your rankings will dip for a bit (a month, maybe 2) and then come back better than ever.
Fix any backlinks you have access to and don't worry about the rest.
A fresh round of link building for the final domain is also recommended.
12:47 pm on Dec 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks! I feel a lot better about it now :)
12:52 pm on Dec 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Your rankings will dip for a bit (a month, maybe 2) and then come back better than ever.

Agree, 4 to 8 weeks is usually the go!