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Does 301 Redirect remove the original site from the Google index?



5:26 am on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Here is my dilemma:

I am doing some work for a friend who has 2 sites, both the same domain but with different TLDs: Site #1 is example.net and the site #2 is example.com.

They have some serious issues with duplicate content between the two sites and need to consolidate everything into one site (the 'example.com' site). However 40%+ of their current traffic is coming through the 'example.net' site.

Is there any way to consolidate the two without immediately losing the traffic to the 'example.net' site?

I had wondered about using a 301 to redirect traffic from the .net to the .com, but I'd want the .net to be no-indexed in order to kill the duplicate content issues that are hurting the .com site. Basically I'd want everything except the .net site's traffic to disappear--that's possible, right? ;)

Any ideas?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:32 am (utc) on Mar. 17, 2008]
[edit reason] changed to example.com & .net [/edit]


5:34 am on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

No dilemma that I see. If googlebot gets a 301 redirect, then there is no content at the old .net domain available to be indexed. That's because the server never shows it to any user agent request, it only returns the redirect. So the .net will automatically leave Google's index with no other steps needed.


4:01 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Zygots, I've done just what you're describing 2 months ago and have charted the progress daily with the site: command. The resulting graph looks like a big X, with one site losing pages while the other gaining, on average, 3500 pages a day. It has taken almost two months to "move" 200,000 pages from fr.example.com to www.example.fr

Be careful though. You don't want to remove the 301 until you're certain that there are no more inbound links to your .net site. Perhaps you never want to remove it, just to be safe.

Also, for quality inbound links, you might want to send a polite email to the site owners to change their links to point to the new domain. Same goes for affiliates. Good luck!


5:05 am on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Keep in mind that the pages from the .net site can stay in Google's index for upto a year, and that the server response should returns a actual 301 header response.
WebmasterWorld has a handy tool to check that here:


1:11 pm on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

301 is the best way to remove content from Google, much better than 404. Remember to keep it forever, because some external links will never be updated. It's also recommended to ensure there are backlinks to old URLs, it speeds up Google reaction to 301. Sometimes it takes long to reindex, but having set 301 properly, you avoid losing traffic anyway.


2:37 pm on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

perhaps tedster could explain at this point why he likes to mention that there are trust issues with the 301. Also yahoo still assigns the target content to the old url with a 301.


4:14 pm on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

One issue is relevance - does the target page really serve as replacement content for the removed page? Another is whether "chains" of redirects are moving around blocks of PR.

The main reason I say this is experience. When I've worked with redesigning sites, I've found that only redirecting the key urls (good backlinks or search traffic) and letting the rest go 404 has actually established the new urls in Google a speedier fashion. That's as long as the new urls have a good link structure, of course.

I've also heard Google reps at conference make cautionary statements about overdoing it on the 301s.


5:20 pm on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

its a little disconcerting because ive always believed the correct thing to do is 301 if a page has a new address. So if you restructure a site the correct thing to do is a 301 from all the old urls to the new ones. Thats what a 301 is. So when google suspects foul play with them and yahoo doesnt even know what to do them whats a girl supposed to do?


9:08 pm on Mar 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Also yahoo still assigns the target content to the old url with a 301.

This was a discussion I had on a previous occasion with someone, and I know when a home page (root) is redirected to a sub-directory location on a new site, they treat the redirect as a 302 (or 303, or 307 --- all basically interpreted as temporary at this time), which means the originating URL is re-accessed, rather than the new URL being considered the 'content holder'.

At first I could not figure out why, but I think it is because if the spider was set to access the new location, it would not re-access the previous domain again, so if the redirect was removed and new content was placed on the domain, the spiders would miss the change and the domain would go un-indexed, unless the owner re-submitted.

If you are truly experiencing the described results with Y! or any other search engine, I would double check the server headers to make sure a 301 is actually served, and also look for 'stacked' or multiple redirects from the old location to the new one.



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