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What if I forward one of my web sites to another site, if...?

     
8:42 am on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Mod's note: Original title and description...
What if I forward one of my web sites to another site?
If it's already high in search results with unrelated content?


I have one site with similar but different content than another site. I want to now shut down that site and just use the domain to forward to my other site.

Is this...

a) A violation of any Google good practices?
b) Will this affect Adsense in any way?
c) Will the domain now show the content of the domain it is directing to in the search results and when the Google bot checks it? In other words, how does a search bot interpret a domain that redirects?

The reason I ask is the site is currently listed high in search rankings, and it may be perceived as sketchy to now use it to redirect traffic to a different site (even though the other site is ranked higher?).

It would be like, "Here's some content, let me get ranked high, now I'm going to use that high ranking to bump traffic to another site."

This is actually not my intention, I have other reasons for doing this.

I would also suspect once the bot realizes the content of the old site is gone, it will handle the domain appropriately and reevaluate the content.

Just being careful. Sorry if these questions seem amateurish.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:03 am (utc) on Jul 17, 2013]
[edit reason] needed to include description line in post for question to make sense [/edit]

2:33 pm on July 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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A. Not in theory.
B. No.
C. If you redirect with a 301, then the old domain should eventually drop out.

it may be perceived as sketchy to now use it to redirect traffic to a different site


Possible. Google won't take into account what your intentions are (or even stop to figure them out) but generally a 301 redirect won't get you into trouble.

I have no idea what you're going for though, I can't imagine a situation where I'd do something like this, unless I had a court order to shut down the first site or something.
6:10 pm on July 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I don't think you can simply add the existing traffic to the two sites together to predict the final traffic to the target site. Its Google search rankings could change because of the new backlinks added to its backlink profile. Also, after the first site drops out of Google's index, it will no longer be transferring any search traffic to the target site, although other kinds of traffic will still be transferred.

In my opinion the final results are hard to predict
7:33 pm on July 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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"In my opinion the final results are hard to predict"


while I would agree strongly with the difficulty in predicting outcomes, if I were a betting man, I would be more inclined to view combining the sites into one as a positive move - at least nowadays.

It seems that "authority" has really been amped up in its value in the ranking algorithm. And one of the signs of authority - in my humble but often wrong opinion - appears to be the total number of links to a domain.

I think that in the past the "safe bet" was to be very niche oriented. there was a Matt Cutts video out there where he said if you were a small business, then try to rank for very niche (possibly localized) keywords. He said in effect that instead of trying to rank for (example) [field of medicine], you should instead try to rank for [City Name Field Of Medicine]

However, if you do a search nowadays for a specific city name combined with a specific field of medicine, then you will see BIG BRANDS at the top; the kinds that are basically directories of one kind or another that list medical practitioners from all the cities around the country.

Don't get me wrong: I am not saying that smaller sites don't have a chance. I am just surprised that larger nation-wide "directory style" sites still seem to be doing quite well.
7:52 pm on July 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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And one of the signs of authority - in my humble but often wrong opinion - appears to be the total number of links to a domain.

But what if all of them are garbage backlinks? Or what if the new transferred backlinks don't match the content of the target site?
8:15 pm on July 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have one site with similar but different content than another site. I want to now shut down that site and just use the domain to forward to my other site.

The way I understand the above:
  • This is not a "site merge". This is shutting down Domain B and redirecting it to Domain A
  • Domain A will not host the content of domain B. In fact the Domain B content will be "lost", i.e. dropped.
  • Domains A and B have different but similar content. This means that links to Domain B (that are relevant to Domain B content) will now point to Domain A
  • From the OP description, this is not page-to-page redirect so I presume any page on Domain B will point to the same page (root?) of the Domain A

It is difficult to advise without knowing what does "similar but different content" mean. Is the subject matter exactly the same, just the articles are different? Or is it about two closely related but different subjects.

Or in other words, is it the case where Domain A is about blue widgets and Domain B about red widgets, or is it where both domains talk about blue widgets, just articles are different.

I think you could have a problem with domain pointing, unless the content is very very closely related, i.e. unless the content is about the same subject. Otherwise the links from Domain B can alter how Google sees what the Domain A is about.

Also, Google is not in the favour of redirecting the whole domain to a single page (or worse, to a domain root) of the other domain as it was used in the past to manipulate ranking.
9:34 pm on July 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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d) At best: entirely pointless and a complete waste of time. At worst: it could blow up in your face.

Idle query: Aren't there whole forums-- naming no names-- that are 100% aimed toward people whose sole intention is to make money on line, with no frivolous extras like "This is a great product I think everyone should use" or "I've got something important to say" or even "I need to bring people into my brick-and-mortar business so I can get their money" ... et cetera
4:46 pm on July 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have "combined" sites before, because two tech topics I'd been writing about kind of converged as new technologies arose, and it didn't make as much sense to maintain both sites. So I actually redirected BOTH to a whole new site and gave it a nice big marketing push for readers. I set up my 301s page by page, so Google would see "Hmm, this is the same page at a new web address." It was pretty smooth and seamless - I think the algo is fine with moving content, it's just sometimes webmasters don't take the right steps to communicate this so a machine can understand. Which is why the feature in WMT where you can tell Google you're moving the domain to a new one is nice - added insurance that they'll understand what you're doing.

You may see a slight drop in traffic for a bit, but I wouldn't expect too much grief as long as your 301s aren't just homepage to homepage.
5:33 pm on July 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Does the final "combined" sites equal to the traffic of two individual sites?
10:23 pm on July 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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frankleeceo, I think it was more like 80% of the two combined. Especially if you're talking just search traffic - it changes your search profile for the engines to have all that content at one domain. In the long run, I think the site was much better for the change for a lot of reasons and the traffic grew. But it's not like a recipe.