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9:17 am on Jul 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hello everyone!

I've asked a couple "experts" about this issue and I don't even know if they had any clue, but I'm pretty sure it's straightforward for anyone clued up....

1. Had a Google Sites (old) hosted website and bought a new domain for it that was in use for several years
2. Finally switched hosting from Google Sites, but kept both the old website with the GS domain, and the new one on the new host but with the originally bought domain; most content the same on both sites
3. Organic traffic suffered a few months into the switch to the new host...

My dilemma: do I take down the Google Site website with the GS domain? Is it "competing" with the new site? Of course chronologically the old site content was added first, but the domain it pointed to had always been the same.

What might be going on?

Thanks for any help!
1:30 pm on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The traffic drop could very well be due to having the same content on two different websites. Google does not like duplicate content nor do other search engines. The way I've handled that would be to have both domains registered at Google Search Console and manage the duplicate content there. Unfortunately though, my personal experience tells me this may not be true today. I can't tell you how this would work in their new interface, hopefully someone else can help with that aspect.

Good thing is that you don't need to do it that way, you can handle it just fine from your own domains. It would help here if you can tell us whether this is a website of static html pages or is it built with some CMS platform such as WordPress? Are these domains hosted on a Windows IIS server or Apache server? That would tell us which steps to take to consolidate both domains into one.

Simple thing to know is that is does you no good at all to have two (or 6) identical domains and it does decrease your chances of success, whatever your goal.
4:44 pm on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hi not2easy, thank you very much for your useful insights!

The original site (and now still on GS) was static html to my knowledge, while the new site is WP. I think the WP one is on an Apache server; not sure which one Google Sites is on... also Apache?

Let me know if this sparks any more ideas!
4:50 pm on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am not too familiar with the GS platform. For best results you would want to have root access for the old domain where you could send the old domain's traffic to the new domain. That would make it clear that the duplicate content belongs to the new domain.
4:55 pm on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am not sure I understood all , but, isn't canonical url a good solution ?
5:14 pm on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thank you both for your replies!

To clarify, the old GS site was given a Google URL sites/site-name
But it had an option to use my own domain, which I always used.

After moving the website from GS to a new host, I still used my domain, and the GS site defaulted back to its sites/site-name domain. All organic traffic had been assigned to my domain, not the sites/site-name domain.

Also, GS doesn't seem to give any back-end control in terms of accessing anything. There was also no site transfer option. It had to be done manually.

Let me know if you'd like any more details to be able to offer your insights.
5:30 pm on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Is there any reason to keep the g site alive? Isn't the intent to build up the new site?

If you can't redirect old to new then your best option is to delete the old to a holding page that is LINKED to the new site.

Duplicate content will be penalized in the serps ... so if you can't reliably redirect old to new then kill the old and get on with building the new!
5:31 pm on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@gsitesseo ... Welcome to Webmasterworld!
5:56 pm on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thank you tangor, for your kind reply :)

No, there isn't really a reason to keep the old site. GS has an option to take the site down so it's no longer publicly accessible, or of course to delete it. Is making it private sufficient to redress the SEO issue?

Should I take it down asap? Does the time it stays up make things worse for the new site? And how long before things should improve for the new site after I've taken the old one down?

P.S.: the new site was being very slow compared to the old one. Could it be that the traffic has suffered due to this, and other reasons, or just the conflict with the old site, or maybe a combination of these?
7:01 pm on July 26, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Any and all of the above ... and possibly (depending on how new the new site is) whether fully propagated across the net.

If the two domain names are NOT the same, and you can delete all content but the INDEX page ... and that page only has a llink:

"This site, under a new name, is located HERE."

Will give the best results.
1:16 pm on July 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thank you tangor, that sounds good!

Do you know what trajectory traffic might take after fixing up the old site to link only to the new one? In terms of timeframe and effect... Should the new site eventually level up to its previous traffic, or is it just a bit of an unknown?
8:03 pm on July 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My crystal ball is in the shop for repairs, so I can't give you an answer. Sorry! :)