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I have a client that I just started consulting for. They have some SERIOUS duplicate content issues. I am not sure how to interpret some of the info that I am gleaning from google, wanted your opinions.
1) https pages indexed in google: BUT I can't find any duplicate pages indexed. That is to say that where the https is indexed, the http isn't and vice versa. Is this because some pages are being ignored b/c dup content? HERE's THE KICKER: All links sitewide use absolute https urls to point to other pages. YUCK!
a) If I fix the links and do a sitewide 301 fix, is this a good strategy? Will google penalize me for all the 301 wackiness? Will it hurt the site as approx 98% of the pages google reports in its index are https pages?
b) How in the world should I tackle this? Fix the links? Leave the links alone and use 301s? Use a conditional php 301 at the top of each page if "https" 301 to "http"?
2) They have purchased alias domains of "mypoorlydesignedsite.net" and "mypoorlydesignedsite.org" which use domain masking over the "mypoorlydesignedsite.com" web site. should I fix these with 301s as well?
I know this is a complicated one... that's why I took it to you folks. Thanks for your help. Let me know if I can provide any more info for you, or if I can help you out in any way in exchange for some quality advice.
2. If you can 301 redirect the links then do so. Some have trouble doing this, but if you simply tell Google to stop going to these https pages that is best start.
3. I also make sure that if they have "secondary" domains set up that they 301 redirect to the main or dont work at all.
Do you see any issues with redirecting such a high volume of the pages (approximately 1400 pages will now be using a 301... almost the entire site).
Additionally, the internal links are pointing to the https: directory. Should I fix these as well or just let the 301 do the dirty work? Will google interpret this as a sitewide link structure change? This has tended to hurt my rankings in the past... even if done properly with 301s.
Too much of the answer to "am I being paranoid" lies hidden in factors such as the age of your site, history of ownership and content changes, the "trust" that SEs place in your market segment, and the trust that they place in your site specifically...
The site seems to be in fairly good standing....
Please forgive my lack of knowledge on this specific topic. I've been consulting in search marketing for years, and I haven't had a client yet that had problems such as this... I guess I am just lucky, but there is a definite hole in my skillset in regard to dup content due to misconfiguration. Thanks again for your help.
I have just uncovered an additional chapter in this saga: They have the same page published in 2 different directories for many products. I am assuming that the best strategy here is similar. Make all links consistent sitewide to point to one of the pages, and then 301 redirect on the other. Does that sound right?
Thanks again for all of your help gang!