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A Meaty SEO Problem

Interesting issue with identical content on two domains



3:20 pm on Sep 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm faced with an interesting dilemma at the moment. I'll use sausages as an analogy, because I don't like widgets.

I have two websites on two different domains. The two sites have identical content except for Title tags.

The first (original) website was set up as sausages.com (not the real domain). Since then our company branched out and we now sell a much wider range of tasty meats. So we set up a second website, asc.com (this stands for "amazing sausage company"!, though that isn't mentioned on the site - it's simply ASC), so that it doesn't look like we just sell sausages. These sites have both been live for a while now - maybe 6 years and 2 years respectively. The older site ranks much better.

I now realise this is probably not the best set up - there are potential duplicate content issues and also the link juice will be split between two sites rather than concentrated on one. So, what should I do?

1) Leave everything as it is - there is potential for having both domains in the top 10.
2) Keep only sausages on the original website, and other meats on the new website.
3) 301 Redirect the old site to the newer site - will the good rankings of the older site be lost if I do this, or transferred to the new site?
4) Something else!

Any help or ideas would be appreciated.



9:57 am on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'd go for option 2, myself - provided the products are that neatly segmentable, and you have the time for the overheads of 2 sites (you probably do, as thats what you're doing now).

Option 3 would be my next choice, not preferred for precisely the reason you mentioned. I hate moving domains!


10:11 am on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Time for maintaining the two sites is not a problem. I guess one issue with option 2 is that is makes it more difficult to cross-sell products.

And to keep with the analogy, everyone knows sausages and bacon go so well together!

As you say though, maybe the products are not that easily segmentable. We could certainly say certain products should go on one site, however, people who buy those products will most likely be interested in the items on the other site too.

I'm kind of leaning towards option 3. Does anyone know how easy/quick it would be to get the rankings back up if we switch to the newer site?


9:01 am on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If I choose option 3, should I then use the Change Of Address tool in Google Webmaster Tools?


10:51 am on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Number 2.

Why kick a good ranking site off the serps? I would leave the sausages where they are, and change the sausage content on the new site a little, to avoid duplicate content.


3:36 pm on Sep 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I would leave the sausages where they are, and change the sausage content on the new site a little, to avoid duplicate content.

i agree with this.


10:51 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My personal opinion would be this as i have just got a new client who had 15 domains one main site and 14 exactly the same sites. hmm nightmare.

any way I would be going with option three , but this is based on the above client i have, main site ranks well the rest don't so didn't dilute the info from the well ranked main site.

As mentioned if you have the time for two site and both ranking well, go with option 2 and have a double hit at the market.


11:02 am on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

oh forgot to add if you do option 3, i would personally use a 301 redirect with htaccess file in the root dir.


11:04 pm on Nov 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've dealt with several site owners who own multiple domains with duplicate content and it's such a headache trying to get them to rank well even when rewriting the content (due to a lack of Trust Rank) I recently decided to decline all future offers because it's an uphill battle.

If you think your first site wasn't suitable for added products because the words aren't in the domain name then I would question the addition of another site that doesn't have those words in the domain.

Being as the first site has been up for 6 years I would think it would be the best place to expand your market. The site with duplicate content will likely eliminate it's chance from ever ranking well without removing all duplicate content (and even then Google has a memory like an elephant) and you will also need extensive marketing to overcome this.

I would change the old site to incorporate the new products and totally change the content on the new site over to information only (how to make sausages, etc) and link relevant pages to the relevant pages on the old site. This will allow you to keep both domains and allow the new one to help promote the older one. You might even set up another domain (how to cure bacon) and link that to relevant pages on the old site, etc. You could eventually have several domains supporting the old one, all with unique content.


12:36 am on Nov 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I may be the only one in the universe, but would choose option #4: would not touch any of the sites but I will start forking them out in singular ways.

Perhaps adding a forum to one, while live chat to the other one. Adding a "ask Q" to site A while adding video to site B. Adding reviews to one of them while adding interviews to the other one. Fitting in a "captions contest" into one while including a newsletter to the next... and so forth.

I think touching and retouching (or rewriting) is not only a waste of time but highly dangerous. And when done with option #4, you may have created highly unique content in each of the (originally duplicated) sites that this alone will provide you with enough opportunities to interlink pages, sending customers back and forth.


11:35 am on Nov 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

The two sites have identical content except for Title tags.

Do the younger site's pages rank higher in the SERPs if you search for their page titles as the search term? In other words, do you get more total combined traffic by having pages with the same content but different titles?


8:49 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am faced with a similar situation.

Site B was a clone of site A. Not good, I know.

Originally the only difference was the header image and the URLs. Being only a single human being I have begun writing different content for each of them ... sometimes completely different - sometimes heavily edited / re-written. I also deleted some of the articles in site B that were not appropriate to it and some of the articles in site A that I no longer wanted featured. I took the more aggressive stuff out of A and the wimpy stuff out of B, completely changing the tone of each.

I know what sort of memory the internet has, but eventually the stuff will drop out of the various caches and only be available in the wayback machine. That's about the best I can hope for.

And who searches the wayback machine? (DAGS)

Because his answer matches my own, I like the responder who opted for #4. Change the duplicate content, treat each as separate from this point forward and move on. That doesn't mean that it is the best of all possible answers but it does make the problem manageable and allows for a doubling of results with less than a doubling of effort.


11:38 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

The duplicate problem is a major one now that Panda has gone global.
I would definitely keep both sites separate, and rewrite the smallest section of content on the larger site. Sell from both, but anything on the new one that is on the old one you'll need to rewrite.


11:55 am on Apr 24, 2011 (gmt 0)



Check out that thread for a similar situation.

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