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  1. #1
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    New website v's old website dilemma-duplicate content?

    I have developed a new website for a small business as the current website is not working for their business anymore. It is an ecommerce website with around 100 similar products ie 100 variations on one keyword product eg dvds with different titles.
    The current website domain name is like this: www.businessname.co.uk The new domain will be www.business-name.co.uk
    The current website uses cubecart and despite not having sef urls, and the title is the same for every page, and a few other no no's it is on page 1 of google for most of their main keywords
    However the new website will be using sef urls (with keywords), relevent page titles, h1, h2 tags and much cleaner semantic code along with other SEO best practices, with a cart system similar to paypal where you add a 'buy now' form for each product. So in theory it should do well in SE for more keywords as each page will be optmized individually which isn't happening now.

    Anyway, the dilemma is this: they want to run both sites for a couple of months to take advantage of the current site's good SE results and give the new website a chance to catch up and link building.
    However I am worried about duplicate content. How 'duplicate' does the content need to be?
    WIll the business name be considered duplicate content despite the hyphen?
    The full businss name is "Business Name Keyword" which will be on the index pages, terms and conditions and contact us pages of both websites.
    Obviously I wouldn't want the new site to be penalized and seen as duplicate content in which case I would recommend to the client that they take down the current website as soon as the new website goes live.

    What do you recommend and can you shed some more light on the use of duplicate content please?

    Regards
    A

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bigalreturns's Avatar
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    I think running both at the same time is a very risky policy. The old website is established in Google, ranking well for your targetted keywords, so a new site with very similar content is likely to be seen as a duplicate, and will be pretty much ignored by the big G.
    As to how duplicate content has to be, well, it's probably not on a discrete duplicate or not scale, and no-one outside Google could tell you with much accuracy. But from the sounds of your site, I'd expect it would be seen as duplicate.
    My policy in this situation would be to get the new site up, and deprecate the old site, using 301 redirects to send visitors (human or bot) to the new site. I'd expect a bit of a ranking hit (depending how good your competition is), but this should clear itself up in a few months, and you'll be back where you were, if not in a stronger position.
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  3. #3
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Just do a 301 redirect from the old to the new. At some point they need to find the new one and index it and the sooner you equate the old site with the new site the sooner you get the benefits of the old site's success. The longer you wait to do that the longer you wait for the old site to get any traction in Google.

  4. #4
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Risky? Yes. Bad idea? Absolutely. Just use a 301 redirect and be done with it. Yes, the rankings will take a short-term hit, but SEO is not a get-rich quick scheme, and if the company is depending on search engines for its primary source of traffic (new sites are excluded from this "rule of thumb"), there's bigger problems that need to be addressed.

  5. #5
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    Thank you.
    They are on a windows server and I don't know how to do a 301 redirect on windows. What if they keep the old domain name and just replace the old website with the new? The urls are different so I think would need an error page for the old pages urls, is that right?

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bigalreturns's Avatar
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    This would be marginally better than a new domain with no 301s, but still vastly inferior to a new domain with proper 301s in place. I've no experience with 301s on a windows server, but I'm sure there's a sitepointer who has!
    "The proper function of man is to live - not to exist."
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