Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Sign Up

Multiple web addresses for 1 site - SEO question

Discussion in 'PR & Marketing Forum' started by dcman007, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. dcman007

    dcman007 New Member

    I have a client that has 2 different web addresses; 1 for an old out of date site and 1 for his new site (both with different hosting companies). His old site looks terrible, but gets listed highly in Google so I suggested pointing his old site address at his new site.

    My question is this - is simply pointing his old website address at his new site enough to ensure his new site takes the place of his old site in the Google rankings or should I do a full domain transfer to his new web host and set it up as an alias?

    Any help and advice would be very much appreciated.
  2. SurreyWeb

    SurreyWeb New Member


    The only good option is to put in place page by page 301 redirects from each old URL to the nearest new equivalent. If the site is on an apache server, fairly straightforward via .htaccess. Even more so if the URL structure has been preserved but even page by page doesn't take as long as might appear to be the case. If the site is on an IIS server without ISAPI rewrite and you don't have full access, slightly more of a pain but can be done.

    After a while (unpredictable but allow weeks/months) Google will recognise the new URLs as representing the old and in principle, carry forward any value e.g. from inbound links to the old site. Just bear in mind that for this to remain the case, 301 permanent redirect needs to mean exactly that. The links are not transferred as such, so the redirect has to remain in place or value from them will be lost.
  3. SurreyWeb

    SurreyWeb New Member

    Should have mentioned that you can also use the Change of Address tool in Google Webmaster Tools for the old site. This does speed things up but is not essential.

    Depending on the situation this can bring other issues e.g. any changed URLs will need 301s at both ends and you may need to amend internal navigation to subfolders to counter the tool's habit of creating 404s. Using this is not vital anyway, the 301s will do the job in the end.
  4. rohnsmith

    rohnsmith New Member

    I think this is called as mirror site .If both sites serve same purpose in same country then redirect it to one of it or immediately change the content
  5. dcman007

    dcman007 New Member

    I don't think I explained things correctly

    Thanks for the info guys. However, I may not have explained myself correctly. I don't want to keep the old site at all. I just want to point both the old and new domain name at the one new site.

    The old site files are irrelevant as they will be deleted once the old domain name is pointing at the new site.

    What I need to know is, is it better to fully transfer the old domain name to the new site host or will simply changing the IPS tag and name servers with the registrar of the old domain name work just as well?

    Thanks, in advance
  6. epsell

    epsell New Member

    redirect all url which have the same content to one address?

    i read this page I still have a question though I own 9 domains that is 9 urls, now is it a good idea to redirect all of them to 1 url SEO wise? or i shouldn't? I must say that all 9 of them have the same content at the moment that is if one types any of the 9 will see the same content i would really appreciate if some1 help me out best regards
  7. Neil_Singleton

    Neil_Singleton New Member

    Age Deflation

    SEO age deflation

    If I were you I would try and hold on to the old domain name and possibly try to changing DNS settings to point at your new host, this can be done by asking the host to do this or if you have DNS control panel you can do it yourself.

    The simple fact being the old domain name will have age and trust on its side as with the new domain name will be starting from scratch and this is what google call age deflation this means Google sees the new URL as less reliable for search Hold on to it if you can.

    I would refrain from using two URLS to point at one website, although your intentions are more than honest Google would certainly class this as a gateway website that will earn your clients site penalties and in more serious cases a total ban.

    If you would like any more advice on SEO please feel free to contact me anytime
  8. SurreyWeb

    SurreyWeb New Member

    Hi Neil

    this is what google call age deflation

    You are right that an established domain can have benefits but an interesting phrase you used, never come across that before in relation to Google, wondered if you could point towards the documentation.

    The same for:

    Google would certainly class this as a gateway website

    Would also be useful to see. Personaly find such definitive conclusions awkward regarding search, as even Google engineers do. So again, would be valuable to see the statements on this. Particularly when it's so hard to work out (impossible?) how one site could be a gateway to another if they are pointing at the same files.

    Also any help you can give on why page by page 301s are not the right solution would be helpful. This is the plan that Google themselves recommend:

    Google on 301

    Plus is in use by most major sites on the globe, somehow confirming that other solutions are better might help a lot of people.
  9. Neil_Singleton

    Neil_Singleton New Member

    Hi Surreyweb,

    "This is what Google call age deflation"

    I dont think Google officially call it age deflation, but refer to it as their sandbox period but again not offically. It affects brand spanking new websites and these are held back from reaching high ranking positions in SERPs for up to 2-4 months this is to stop spamming websites popping up and gaining unfair advantages. This is widely talked about in the SEO community and doing a search for either terms will bring up many results.

    "Google would certainly class this as a gateway website"

    For this section I admit it was a strong sentence to use "Certainly class as a gateway" like you said, what is determined as a gateway and what is not? It is very difficult to determine.

    This area can be a minefield and I think going anywhere near it could put you in hot water I think dcman007 should have a read through this website and this should help put some demons to bed:

    The link below explains how to use 2 URLS to point at one website.

    "Why 301 redirects are not the right solution"

    301 redirects do serve their purpose but in this situation I think the DNS change would be ok.

    You should use 301 redirects for:

    • Change a pages filename
    • Move a page to another location on your website
    • Move your whole website to another server

    In dcman007's case he only wants the url from the old website for the good ranking he gets from it, but he does not want the content and the not so good design. I would advise him to change the DNS settings to point to the new host, although he might lose some of the search engine ranking due to deleting of the content he keeps the age inflation of the old web URL and its benefits.

    Please accept my appologies if I offended you or you thought I was undermining your advice I was just expressing my personel view on the matter.
  10. SurreyWeb

    SurreyWeb New Member

    Hi Neil

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. No problem at all with different views, that's what forums are for and I don't pretend to have all the answers. The only concern was exactly the one you highlighted:

    widely talked about in the SEO community and doing a search for either terms will bring up many results

    Much that is widely talked about, written in ebooks, posted on blogs etc. is unfortunately wrong. There can be few subjects relating to the web so strewn with misinformation. I am not having a go at you in any way, but as an example:

    Google officially call it age deflation, but refer to it as their sandbox period.

    Agree this is commonly mentioned but is a common myth. There is no sandbox for websites, the only sandbox that exists within Google is an internal test facility for their own engineers. If anything new domains can enjoy the opposite, where they are artificially high for a while. Partly to gauge user reaction and because it takes a while for a search engine to understand the site. Even that is not as clear cut as often stated and can be exaggerated, perhaps the latter of the two reasons is more relevant.

    A gateway site is a website which substantially exists to funnel users to another website, or other subdomains/sections of the same site, without offering true value itself. Various names given to what again is a variable situation -"cookie cutter sites" "gateway sites or pages" "doorway sites or pages". As far as search engines are concerned, any similar set up which exists to manipulate their users or results and not a practice they like, as in the Google guidelines:

    Whether deployed across many domains or established within one domain, doorway pages tend to frustrate users, and are in violation of our webmaster guidelines.

    Duplicating a site is somewhat different, which gets back to the original post:

    I have a client that has 2 different web addresses; 1 for an old out of date site and 1 for his new site (both with different hosting companies). His old site looks terrible, but gets listed highly in Google so I suggested pointing his old site address at his new site.

    Part of the problem here is how differently many host/registrars/webmasters interpret the word "pointing". As often as not this is not in any way suitable, a 302 redirect, javascript redirect, framing etc. none of which will suffice. This misunderstanding probably causes more damage to established website rankings during a move than any other. Agree that with some registrars you can 301 redirect a domain to another domain, which is okay for parked sites picking up typos but not in the situation described by the original poster.

    The only rational answer is 301 redirect on a page by page basis. If you don't do that, a few issues:

    Any inbound links not to the root will be lost, no path for users trying to follow them, or opportunity for search engines to carry forward link value.

    Assuming parts of the content are the same/similar, you are effectively creating your own duplicate content. Duplicate content "penalties" are another myth (except where people use an exceptional number of identical/very similar domains) but having this situation can effect search returns. Google will in general filter one out but hard to predict which one and they often favour the established content, so you hold the new site back. Seeing the old site out of the way by natural degradation is not an aspect Google or other search engines handle well, can take a long time.

    Many subtle reasons beyond links, bearing in mind Google use a large number of factors to rank sites and there is more value in having pages "transferred" by 301 than just the links.

    Beyond 301s, there is now the facility to notify a change of address in Webmaster Tools and very effective that is but with two caveats. This is not obligatory, the 301s are the key and if the new site is not very similar, might be best not used. They recommend page by page 301s before applying this, from the Google documentation:

    Use a 301 Redirect to permanently redirect all pages on your old site to your new site. This tells search engines and users that your site has permanently moved....

    Incidentally, from the same page:

    Don't do a single redirect directing all traffic from your old site to your new home page. This will avoid 404 errors, but it's not a good user experience. It's more work, but a page-to-page redirect will help preserve your site's ranking in Google while providing a consistent and transparent experience for your users....

    This really is good advice, from moving many sites and picking up the pieces when others have gone wrong, can confirm that no other option will do.

    Once again, not trying to point out errors when I understand where they come from, simply trying to help. Much of what is written about "SEO" is misleading and not needed. Having a site that is technically well configured, holds good content and is well referenced by other sites are about all that is needed in most cases. Same applies to a site you are moving but in that case, you do need to get the technicalities right.
  11. Drachsi

    Drachsi New Member

    Does it really mattter

    When you think of the cost nowadays for hosting, is it not better to keep the old site and gradually transfer the copy over?

    I have customer who has no idea about the Internet, the previous webmaster left it littered with old files, but they are indexed in Google. So each one will have a minimum face lift, important is there is a link to the sitemap and new pages.

  12. hubert

    hubert Banned

    Thanku its new information for me.
  13. rickypounting

    rickypounting New Member

    Dont you think Google considers the use of permanent redirection 301's as a black hat way of gaining traffic and in the long term marks your website as spam..... ?

Share This Page