Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Q and A: How do I use two domains without creating duplicate content?

Dear Kalena...

Very interesting site - congratulations! A question.

The island of Koh Samui is usually spelt as I have in this sentence. It has an acceptable, but less well used, spelling of Ko Samui.

When we acquired our url www.kosamuiproperties.com the preferred spelling of www.kohsamuiproperties.com was not available and at that time suitable suffixes were also not available.

I have since acquired www.kohsamuiproperties.com but the original name is now reasonably well placed in search engines and obviously comes lower down the order to someone searching for Koh Samui rather that Ko Samui.

I read your article about Google ignoring a site that was duplicated so I do not want to do that, but how can I safely and successfully use the www.kohsamuiproperties.com url in conjunction with the first, get it listed high in the search engines without creating a duplicate site?

Your advice would be much appreciated.

Kind regards,

Harry


Kalena's Answer:

Dear Harry

Easy peasy. I'm assuming you want to promote www.kohsamuiproperties.com as your main site (in search engines, emails, on business cards, in marketing materials etc.) from now on? If so, you need to:

1) Set up a hosting account for www.kohsamuiproperties.com with the same hosts and DNS servers as your existing site and set up all your new email addresses etc to reflect this.

2) Set up a 301 permanent redirect in your hosting control panel for all pages on http://kosamuiproperties.com to redirect to http://kohsamuiproperties.com. See this thread for more information on how to do this.

3) Set up mail forwarding from your email addresses @kosamuiproperties.com to be redirected to your new email addresses @kohsamuiproperties.com. You should be able to do this in one hit by logging into your existing hosting Control Panel and setting the default address for all email coming to any address@kosamuiproperties.com to be forwarded to an address of your choice @kohsamuiproperties.com. This forwarding can be switched off when you're confident your new email addresses are well known.

4) Start promoting your new domain! No need to resubmit to search engines as the redirect will alert them to your new site. You may see a drop in rankings for a while until Google indexes the redirects and makes the connection about your new domain, but this should only be short term, unless Google applies the aging delay for new sites (which may cause your site to be sandboxed for 6 to 9 months). You won't lose any traffic from old URLs listed in the search engines or outdated links because visitors will be automatically redirected to your new site. But you will lose link popularity unless you contact all sites linking to your old domain and ask them to update their link to reflect your new domain.

If you would rather not lose your current rankings and links, don't want to risk a visit to the Google Sandbox and are happy to keep promoting your existing domain via search engines, simply park the new domain to your existing domain by setting it up on the same IP address and using the "parking" option in your hosting Control Panel. You can then promote your new domain everywhere except search engines and people will automatically be taken to your existing site when they type in the new domain or click on a link for the new domain.

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[If you found this post helpful, you might benefit from downloading our free Search Engine Optimization lesson]

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