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How Important Is Age Of Domain?


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#1 xyZed

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 09:51 AM

I have washerhelp.com which was registered and hosted about 6 and a half years ago. 2 years later I registered washerhelp.co.uk and following advice from Ammon I parked it and pointed the co.uk name to the existing .com site.

Most of my IBL's are now to the .co.uk domain.

However, I am moving hosting companies and had in mind to reverse the situation - that is, make the co.uk domain the actual site and point the .com site to it. Because I'm based in and targeting the UK it makes sense to me.

It's suddenly concerned me as to whether this could potentially affect my SERP's? I know the age of a domain name is suspected as being a positive factor for a site, and my .co.uk domain name is a couple of years younger, but is there much chance of this change being detrimental to my rankings at all?

Edited by xyZed, 07 March 2007 - 09:52 AM.


#2 backgammonnn123

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 10:21 AM

I have seen sites go down because of the age of the domain but i also think the strength and quality of your inbound links have alot to do with keeping u ranked well. My seo proved it by taking a pr zero site to no 1 in google in 3 months. Make sure ur inbound links are solid.

#3 rmccarley

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 11:39 AM

Changing domain names sucks. It's an SEO nightmare.

#4 Aaron Pratt

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 01:14 PM

This case would not be a question of age but will search engines follow the redirects I hope you put in place for each page when you move it back.

#5 A.N.Onym

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Posted 07 March 2007 - 07:55 PM

It'd be interesting to hear Ammon on why he suggested focusing on the .com domain, when the site was UK oriented. Maybe he thought the age bonus was better than the .tld domain?

In any case, any links to the domain, you redirect to, should help.

Keeping the 2nd domain alive and hosted for months should be a good move, too.

Most likely, you'll lose some traffic for high competitive phrases, as age does play a role. However, you should also be getting more local (UK) customers, I suspect.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 07 March 2007 - 09:39 PM.


#6 xyZed

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 04:43 AM

This case would not be a question of age but will search engines follow the redirects I hope you put in place for each page when you move it back.

Links on my entire site are full links including the http://www and they all point to washerhelp.co.uk - however, there are no files at washerhelp.co.uk, this domain is parked and pointing to washerhelp.com. All files are uploaded to the .com site. I've only just realised that this means all clicks to my pages within my site have to be diverted to the .com hosting. Is this crazy?

My ideal would be that as my new hosting arrangements allow me to upload files to either .com or .co.uk it makes sense to switch hosting the files to the actual co.uk hosting and point the .com name to it.

I was all set to do it when it suddendly dawned on me that although most of my inbound links over the years have changed to the .co.uk domain, the .com name is 6 and a half years old but the co.uk name is about 4 and a half years old and wondered if there could be adverse search engine results effects - not only because of the age difference but what about the physical moving of all files to a new domain name (albeit one that's just got a different extension)

I'm hoping I'm being unnecessarily worried and that because both domain names have been inextricibly linked all the time that it won't make any difference - or even could be beneficial to UK results?

Edited by xyZed, 08 March 2007 - 04:47 AM.


#7 klikhir

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 05:15 AM

Old domain names are worth keeping and you're probably better of purchasing old domain names (2 yrs plus) when starting a new web site.

If you have an old web site with many pages indexed in search then the simple best solution is to set up 301 reditects in your .htaccess file (apache server). To do this see this post

If you use 301 redirects on your old domain (assuming the web pages are still hosted) you can redirect to your new domain, and land on the exact page you intend. Next time a searchbot crawls your old domain the robot will also crawl the redirect links and index pages from both sites.

From the search engines point of view both the old and new documents are valid. This is usefull: if you get an organic search result for the old domain you'll probably get one for the new domain too - a double listing in SERPs.

A word of caution - do not abuse 301 redirects. Searchbots are smart and will degrade your rankings due to misuse of 301 and 302 redirects.

To make this point really clear I created a website in 1991 called 'Alchemy of Africa'. If you search it in Google is appears at number 1. In those days we did not use 301 redirects. I lost the domain name years ago but there are still 133 direct results in Google (if you search it in "quotes") for that site - 15 years later!

Edited by klikhir, 08 March 2007 - 05:17 AM.


#8 storyspinner

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 07:02 AM

I'd have to agree - the 301 redirect is going to be your best route. If you are moving the entire domain over to the co.uk.

If most of your business is in the UK then this definitely makes sense.

The 301 is going to pass over everything, but as backgammon said, you might see a temporary drop in PR (if that matters to you - some don't care), but generally it comes back within a 1-3 month timespan.

#9 lee.n3o

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 08:36 AM

I had a similar problem - Although my pages were ASP so I came up with the below

http://www.cre8asite...showtopic=47328

#10 Tom Anthony

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 11:10 AM

It'd be interesting to hear Ammon on why he suggested focusing on the .com domain, when the site was UK oriented.


I have a site which is aimed primarily at people in the UK, and have a .co.uk and .com for the site. Initially, for about 6 months, I used the .co.uk and pointed the .com domain over at the .co.uk.

However, discussing it on the phone with Eric Ward, he suggested I swap it to use the .com as the primary. About 6 months later the site is ranking better, but there are so many other factors involved I wouldn't suggest it was because of that, but it may have helped.

On the PPC campaign for the site (geotargetted to UK), I found higher click through rates if I display the .co.uk domain, but it actually goes to the .com.

#11 A.N.Onym

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 01:06 PM

Ah, the tld probably doesn't matter, if you host the domain in the UK and have links from co.uk/UK hosted websites and the .com domain is shown in "all the web" results. In which case, the .com domain might be more preferable. Unless you aim for specifically UK-specific results.

I guess only experience can tell here.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 08 March 2007 - 01:28 PM.


#12 xyZed

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 04:31 AM

It'd be interesting to hear Ammon on why he suggested focusing on the .com domain, when the site was UK oriented. Maybe he thought the age bonus was better than the .tld domain?


I think it was because my site was already established and doing extremely well in Google with the .com extension. By pointing the newer .co.uk dame at it, I had the best of both worlds. However, now I have a new hosting package that lets me put all the pages physically at the .co.uk site and point the .com at it I think it's something I should do.

To me, I can't see how it would do anything but make things better, after all the current situation is that every internal link on my site is a co.uk one so presumably when clicked the browser has to look up the URL and find out that it's redirected to the .com version.

I'm just looking for reassurance because A: the .com version is 2 and a half years older and B: Changing anything as big as this could have unforseen consequences.

Does anyone have the thought that because the .com and .co.uk have always been inextricably linked then Google wouldn't mind where the files physically were? My gut feeling is that my site should be hosted on a .co.uk hosting which means all my internal links don't have to be redirected and it will be a 100% UK site. I'm just afraid it could have disastrous consequences somehow.

BTW. I definitely need to change hosting companies anyway. it's just whether I replicate the current situation or use the opportunity to swap them round or not.

Edited by xyZed, 09 March 2007 - 04:35 AM.


#13 A.N.Onym

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 05:36 AM

Okay.

It seems that you have two sites with the same content, while .com now links to the co.uk pages.

I guess it should be better for you to have only one version of the site and redirect all the pages from one domain to the relevant pages of the other domain.

Now, I don't think we should try to cheat the SEs by pointing at the aged domain. Instead, going with the common sense and redirecting the links and pages to the co.uk domain seems to be the most viable option.

However, you need to remember to have the .com website up (while redirected to the co.uk domain), so that it'd get redirected properly.

I have to stress once again, there needs to be one version of a page (be it an internal page or a homepage) of your business. Once you choose the location (the co.uk domain, I presume), then you redirect the .com domain to the co.uk domain (even the homepage).

#14 xyZed

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 05:55 AM

It seems that you have two sites with the same content, while .com now links to the co.uk pages.

I guess it should be better for you to have only one version of the site and redirect all the pages from one domain to the relevant pages of the other domain.


Thanks, but I'm not following you here. I do only have one site, the .com site, which is where all pages are uploaded. It's the .co.uk pages that are directed to the .com. There's no duplicate content that I know of - unless having the parked domain means the content is somehow duplicated.

I must admit I'm not sure how it all works. All I know is that if you type in a URl from my site using the .com extension then you go directly to the page that's uploaded there - but if you type the same URL but with a .co.uk it gets redirected (because the .co.uk domain is parked and pointing to the .com site) to the exact same page but the url showing in the address bar is .co.uk.

Are you saying that parking a domain and pointing it to another is achieved by duplicating the entire site?

Edited by xyZed, 09 March 2007 - 05:56 AM.


#15 A.N.Onym

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 06:56 AM

When a visitor goes to .com, he stays there. However, all links from the homepage lead to the co.uk domain.

When a visitor goes to co.uk, he stays there. Links, naturally, lead to co.uk.

Thus, to only direct visitors to one page, you need to redirect the homepage of .com to co.uk to finish the redirection process. If there are any pages of the .com domain, you need to redirect them to the .co.uk domain.

In this situation, it doesn't matter much where the .com domain is or was hosted.

I am not sure why you need to have co.uk parked and shown at the same time. It'd make sense to host files with the co.uk doman in the UK.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 09 March 2007 - 07:21 AM.


#16 xyZed

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 07:04 AM

When a visitor goes to .com, he stays there. However, all links from the homepage lead to the co.uk domain. When a visitor goes to co.uk, he stays there. Links, naturally, lead to co.uk.

I could be seriously misunderstanding how this all works. My understanding is that when a visitor goes to .com he is served the actual page that's hosted there, however, as all subsequent links are absolute links using the .co.uk tld - each time they click a link, they get redirected to the page on hosted at .com although their address bar still shows the .co.uk extension.

If a visitor types in or clicks a link using the .co.uk he stays there all the time because all links are absolute using the .co.uk tld - but - as the .co.uk domain name is only pointing to the .com site doesn't each link get redirected to the real pages hosted at .com?

Edited by xyZed, 09 March 2007 - 07:05 AM.


#17 A.N.Onym

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 07:27 AM

Your co.uk domain isn't linking to .com.

Domain names and physical locations are not connected, because physical file locations and URL redirection are different. You can host .com in UK and co.uk in US, generally, but you do need to host co.uk in the UK.

301 redirect, the redirection we are talking about, happens automatically. So, you need to setup a 301 redirect from the .com homepage to the co.uk homepage for visitors to automatically go to the co.uk website.

I don't know how you ended up at your current hosting/redirect situation, but it looks messed up, as if someone tried to play tricks with the SEs.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 09 March 2007 - 07:29 AM.


#18 Ron Carnell

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 07:58 AM

I think your confusion is common and revolves around the difference between a redirect and an alias.

Ron is an alias for Ronald, and both are aliases for Carnell. If someone comes up to me at a party and addresses me by any of those names, I'm going to respond. He's got the right person. On the other hand, if he comes up to me and calls me Frank, I'm going to point across the room and send him over to Frank. He doesn't have the right person, and he literally has to walk away from me to get to the right person.

If you go to an URL, either by clicking a link or typing one in, and it immediately changes to another URL, that's a redirect. You just got sent over to talk to Frank. If the URL in your browser never changes, that might be an alias. You're still talking to Ron, Ronald, or Carnell. The thing about an alias, though, is that's it's pretty much transparent. You can't really tell how many different names I'll respond to, and you can't really tell which I might prefer to be called.

There's a technical side to this that is important, too.

When you come up to me at that party, imagine that I hand you my business card. If you call me by any of the aliases I recognize, that card has a big 200 printed on it. The 200 is called a response code and is sent to a browser (or spider) any time they request a valid page. The 200 response code means OK and is the flip side to the well known 404 response code, which means Not Found.

If you come up to me and call me Frank, however, the card I hand you is going to have a different number on it, usually a 301 (permanent redirect) or 302 (temporary redirect). When you get across the room, Frank is going to hand you his own 200 card. This is important stuff because those response codes tell the browser (or spider!) what is happening.

There are a ton of tools on the Internet that let you check which response code a page is returning. Run a Google search for page headers tools and pick one you like. Running your page through one of these tools will show you the Response code being returned.

The trouble with aliases is that they usually lead to duplicate content. If you come up to me once and call me Ron, then come up to me later and call me Carnell, and if I hand you a 200 card each time, you really don't know what I want to be called. Chances are, you'll just pick one at random, and since my luck always sucks, it'll probably not be the one I like best. It's the same with the search engines. If you have two domains returning the same content and both are giving a 200 code, the SE has no idea which you would prefer to be listed . . . and it really doesn't want to list both. So, it'll pick one for you. I hope your luck is better than mine.

If I 301 you over to Frank, you'll know next time not to call me Frank. He's Frank, I'm Ron. Frank will get indexed, Ron will be ignored.

Similarly, to make a closer analogy, if you walk up and call me Carnell, I can still hand you a 301 card to Ron. It's the equivalent of telling you to call me Ron. We're buddies, right? You're still talking to the same person (an alias), but the 301 response tells you which I prefer.

It's really not much more complicated than that. You have to decide which domain you want indexed (and there are advantages to both), and then make sure the other domain is sending a 301 redirect. Your new host is probably going to configure an alias, because that's easiest for him, so you need to make sure he understands the difference. You want a redirect, not an alias.

Which redirect you want is still up in the air. :(

Warning! Assuming you already have a 301 in place, if you change what you have right now, you should have a REALLY good reason for it, because that change will not be without cost. It will take time, usually a few months at least, for the search engines to readjust to what are essentially new instructions on what you want. Eventually, they'll get it right again, but your rankings will very likely suffer during the transition. Sometimes, that cost simply has to be paid, but it's not something that should be done lightly.

#19 storyspinner

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 07:59 AM

xyZed...
A.N.Onym's right, there's something funky up here.

I looked at your site too, and even changed out the "co.uk" on some of your pages for ".com" and the pages still come up with .com. So, for some reasons, you literally do have two sites. One on .com and one on .co.uk.

Both seem to have the same page rank though.

I'd question your host on this. For some reason they are duplicating the site.

#20 A.N.Onym

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:14 AM

Ron, thanks for an extensively elaborate explanation of the matter :applause:

Edited by A.N.Onym, 09 March 2007 - 08:24 AM.


#21 xyZed

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:23 AM

Many thanks for replies so far, especially Ron's which must have taken a while.

Storyspinner and A. N.Onym, here is how my hosting company explains the web parking I'm using. Hope it helps -

Parked Domains

Parked (mirrored) domains allow you to have additional domain names on your account that users can use to reach the same website as your primary domain. This is useful if you want to register multiple domains with different extensions (for example: yourdomain.com & yourdomain.co.uk). Independent email addresses can be set-up at each of the domains.

There is no limit to the number of domains that can be parked (mirrored) on your account. Additional domains can be parked on your account by specifying the domain mirroring option on the order form when either registering your new domains with us or transferring an existing domain to us.

Please note: You cannot use parked domains in your web space and have a different website displayed depending on the domain entered by the user. If you want to display different websites for your domains then you would need to have multiple accounts.

Edited by xyZed, 09 March 2007 - 08:25 AM.


#22 bwelford

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:27 AM

One tool you may find useful is WebBug. This will show you the codes the server is sending back as Ron described. Both the .com and the .co.uk versions send back 200 codes. In effect the two domains exist independently of each other.

#23 A.N.Onym

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:38 AM

I'd say that parked domains have nothing to do with what you are attempting here right now.

Both of your domains are active and one should be 301 redirected to another completely.

#24 tinkerbellchime

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:59 AM

Thanks, Ron. Now, I understand the difference. We need you in the teaching field.

#25 storyspinner

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 09:48 AM

Mirrored .. ... to me that means it's basically a duplicate site at a different domain name. Which, essentially could get you "dinged" in the SE's.

"Parked" is something different, that means you've registered the domain, but haven't done anything yet with it, usually the host will put up a "coming soon" page with adsense on it and claimed it's parked (GoDaddy does this all the time). Of course terminology could be different across the pond ... but mirroring is different than parking a domain.

Just my opinion here, in agreement with ANOnym - one of those should be redirected (301'd) over to the other to get you out of the potential for dup. content issues.

hope that helps!

#26 xyZed

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 11:26 AM

This is interesting. If it was wrong, it's been wrong for over 4 years and as far as I know I still do well in my targetted terms for "washing machine" in Google. I'm sure I remember Ammon saying it wouldn't be a problem, that Google would just try to work out which is my main one and decide to list one but not the other. I can't see how anyone including Google could see it as spamming because it's exactly the same domain name.

I've found the following correspondence from tech support at my hosting company from Nov 2003

ME: How do I unpark the co.uk one please? If Google sees both it will consider I'm spamming my site as two sites with identical content is spamming to them. They can drop one or both sites for this.


TECH SUPPORT: Your .co.uk domain is just set to mirror your .com. As far as Google is concerned they are two different sites so the .co.uk domain should get spidered eventually. You are certainly not doing anything wrong.

So it seems like you are correct in that the site is mirrored by I can't see my hosting company actually copying and hosting my entire site for free. I'm not sure exactly what they do but maybe they just set up redirects?

This issue aside though, as I'm leaving them, I take it no one can see any logical reason why I don't host all the site at the co.uk domain and point the .com to it?

#27 storyspinner

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 11:45 AM

I don't see any reason why you shouldn't, especially if all you want the global exposure. :)

Also seems like the hosting company doesn't keep up with the SE's. Although technically, you aren't doing anything wrong, to them, you are by having two exact sites up at two different domains.

Guess that's why they do hosting and not SEM! :)

#28 xyZed

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 11:46 AM

The strange thing though is I haven't noticed any problems and it's been like it for 4 years. Am I just very lucky?

I wouldn't be so presumptious as to expect anyone to read through another thread, but in case anyone's interested and in the absence of Ammon's comments (where are you Ammon?) I've found the thread where I had advice from him in 2003 where he mentions the fact that Google should just work out which is my main site and list that one.

Do UK searchers user google.com or google.co.uk?

Edited by xyZed, 09 March 2007 - 11:47 AM.


#29 A.N.Onym

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 11:50 AM

I don't think Ammon's advice contradicts what we have said.

Also, I believe G got better at serving localized results, so using a local (UK) version seems preferrable to me.

#30 storyspinner

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 11:55 AM

I guess it just really depends on who your target audience is. Is it global, or is it specific to the UK. If its the UK market you're going after, I'd agree with Ammon's advice.

However, if you were going after global exposure, the .com makes more sense, since by default people just type that. But since you have that domain and can forward it to co.uk, there's not really an issue here with the type in stuff.

It's really looking at who your target audience is, and Ammon's a guy who knows what he's talking about when it comes to the co.uk stuff :)

#31 bwelford

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 12:02 PM

There are no major problems in having both the .com and .co.uk domains live, but it may be there are minor problems.

I note the following data:
For the .com domain
PageRank: 5
Alexa ranking: not recorded
Google indexed pages: 25
Inlinks
Google: 0
Yahoo!: 944
MSN: 75

For the .co.uk domain
PageRank: 5
Alexa ranking: 318,360
Google indexed pages: 4,160
Inlinks
Google: 30
Yahoo!: 3,586
MSN: 125

For a search for 'washer help', the .co.uk domain comes up #1 in Google and MSN. The .com domain comes up #2 in Yahoo!

I'm guessing that here and there you may be losing ranking for particular keyword expressions. It's a bit like a slightly leaky washer. :)

Edited by bwelford, 09 March 2007 - 12:02 PM.


#32 A.N.Onym

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:41 PM

Li, the thing is that xyZed believes that Ammon advised to redirect to the .com domain in the quoted thread, when, in fact, he said different things in different posts.

#33 DianeV

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 09:03 PM

I'm not sure what's happening here. I think xyZed said he has *one* site with two domains. That's different from two sites, each with its own domain.

However, if you do not *redirect* one domain to the other, then the search engines (and anyone else) may see it as two sites at two different domains — which is made more confusing by the internal linkage to one or the other domain.

Whichever domain you choose, you should have one domain as the main domain, with the other pointing to it -- so that, if you go to the secondary domain, the browser shows the first domain in the address bar -- and this should include any internal site linkage, which should go to the main domain. That's the safest way to go -- and least confusing to visitors and search engines.

Edited by DianeV, 09 March 2007 - 09:05 PM.


#34 xyZed

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 06:52 AM

(bwelford)Both the .com and the .co.uk versions send back 200 codes. In effect the two domains exist independently of each other.


Many thanks for all your replies. I'm starting to see more clearly what the situation is. I understood that my .co.uk domain was redirected to .com but as a couple of you have said (including the quote above) it appears that my current host has done something which either duplicates the site or makes it appear that it's duplicated. According to bwelford's checks, it seems washerhelp.com has virtually no inbound links and is hardly spidered by Google. Therefore, it seems to me that as Ammon predicted in 2003, Google has worked out that my main site is the .co.uk site and doesn't (to me) appear to take much notice of the .com version.

The current situation is that all my pages are uploaded to .com but Google only really ranks my .co.uk site which is (apparently) a duplicate of my .com.

(bwelford)I note the following data:
For the .com domain
PageRank: 5
Alexa ranking: not recorded
Google indexed pages: 25
Inlinks
Google: 0
Yahoo!: 944
MSN: 75

For the .co.uk domain
PageRank: 5
Alexa ranking: 318,360
Google indexed pages: 4,160
Inlinks
Google: 30
Yahoo!: 3,586
MSN: 125


If this is so, then if while I'm changing hosts, if I rectify this anomaly by uploading all files to .co.uk which is the site Google takes notice of and has most of the IBL - is it a reasonable assumption that my ranking shouldn't be adversely affected?

#35 DianeV

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 07:15 AM

I understood that my .co.uk domain was redirected to .com but as a couple of you have said (including the quote above) it appears that my current host has done something which either duplicates the site or makes it appear that it's duplicated.
...
The current situation is that all my pages are uploaded to .com but Google only really ranks my .co.uk site which is (apparently) a duplicate of my .com.


I think you need to find out what's really going on here. It seems to boil down to one of two scenarios:

(1) If there are two identical websites, each with it's own domain, that's not good.
But it doesn't sound like that's what your host did, as you've mentioned redirection.

(2) If there is one website with two domains pointing to it (where one doesn't *really* redirect to the other), that needs to be fixed fast.

But it's easy to speculate (and difficult to come up with a solution) when we don't really know what's going on; all we can do it reiterate the same points.

My advice would be to find out from the host AND to FTP into your web hosting account(s) to see what's happening. If you don't know, then what's to prevent this from continuing to happen, or from happening with a new host?

As far as I know, in the presence of what appear to be two duplicate websites, Google (which, of course, has no FTP access to your sites) will likely display the most "important" of the sites in its own determination.

-----

By the way, I would add this:

If your hosting account offers mod_rewrite, you can fix all this yourself. Personally, I'd much prefer do it myself than to depend on a web host or anyone else and then to assume that they'd done it right.

Cre8 moderator Ron Carnell wrote a very clear explanation about this at High Rankings (scroll down in the thread at the link below); as well, some of the code you need is in that thread:
http://www.highranki...?showtopic=5644

There are other issues, as well. For instance, it's important that *either* the "www" or the "non-www" version of your domain be the main one ... not both. If you can access your site via both, then you have a second issue to fix. (See Google engineer Matt Cutts' post: SEO advice: url canonicalization.)

It may be a bit of a hurdle, but once you learn to do this, you'll be able to extricate your sites from these types of issues.

It's like what we say about exercise: No pain, no gain.
LOL.

Edited by DianeV, 12 March 2007 - 07:19 AM.


#36 xyZed

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 04:04 AM

I thank you all for your time helping me. I was really hoping someone would stick their neck out and comment on my last closing paragraph because I need to move hosts ASAP -

The current situation is that all my pages are uploaded to .com but Google only really ranks my .co.uk site which is (apparently) a duplicate of my .com. If this is so, then while I'm changing hosts, if I rectify this anomaly by uploading all files to .co.uk (which is the site Google takes notice of and has most of the IBL) is it a reasonable assumption that my ranking shouldn't be adversely affected?


I realise people may be cautious about advising something that could potentially cause a site to drop but I need to do this today and I can't see any logical reason why I shouldn't move my site to the .co.uk domain which is my main one. However, I'm still very cautious about changing things (even though my insticts tell me I should)

I think the issue has been over complicated by my initial assumption that my .co.uk domain was redirected to the .com site but people in the course of this thread seem to have established that both sites are returning 200 OK results and both sites exist, therefore I only need one and it should be the .co.uk.

The results of this thread have indicated to me that my .com and .co.uk sites have been duplicated by my current host, which is supposed to be bad, and many SEO's still recoil in horror at the thought but Ammon said in 2003 that it isn't a problem, Google will just work out which site is the main one and drop the other from its listings. This seems to have come to pass, and for the 4 years or more that I've unwittingly had a .com and .co.uk site with exact duplicate content I've enjoyed excellent Google results.

Now that I am changing hosts, if I delete the pages on .com and point the domain to .co.uk and then upload the pages to .co.uk surely this will not cause any Google problems because Google only appears to rate the .co.uk site? I can only go on my gut feeling and pure logic, but I know in this game it's nowhere near enough at times ;-) which is why I'm asking you guys who are the SEO experts and I'm holding out for a more definate answer.

Using Google Webmaster tools I see the following -

washerhelp.com

Indexed pages in your site - 24
Pages that link to your site - "about 30" (most of which are from washerhelp.co.uk!)
Number of pages crawled per day - 134 average - 10
Your page with the highest PageRank - (is a totally insignificant page)

washerhelp.co.uk

Indexed pages in your site - 4,030
Pages that link to your site - about 30 (I don't understand why this is the same as for washerhelp.com. Washerhelp.co.uk has lots of links including one from Wikepedia)
Number of pages crawled per day - 746 284
Your page with the highest PageRank - http://www.washerhelp.co.uk/ (home page as it should be)

Does this indicate that the .com version can be deleted and pointed to the .co.uk site and that it should not have any significant effect on SERP's?

Many thanks

#37 DianeV

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 04:11 AM

xyZed, I've already addressed the major issue -- which is that you don't seem to know for certain how the website(s) and domains were set up.

Lacking that information, we could speculate forever.

I believe that you can point more than one domain name at a single web page and have the return the 200 okay statement. That would mean that there are two domains, and neither has been redirected. It does not verify that there are two websites, to my knowledge.

Barring going to your host to see how they've set it up, and actually FTPing into your web hosting account(s), we're still left at guessing.

Edited by DianeV, 13 March 2007 - 04:12 AM.


#38 xyZed

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 04:41 AM

Thanks Diane. I thought it had been established that there were duplicate sites. If not then far enough.

I'm struggling to understand what difference it makes how it's set up. If it's 301'd, redirected or totally duplicate, isn't the fact that Google takes little notice of the .com domain, it realiseds the .co.uk is the real site, and all IBL's are to the .co.uk domain all that matters?

Thanks for your patience with this.

Edited by xyZed, 13 March 2007 - 04:42 AM.


#39 DianeV

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 05:02 AM

Thing is, you can fix it if you can understand it.

Search engines tend not to like duplicate pages.

The following are more or less the setups you can have:

Website1 <= Domain1 (one domain pointing to site)

Website1 <= Domain1 and Domain2 (both domains pointing to site)

Website1 <= Domain1 <= Domain2 (Domain1 points to site; Domain2 redirects to Domain1)

Website1 <= Domain1
Website2 <= Domain2

Without knowing whether there are one or two sites, or one site with two domains pointing to it, you're rather casting about in the dark for a solution.

Once you have the answer to that, then you can make you determination about which domain you'd prefer to emphasize. But it will be based on knowledge, not guessing, and you will know the structure and setup of the website(s). That is the safest way to go, so that you don't make matters worse.



(Also: given that you mentioned that some of your site's internal links use one domain in the URLs, for all you know, your visitors think they're going from one site to the other. If this was my site, I'd use relative links rather than hard-coded http links.)

#40 Ron Carnell

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 11:33 AM

The current situation is that all my pages are uploaded to .com but Google only really ranks my .co.uk site which is (apparently) a duplicate of my .com. If this is so, then while I'm changing hosts, if I rectify this anomaly by uploading all files to .co.uk (which is the site Google takes notice of and has most of the IBL) is it a reasonable assumption that my ranking shouldn't be adversely affected?

Where you upload your pages makes absolutely no difference to the search engines or to anyone else. You're throwing all your pages in the same bucket. The bucket just has two different names. But it's still the same bucket.

Google is favoring washerhelp.co.uk right now because that's where ALL of your internal links point. People can and I'm sure do go to washerhelp.com, but they can't stay there very long. The minute they click on a link, they're whisked to washerhelp.co.uk. Ergo, most of your inbound links naturally point to washerhelp.co.uk and I'm sure, if you checked your logs, most of Googlebot's time on your server is spent indexing washerhelp.co.uk. As Ammon said years passed, Google has figured out that's your "main" site.

There is nothing inherently wrong with having duplicate content. Which, again, is why Ammon said what he said. Most people into SEO are like horse trainers getting ready for the Kentucky Derby and know that a lot of great races are won by no more than a nose. With that kind of competition, every little detail matters greatly. Duplicate content can weaken your horse's race, sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little. For example, in your situation, every single incoming link you have to washerhelp.com is completely wasted right now from an SEO perspective. You might as well not have those links as far as the search engines are concerned. They don't count. If you configured your sites as many here are recommending, with a 301 redirect, you could make those links count again. However, if you're already ranking well, if your horse is already running a great race, chances are those few links wouldn't help you much any way. Ammon knew that, so he kept it simple.

If you want to reverse what you have right now, you won't do it by changing where you upload the files. You can only do it by changing all of your internal links to point to washerhelp.com instead of washerhelp.co.uk. It is those internal links that is cluing the search engine in to what you want.

Doing that, however, would be a major disaster for you!

Right now, you have a handful of inbound links pointing to washerhelp.com that don't help washerhelp.co.uk to rank well. It might hurt you a little, but only a little.

The flip side of that is that most of your inbound links are currently pointing to washerhelp.co.uk, and none of those are going to help washerhelp.com rank well. If you change all your internal links to tell Google you now want to rank washerhelp.com, Google will eventually do it. But without many inbound links pointing to washerhelp.com, it's probably NOT going to rank it very highly. You're going to shoot yourself in the foot big time.

Rule of thumb: The domain with the most links is the one the search engines is going to rank well. The other one, because it is duplicate content, will be ignored. The only way you can change that is not by uploading to a different domain, but by changing all those inbound links. You can do that with a 301 redirect (eliminating the duplicate content), you can do it by writing everyone to change their links to your (yea, like that ever works), or you can do it by starting all over again and waiting for people to link to where you want (as determined by your own internal links).

Ammon's advice was good. Without a deeper understanding of WHY it was good, however, you'd probably be ill prepared to deviate from it at this late stage. Yes, you can switch to washerhelp.com if you want. But Ammon's advice no longer applies. The situation has changed and you need to do it a different way. Quite a bit different, in fact. That's essentially what everyone in this thread has been trying to tell you.



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