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New Content Management System Seo Concerns
Posted 30 August 2006 - 12:59 PM
I can't find info to directly address this concern. I work for a publisher of health info websites. We are transitioning a group of 25 sites (25 different domains) into one content management system. The content of our sites is original and currently ranks very well for many target keyphrases. We don't want to mess with this, obviously. Our new content management system will preserve the same URLs for each page so that's not the problem. All sites are already on one IP address so that is not new.
So here is the problem. In the new system, if you click on a topic that was originally on one of our other websites, the article will appear in the wrapper of the current website (at that current domain) instead of linking over to the other site. We're thinking this will make for a better user experience. For example, if you're on a women's health site and you click on uterine cancer, you don't have to link over to the cancer site; instead you stay on the women's health site at that same domain. But from the search engine perspective, I'm afraid they will see it as our creating tons of new duplicate content at different URLs. In each article, we will include a message and a link to where it was originally published as a way to address the concern. And we're not trying to get ranks for these duplicate pages. My concern is that search engines will somehow see our sites as primarily duplicate content sites and throw out some or all of our sites.
From what I've heard in SEO circles, we should be concerned more about the user experience and work with that in mind rather than worrying about search engines, but does anyone see a big risk here? We already have some articles duplicated on more than one of our sites and so far, the whole site is not penalized, from what I can tell. The original version gets the rank and that's great. But I'm afraid this huge increase in "duplication" could trigger a penalty, if there is such a thing.
We don't want to disallow robots from the duplicated pages because we want people to be able to find what they need on our on-site search feature, which uses Google search.
Our current plan is to start slowly and watch the results but there will be some things we have to decide sooner than later.
Can anyone speak to this issue from experience? Or does anyone have suggestions? I appreciate your help so much.
Posted 30 August 2006 - 02:11 PM
Posted 30 August 2006 - 07:11 PM
Thanks for your response. I didn't mean to imply frames or anything like that. I just mean it will have the URL and masthead of the current site, rather than taking them to the original article on the original domain.
Posted 30 August 2006 - 07:57 PM
Risk of what?
The worst that will happen is those particular pages won't show up in the engines for the phrases they might otherwise show up for, because the original content may instead.
It's not a problem at all.
Posted 30 August 2006 - 09:12 PM
Posted 30 August 2006 - 09:31 PM
Huh? How does that relate to the question at hand?
Posted 30 August 2006 - 10:40 PM
"All sites are already on one IP address so that is not new."
So In my opinion on a shared server the domain name and absolute urls become vitally important.
Posted 31 August 2006 - 08:09 AM
Back to the original question, and I hope I fully understand what you're asking healthSEO. I think I do, but let me lay it out to make sure:
- You currently have multiple domains that you're now looking to pull into a single domain.
- Your current multiple domains are ranking pretty well and you don't want to mess that up.
- The new Central Domain is going to be pulling most or all of its content from the old multiple domains.
If so, I have one question. A question that can turn out to be quite important. Is the new Central Domain a brand new domain that was not being used before or had any links pointing to it?
The issues, as I see them:
- You're going to end up with some content duplication since the content of each of the multiple domains is now going to also appear on the new central domain. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean you're going to incur some sort of Penalty. Just that one or the other is going to show up in the SERPs.
- Your new domain may have to make its way through Google's Aging Delay before its pages start to rank well.
- You need to come up with a method to eventually migrate the link popularity of all of those multiple domains into a single location.
Next, several months down the road once the new Central Domain has emerged from Google's Aging Delay I would change those 302's over to be 301's. It will take some time, but eventually this will begin to transfer the link popularity of each of the old sites over to the new site. At this point, the pages from the new central domain should start replacing those of the older domains in the SERPs.
Fair warning: This is not something for the faint of heart. And everything is not going to happen overnight. Put it in your plan that there are going to be some times when you see some really funky things happening, because you're going to have to give the search engines some time to catch up and understand what you're doing.
If, and only if, the new Central Domain has already been established and emerged from Google's Aging Delay would I start out with 301 redirects. It's an important distinction. You don't want the redirects to be 301s if the new domain is still being filtered by the aging delay. If you do, you're going to end up seeing all of the old pages drop out of the SERPs, but not be replaced by the new location.
FWIW, I agree with the general premise and the reasons why having everything in a central location is better than the alternative. So if it were me I'd be consolidating things also. Just make sure you're going into it with your eyes open and that everybody understands there are going to be some ups and downs for the next several months.
Posted 31 August 2006 - 11:37 AM
What I see is that they're going with a new content management system, one that will
Rather than consolidating things all into one domain, what I'm getting from it is that they want to use this new CMS to publish content that's already available at one URL (and will still be available at that URL) but to also make it available through one (or more) of the other sites -- and no matter which domain is serving the "centralized" content, the address bar will show that domain:
- They need to do something "automagical" to exclude the "republished" pages so that only the "original" would be indexed (which, I'll readily admit, is way beyond my abilities to code, but you could likely do in your sleep with one frontal lobe tied behind your back), OR
- Don't worry about it, since there isn't such a thing as a "duplicate content penalty." Simply let all the pages get indexed wherever they may be, and let the SEs sort out which copy they want to display in the SERPs. It may be the "original" or it may be one of the "reprints." If it's the original, they're good to go. If it's one of the "reprints" it will have a link to the original, so they should still be good to go, OR
- Stop worrying about which specific domain displays in the address bar when someone views the content and just link as seems natural to the original page location.
Posted 31 August 2006 - 12:01 PM
Torka is right that no URLs will be lost. There will just be new pages with duplicate content. It's still possible that we will just link to the original URL rather than having it appear on the site they're on. But we would prefer the method where it appears on the current site, only IF there is no risk to search ranks for the original article. It sounds like people are feeling confident that there is no risk of that as long as we do the link back to the original. I think that's what we'll do.
We don't want to block robots from the new pages for complex reasons but thanks for the idea.
Posted 31 August 2006 - 12:18 PM
Basically, these articles will be duplicate content.
While there is no duplicate content penalty -- meaning that neither the site that published the original nor the sites that published the reprint will get downgraded or anything like that -- there is a duplicate content filter.
What that means is that -- eventually -- the SEs may pick only one version of the article to display and filter out from the results what they consider to be duplicates. The only thing is, you don't have any control over which version they'll pick. Could be it will be the "original." But it might well be one of the "reprints," especially if the reprint happens to be on a site that for whatever reason is considered more "authoritative" than the original.
What that might mean is that the "original" article would not appear in the SERPs at all. In it's place, though, might be one of the reprints, which would have a link in it pointing back to the original. That's what I meant when I said you could be good to go in that situation -- the original article (and its associated site) would still be accessible throught that link.
Again, because this is a page and search term specific filter, not a penalty, there should be no negative effect on articles and other pages that aren't duplicated.
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