Google SEO Mistakes! Advice – Do Not Duplicate Content!

Although it would be nice for www.tom-fogarty.com to feature highly in google searches – for terms such as “web designer” and “web developer” – in reality it doesn’t.  But it would be nice to feature highly for people searching for “tom fogarty”, and this has been my goal for some time (ego-maniac that I am).

Alas, it seems that this is quite a popular, and dare I say – common – name, especially in Ireland and America. Also there was a rather famous guitarist in a band called Creedence Clearwater Revival who went by the name of Tom Fogerty, who also scuppers my chances somewhat.  And my domain name has a hyphen in it.

At first I was languishing on page 3, but gradually month-by-month I started to creep up the rankings till I got to rank 8 on page 1. And there I stayed.

Then recently I decided to revamp the site in order to try and give it a boost in popularity. For the sake of reference I wanted to keep the old version of the site, so I set up a sub-domain (archive.tom-fogarty.com) and stuck it there.

That was 2 weeks ago, then today I find Google has dropped my main site in favour of the archive version!  Although the irony is that  it has climbed to number 7 in the rankings..

What does this tell us about the way Google rankings work?

Google does not like to duplicate content (i.e if you have 2 different domains with similar content – layout aside – Google will make an arbitrary decision to drop one site).

Google trusts old site versions rather than new ones (if duplication does occur).

This has been a bit of a pain in the arse. I’ve had to block access to the “archive” folder using robots.txt – in order to stop Google spiders crawling this directory. I’ve had to resubmit my site to Google for indexing (along with an updated sitemap). And I’ve changed meta titles and descriptions of the archive pages, in order to make it clear that it for reference only – not my preferred indexed site.  Now I just have to wait and see what happens.

Hopefully this will be of help to someone out there.

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