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Launching new website - stopping Google indexing old one?


A friend of mine has a motoring reviews website on Wordpress.

He has always struggled to get traffic (no pun intended) to his site.

I have designed and rebranded a new website for him and built it in Webflow. It also has a new domain.

He is going to continue to populate his old Wordpress website alongside the new one with the same content - at least until we start to drive traffic to the new one.

The reason being is that it has years of car reviews on it and if what I’ve done with the new site doesn’t get any more traffic, we will just shut it down and he has his old site to fall back on.

How would you go about keeping two sites with the same content?

My thoughts are to update the robots.txt on the old site to stop search engines indexing any new content. That way, the only new content that is being indexed is on the new site. As far as Google et al is concerned, there is only one version of the new content - not duplicates.

Will that be OK or could it still harm the ranking of the new site?

If so, why, and what would you do in this scenario?

Thanks in advance!!!

Here is my site Read-Only: LINK
(how to share your site Read-Only link)

Great questions, @mikey2424 and thank you so much for asking!

Typically having two sites for the same business will end up causing a drop in search rankings across both domains as you’re effectively distributing domain authority across the two. There’s a high likelihood of duplicate content errors getting flagged by search engines, and confusion in the local area if there are two websites for the same business. It can also get tricky managing content across multiple web properties.

If possible, I would recommend moving those reviews to the new domain/website within Webflow as a collection list of reviews. You’ll also want to utilize 301 re-direct for the old page links to go to new pages. You could use a tool like Screamingfrog to determine all of the page URLs from the old site which need to be directed to new pages on the new site (or merged to specific sections on the new site).

What you can do once the new site is ready and all of the relevant content is ready, is point the old custom domain to Webflow, and set your new domain as the default domain so that traffic is appropriately re-directed.

We have several SEO related articles available on the Webflow blog for your review as well which can be helpful in this transition process. The checklist related articles have been very helpful for many of our customers.

I hope that this is helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Hi Waldo.

Thanks very much for your lengthy response. I am going through the blog articles now and will come back to you if I have any more questions.

Thanks again

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