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I Blew It Initially.  Beginner's Mistake.  But, It Cost Me Big-Time.  Don't Make the Same Mistake.

What not to do - duplicate content

I had my website all ready to go.  It wasn't finished, but I had enough to publish.  Excellent!  Being the stickler that I am, I had titled each of the webpages appropriately.  Each significant word was capitalized.

Later, I learned that Google prefers lowercase letters.  So, I went back, changed all the links to all-lowercase, and then re-uploaded.  Mistake!  I had already had my website indexed by Google.  Google indexed it with the capitalized versions.  Unlike many directory structures, website URLs are case sensitive.  So, I accidentally duplicated my entire site.

I re-submitted the sitemap and Google re-crawled.  A pity.  A simple mistake cost me rank position.

The moral of this story?  Don't duplicate your content.  If you learn something new, it is safest to apply it from that point forward if you don't anticipate all the ramifications of your changes.  Don't go back and retroactively make site structure changes until you understand exactly what you are doing.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

If you do find yourself in a position where you have links pointing to pages on your site that no longer exist, you can use a 301 redirect to fix the problem.  In the root directory of your website's server, you should have a file called ".htaccess" (without the quotes).  If not, open notepad and you can create one by saving the file as ".htaccess" with no further extension.

Once you have an .htaccess file, you can copy this code into it (if your server uses Apache):

Redirect permanent /OLDFILE.html
Redirect 301 /OLDFILE.html

If you already have code in your .htaccess file, skip down a line before entering the code above.  Of course, change OLDFILE to the name of the file you want to redirect.  Change YOURSITE to the correct URL for your website.  And, change NEWFILE to the name of the file you want to redirect to.

For more on redirects and different methods of redirection, you can go here.  For other things you can do to make your website better, visit our department on Website Improvements.


Copyright © 2010, Issachar Knowledge, LLC: What Not to Do: Duplicate Your Content


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