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How do I have 2 identical web pages but with different branding without having duplicate content?

Posted on 2008-10-09
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Last Modified: 2013-12-08
I am a realtor and our MLS (multiple listing service) will not let us post a url that has any personal branding.  I use Dreamweaver.  I've developed a single property website and I have one copy with a non-branded template and a duplicate site with a branded template (so people can contact me).  I want to post the non-branded site in the MLS and then post the branded site at locations that will direct prospects to me ( Realtor.com, Zillow, Facebook, etc.)  What I am concerned about is being tagged by the search engines for having duplicate content.  Is there any way to use a script or php to have a different template applied based upon the url that is entered?  Or something else that will solve my dilemma?
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Question by:mtoc
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Expert Comment

by:edster9999
ID: 22680591
Most search engines only penalise for duplicate content on the same site.
Think about it.... all the news sites would be penalised for carrying the same world news stories (most have the same text as it is feed from agents like Routers)
The template does not matter as it is generally ignored by search engines - they are text hungry and do not really look at graphics and layout.
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Author Comment

by:mtoc
ID: 22680847
Thanks for the quick response.  Ok - that makes sense but the challenge is that they are on the same site but with domains pointing to the different directories.  By hosting the non-branded site on my website, I get lots of hits which I believe will build my recognition with search engines.  But I also need to have the branded pages on my site too.  Am I making it too complex?
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sodamnmerk earned 1000 total points
ID: 22681167
If I'm reading your question correctly, you have one hosting account with multiple domains and one as primary.  The primary domain is linked to (or redirected to) by all the other domain names?

If this is the case, search engines will rank each domain as a different website, regardless if all the files sit next to eachother on a server.

So, if you have...
http://coolhouses.com (un-branded) in folder /htdocs/www/
http://reallycoolhouses.com (branded) in folder /htdocs/www/really/
http://notsocoolhouses.com (branded) in folder /htdocs/www/not/

Where reallycoolhouses.com and notsocoolhouses.com point to or redirect to the coolhouses.com location.  You're fine!

If you have
http://coolhouses.com
http://coolhouses.com/really/
http://coolhouses.com/not/

Then you are not fine, and you are in an instance where google and other search engines will see duplicate text on a single site.
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Assisted Solution

by:edster9999
edster9999 earned 1000 total points
ID: 22681302
Most search engines (Google included) will penalise you if you have the same pages onthe same web address (see example in comment directly above)
But most do not penalise you if the page is the same but on different sites even if they are on the same server.
This does get you bad points if you go mad like having hundreds of sites with the same content.

BUT - If you have multiple sites on the same box and they link to each other then this will get you penalised.  It was used early on when people found out that google rated you by the number of links.  They would generate a thousand sites and point them all at one.  That one would flot to the top.  Google started checking IP addresses and ranges at this point and hit some of these people very hard.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mtoc
ID: 31504740
Sorry I delayed in the response.  Thanks for the piggy back answers. They both helped.
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