Transferring some pages to completely new site, SEO considerations

As my company is growing, so is our website. The company management has decided to create a completely new website for one aspect of our business, that has been featured on the main site for years. We get high visibility on Google and most of other SE's on the search phrases that are important to us for this part of business. As this is my first time dealing with something like this, I am not sure how to proceed.

I don't want to create duplicate pages and duplicate content, as I know that is not a good idea. So, I will have to submit my new site to the SE's, and remove duplicate pages of the main site. But, then I will lose the search engine positions that I was so happy about. If I temporarily redirect old pages to the pages on the new site, is Google going to tolerate it?

Thanks.
Erie_LakerAsked:
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Bernard S.Connect With a Mentor CTOCommented:
The redirect 301, if done as it should, would solve your problem... note howvere that you find one way to redirect each old page to its single corresponding new page
Neither Google nor other will penalize you for redirect 301, since this is the correct thing to do, and since it helps them to avoid duplicate content

However, you need to be sure that... the new site is indexed (!) so your old site should have somewhere a link (not a redirect) to the new site

Once the new site will be in place, AND that you have placed at least one link from the old site to the new one,
- create all the relevant new pages
- create a sitemap of the new site, then upload it to your new site and also submit it to Google webmaster tools: this does not make your site indexed, but IF/when your site is indexed its spidering will be sped up
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freshcontentCommented:
Erie_Laker - I would suggest that if you move your pages from one website URL to another, you are putting your ranking in Google & Bing's search results at a VERY HIGH risk.

I would suggest that you copy your product pages over to the new site, and on the new site make the product pages "no-index, follow" to the search engine bots.

Then, I would test out one of the pages that was of a lower priority to you, and do the following:

1. Do a 301 redirect on your "old" website of that ONE PAGE, and have that 301 redirect point to that ONE page on your "new" site.  
2. Watch your search engine rankings for the top search terms for that page over time.
3. Plan your migration of other pages based on your tolerance for losing/gaining rank that the above test shows you.
4. I think that you should watch your first test here for at least 1 month, preferably 3 months to validate what happens with your traffic before moving it on a more site-wide basis.

Bottom line - it is a VERY risky move to change URLs for high ranking pages.

I wouldn't do it unless I KNEW that I was one of the few results Google/Bing could produce for that search term, and even then I would TEST, TEST, TEST!

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Erie_LakerAuthor Commented:
OK, fibo, that is pretty much what I was going to do, but wanted to check with you guys, cos this really would be too big thing to screw up.

The old site will have number of links to different pages on the new site, and vice versa. I have created all the pages on the new site, and am now looking for the program to create a sitemap because I don't want to spend way too much time trying to create it manually.

Now, as far as 301 redirection, I am not really familiar with .htaccess but is it ok if I do it in PHP?

<?
Header( "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" );
Header( "Location: http://www.newsite.com/newpage.php" );
?> 

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Bernard S.CTOCommented:
1 - You say "The old site will have number of links to different pages on the new site, and vice versa."
Well, this is a no-no! You should not keep on new pages links to old pages that will redirect to new pages!

2 - Sitemap: I am a happy user of GSiteCrawler at http://gsitecrawler.com/
- it has lots of great features
- it is free, although you can donate if you like the program (I did)

3 - your code:
- although it might look smarter, I suggest you do not use <? (will not work on some sites, or have unexpected results) but systematically use <?php
- I would place an exit; just to make things clearer
<?php
header( "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" );
header( "Location: http://www.newsite.com/newpage.php" );
exit;
?> 

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kuzmanovicbCommented:
Best solution for apache servers is to use .htaccess file, lots of reasons like images gets redirected, not just page search.
Create a file named ".htaccess" if You don't already have one in root directory of Your site (and don't forget to put dot before htaccess part!)
Put this code in the .htaccess file, change www.newdomain.com to Your new domain name and upload it. Delete "www." if Your site doesnt use it.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !www.newdomain.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.newdomain.com/$1 [L,R=301]

Best Regards
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Erie_LakerAuthor Commented:
"1 - You say "The old site will have number of links to different pages on the new site, and vice versa."
Well, this is a no-no! You should not keep on new pages links to old pages that will redirect to new pages!"

NO NO NO, that is not what I had in mind! I meant the (other) links between the new and the old site, not between the pages that needed to be transferred!
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Bernard S.CTOCommented:
NO NO NO
B-) OK then. I was not sure this was clear enough
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kuzmanovicbCommented:
good luck
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