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I want to ensure that I get the proper SEO benefits in the following example:

I was thinking of pointing example.com/sixnations (the Six Nations is a rugby tournament from feb-march) to refer to either /sixnations2013 or /sixnations2014 depending on the time of the year.

If someone visits /sixnations between Jan-Jul, it's likely they're more interested in the current year, whereas if it's between Jul-Dec, they'll probably prefer next years.

I can 301/canonical, but I don't know if rankings will take a hit when it switches over, or something. My current plan is that /sixnations will mirror the content of the "proper" place (eg /sixnations in the url still) but I can "hard" redirect and change the URL if necessary too.

301/canonical, or 302 with same URL, or redirect entirely?

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"or 302 with same url" - any kind of redirect will result in a different URL. – w3dk Dec 29 '13 at 14:49
up vote 4 down vote accepted

From a SEO perspective, you should focus on delivering the content for which the users are searching. I would take this opportunity to develop all kinds of great content that can drive traffic from search engines with a variety of search queries.

On the example.com/sixnationspage, you could develop content describing the tournament with highlights from past years, major sponsors, location, and other relevant information. Then, from that page you can link to both /sixnations2013 and /sixnations2014 with optimized anchor text. Each of those pages would have their own unique information about the year's event.

This way, if a user queries "Six Nations Tournament" they may get the more authoratative /sixnations page with a description of the tournament and other useful information. Whether they're interested in this year or next year's event, clearly displayed links will make it easy for them to find that information.

If a user queries "2013 Six Nations Tournament", then Google may find it more appropriate to serve up the /sixnations2013 page because it matches the user's query a little closer. If the content is good on that page, then it's beneficial to the user because they're getting the information they want with fewer clicks. The same would go for /sixnations2014 and every year after.

This method is more of a silo structure where you have a strong, authoritative page about a single topic, then child pages which are subtopics. It's great for building content.

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I really like this solution and I don't know why I didn't think of it first. I suppose for the /sixnations page I can also choose which year to display more prominently, eg "Current Tournament: 2013", "Did you want next years/View history". Many thanks – paimoe Jan 1 '14 at 3:32

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