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The mother of my girlfriend has a contract with a company that provides her website and domain. The contract costs 360€ per year and it expires on May 1st. The website and domain will be probably taken down by that date. She doesn't want to renew the contract because the company doesn't fulfill her change wishes and because it's to expensive in her eyes.

The company owns the website including the domain. She has the copyright rights on the texts of the website. The company offers to sell her the domain for 180€, she doesn't want to pay that.

Our priority is to keep the Google ranking. Will she lose it when we create a new website with the same text content on a new domain without redirecting the old domain to the new domain? (The company probably won't be willing to redirect.)

I know that Google has a penalty for duplicate content, but what will happen when we go online after the old domain disappears? What are our options?

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    You'll be essentially starting from scratch. But since you have no control over the old domain it's the reality of the situation. – John Conde Mar 5 '17 at 17:01
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    Catch 22... because if she doesn't pay for it... she pays for it in the long run. Domains obtain authority and without passing that authority using a redirect your starting again and will take many years or months depending on the activity on the site. – Simon Hayter Mar 5 '17 at 17:11
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    Sometimes you just have to learn not to worry about trivial things. If the site is small and not very old, it will not likely cost you much to start over. Any link value will be lost of course. My concern would be that the existing site actually dies and disappears from the search engines completely if you are not going to renew. If this is the case, then set-up your new site and do not worry about any loss. You will be starting over, however, you may not actually be losing much to worry about. Cheers!! – closetnoc Mar 5 '17 at 21:10
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    Move to a new domain now, so that you at least have a short time of redirects. – John Mueller Mar 7 '17 at 19:28
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    Never ever ever let a company buy your domain for you. Now they will use it for ransom. – Trae Abell Mar 14 '17 at 12:01
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Will she lose [Google ranking] when we create a new website with the same text contents on a new domain without redirecting the old domain to the new domain?

Yes, you will lose your Google rankings. You are creating a brand new website on a brand-new domain.

You should consider purchasing the domain from the hosting company.

  1. If the old domain has been around for some time, it will have gained Domain Authority (DA), "a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERP)."

You can check your DA here: https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/

  1. Any links that you have gained will be broken once the old site dies. This is bad for SEO, but really bad for customers/visitors and bad for the web.

If you don't want to spend the money to secure your domain, you should purchase a new domain immediately and 301 permanently redirect your old content to the new site.

That way you will get the benefit of the redirects for a short time which will boost your ranking efforts.

Also keep an eye on the domain after it lapses. It may come back on the market in which case it might be possible to purchase for less than 180€.

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