I only found one question similar to mine, but it is for Yahoo search. Mine is regarding Google. My question is also a little extensive.

Background: I created a website for a client. In order to test it and check the client was happy before publishing, I would upload the website (from VS) to my Azure hosting account via Publish. When it was complete, I would publish to mine, and then I would log into my client and publish the exact same website. They were identical. The dot. Every white space was identical.

My client has his domain from GoDaddy and paid for the extra service of search engine visibility. I had submitted his website to Google and told himto wait a few days before finding it.

To my suprise, I found my website on Google because it came up with the same description. Im not confused as to why it was on Google, but I am confused as to why my webiste was significally higher in the rankings. I think mine was on page 2 and his was on 4 or 5.

Why and how did this happen? Some information:

  1. It's one project on VS that was published to two different hosting accounts. So it cant be anything to do with some settings or hidden files. Also same keywords, text, alt tags etc. The ranking would be the same when it came to these kind of things.

  2. Neither of us have an SSL.

  3. Both websites are hosted on the same company (Azure) on different accounts.

  4. Both our domains (on separate accounts) are on GoDaddy

  5. He pays for extra for SE visibility. I dont.
  6. His domain name includes key words searched. Mine is my own portfolio so no relevent key words to his company within the domain name.

Question: Why is my website significally higher in ranking?

In addition: I have since updated some text in the website description, as I noticed on his, Google was showing the description with a typo. I fixed this. I have also updated my own website to something completely new. It's a new project so even things like meta data would not be left behind.

However, Google was STILL showing the typo in the description to his website (so basically Google hadn't been updated) and my website still ranked higher than his.

I went to HIS goDaddy and resubmitted the website. The typo hassince dissapeared. However my website is still showing and ranking higher than his. Although I must say now he is only one behind me now. (i.e if Im number 12 he is number 13 and on the same page) I cant do a submit because I never did one in the first place. So how did Google find my website originally, and when will it update? It's been about 3 weeks.

To clarify: my website now is "Coming soon" with no content. And I published this on a new hosting account (just moved over the domain). So I cannot do any redirect, 303, or anything else because that copy of his website on my account no longer exists


2 Answers 2


You need to set rel=canonical on all of your pages pointing to the pages on his domain. Or you have to 301 redirect the pages on your test site to his. You should also set the header to the pages on your site to NOINDEX and you should be doing this from now on when developing and testing sites for your clients so that Google doesn't index your demos anymore.

I've started to believe that Google has a way of determining the owner/developer of a new website. Whether it be through DNS/Server/IP or whois. Whatever it is I think they are doing this now. The reason I think this is that as my sites have gotten more successful in the past, my new sites on new domains are immediately crawled and indexed with Google and Google sends them traffic. They're sending me traffic without even me getting any links pointing to my new domain. This never happened in the past and it's happening at an increasing rate. I think this is similar to the author trust signal that they're using in that if they identify that an article author is trustworthy they will rank much higher regardless of what news site they are on. So I think they have some sort of owner/developer trust authority signal as well. There is a good chance that this is what has caused your demo site to rank above his. Your demo site domain/server just has more trust with Google than your client's own brand website. Google also discovered your demo site before his so it's hitting his site as the duplicate/plagiarised version. There are things you can do to fix this though and out of ethics alone, you do need to.

301 redirect NOINDEX (NOFOLLOW) Rel=Canonical

You can also set a followed link on all of your demo pages pointing to his domain. Google should see that as a signal that his domain is the valid version.

  • My website with all his content, tags, images etc no longer exists. My domain now has a "Coming soon" kind of message. Like I said, there is no mention of his company key words or anything yet it's still showing on Google. Page names, description. everything
    – Chillin'
    Mar 2, 2018 at 14:05
  • You should still probably take all of the URLs that are indexed on your site and 301 them to his site or add rel=canonical to those pages. Google has your site indexed still and it needs to know that his site needs to be indexed instead. Google won't deindex your demo pages for a long time until it recrawls all of your pages and realizes that your site is not coming back. You have to take a more active approach to getting the demo deindexed.
    – Michael d
    Mar 2, 2018 at 14:07
  • my new sites on new domains are immediately crawled and indexed with Google This has been happening for 6 years now. Google can find new sites immediately, crawl, and return users within minutes sometimes. Google does this because not doing so is to miss valuable trend results otherwise. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Mar 2, 2018 at 14:13
  • Google will eventually remove pages that no longer exist, but you have to wait until they are re-crawled. After re-crawl, Google usually removes them within 24 hours. With 410 Gone status, Google usually removes immediately after crawl. It may take several weeks if there are many pages to get Googlebot to come back to all of them. I don't think that 301 redirects or canonicals would speed up the process, Googlebot has to re-crawl for those too. As far as canonical tags, Google is reporting in Search Console that it isn't honoring those much of the time, so they are far less reliable. Mar 2, 2018 at 14:13
  • I cant edit my old website because it doesnt exist any more. So, I cant add no redirecr and no canonical. The only thing that exists is the domain. Even though Google is showing a page in a result with some text, clicking the link shows the page cannot be displayed, or if its showing my index, it just shows my "Coming soon". It's also hosted on a different account so I cant do anything there either.
    – Chillin'
    Mar 2, 2018 at 14:19

What's the point on having the same web in two different domains? You are generating duplicate content. While you are working on a site, you should prevent it from being indexed.

Your site is ranking higher cause Google discover it first. You should do one of the following:

  • The purpose was for testing. My website was blank at the time so I published it to mine so that I could check it and I could give my client MY url so that he could check everything first. When he was happy, I would publish it to his (and then remove it from mine)
    – Chillin'
    Mar 2, 2018 at 14:04
  • Pages in development should be blocked from searchers in order to prevent what just happened to you. Use 301 redirect or canonical and everything will be fine.
    – Emirodgar
    Mar 2, 2018 at 14:27
  • I cant use these because that version of the website doesnt exist. I re-published on a different host. the only thing the same is the url. Do you mean on my new website?
    – Chillin'
    Mar 2, 2018 at 14:32

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