I have a free wordpress site that I'm looking to upgrade to an actual domain.

Wordpress puts a 301 redirect from the free site to the new domain but doesn't redirect any other page but the homepage (unless you get on the $60 a month plan and use a plugin). I'm not to fussed with this however, I'm concerned about duplicate content when the old site redirects to the new one. I understand that without the 301's, i will lose the inbound links to those pages(if any).

I'm hoping i won't have to recreate each page from scratch using different text copy and different images. I have up to 20 images per page and I'm hoping i won't need to do away with my current images or even have to rename a monster amount of images to avoid the same file names being considered dupes.

My questions are:

Would moving the content to the new domain without 301 redirects for anything other than the homepage cause my pages to be considered duplicate content? Obviously the content won't exist on the old site anymore as it will just be a homepage only 301 to the new site.

If i do have to recreate these pages but use the same 20 images on each page on the new domain, would that count as duplicate content with or without the same file names?

This is not something that I've ever had to deal with so i would appreciate any input from anyone that has ever been in the same situation.

1 Answer 1


Google's duplicate content downranking algorithm comes into effect if you are serving content in duplicate - that is, you are serving it in two or more places at the same time. Even then, it only downranks/hides the less canonical/popular copy of your content, and won't affect the more canonical/popular version.

Since you are not serving content in two places at the same time (since the content will no longer exist on the old site), there is no concern at all about duplicate content and which copy will be downranked. Of course as you mention, you'll still be subject to the rank loss from losing inbound links and having to start over with freshly indexed pages, and this drop could be significant.

If SEO is critical to your WordPress site, but not critical enough to pay $60/mo to keep the redirects in place forever, you could consider paying temporarily for 6-12 months while Google "transfers" the ranking juice to your new domain. Relevant bits from Google's John Mueller, via SEO Roundtable.

Related Webmasters Stack Exchange post: What is duplicate content and how can I avoid being penalized for it on my site?

And further reading about duplicate content: Demystifying the "duplicate content penalty" - Google

  • Thanks for your help Commented May 10 at 4:47

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