I have a possible SEO issue at hand and I would really appreciate your advise.
My client has an online store (
www.example.co.uk), which has been around for 15 years - it's never seen any design changes, it's never been specifically optimized for performance or search engines. Frankly, it's a bad site, but it still attracts a good number of customers, due to the niche products it sells.
Here comes the issue - I've created a new online store (based on the OpenCart platform), with contemporary look, and features, and SEO optimization (to the best of my belief). Unfortunately, the new site's content is really identical to the old site's one - it's got same domain name with a different suffix -
www.example.eu, same items, only slightly different info pages and product descriptions. My client is really sentimental with the old web-site and specifically wants the two sites - the old and the new - running together until the new site starts getting some traffic, after which point we can completely re-direct the old to the new site.
Three days ago, we put a banner (with a hyperlink to the new site built-in) at the bottom of the old website. On average, there would be 3-5 orders per day at this time of the year, but in the past 3 days, there've been none. It may really be a coincidence, but I'm really, really worried there could be something wrong with the SEO. Before Christmas, while the new site was simply "out there", it attracted its first order, coming from Google, without specific effort on our side. Now, the old site hasn't seen an order since we put a link to the new site. Again, the old site's main asset is its age, because from a SEO point of view, it's never been optimized, whereas, the new one should be now. I'm aware the optimal scenario is to re-direct pages from old to new site, but it's not what the client would accept.
For what it's worth, looking at the Google Analytics for the old site, this week it appears to attract the same number of daily visitors as last week (around 50 / day).
Are we in SEO trouble and how can it be avoided? Is it just a coincidence no new orders have come through? Would it be best to take off the banner linking to the new one immediately?
Situation has come to the point where client most definitely wants the old site running with a banner linking to the new site - as hard as I tried to convince them, this is their team's final decision.
Having said that, would there be an appropriate way to minimize any SEO damage (or can it be avoided)? Would there be some combination of de-indexing the new site from Google Webmaster Tools, blocking engines with a robots.txt and adding certain on-page tags that would work?
I'm okay with the new site NOT ranking well (if at all), as long as the old site maintains its current performance.