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I am using Heroku to host my rails app and I have created a custom domain for the app at www.luminoto.com.

I just did a search for "luminoto" and I see that the herokuapp domain (horschgallery.herokuapp.com) is popping up.

Should I just create another domain in webmaster tools and use robots.txt to remove the Heroku domain from search results? Or will this in turn remove the Luminoto domain as well?

Also does Google think that Luminoto is duplicate content or a cloned site?

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If both the main domain name and the subdomain of heroku.com have the exact same content, Google is going to treat them as duplicates. It is probably going to pick one or the other for inclusion into the search index and not index the other.

If both are powered by the same code base, you may have trouble getting robots.txt to work. You would need to show different content in robots.txt for the two different domains.

The easiest solution is to add a link rel canonical tag to the head of every page that says where you would like Google to view the page:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.luminoto.com/page.html" />
  • Do you think that is a better solution than rerouting the paths on the server as mentioned by the heroku guys? – user3303252 Jun 26 '14 at 19:22
  • Hi, As mentioned in the GWT forum, you the best way here is to set a 301 redirect from your herokuapp subdomain to your app. Your app being written in ruby, using an htaccess won't work though, as we don't use Apache. You can setup such a redirect in your app's routes though. See this stackoverflow question for more information: stackoverflow.com/questions/10918529/… Please let us know if you have any other question. Thanks, Damien – user3303252 Jun 26 '14 at 19:22
  • Using 301 redirects is also a great solution. I would use whichever is easier for you to set up. If you have access to the .htaccess file, then redirects are straightforward. – Stephen Ostermiller Jun 26 '14 at 19:41
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If you have access to the code on both, then the canonical tag should work. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066?hl=en

That should let them know which version to index.

Duplicate content is only a big issue if it is obvious spam. There seems a lot of hearsay by SEOs that it is always a bad thing when, as long as it is common behaviour, it should not trigger their spam tests.

Google's Matt Cutts on how they handle it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQZY7EmjbMA

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