I would like to know if a domain which we purchased and is re-directed to our main site is hurting seo. The forwarded url is being masked (and there is no way to turn this off).

So say our main site is www.badges-and-buttons.com we then purchased www.badges-buttons.com

Anyone typing www.badges-buttons.com into the address bar is forwarded to the www.badges-and-buttons.com main site but the url in the address bar stays www.badges-buttons.com

I am thinking that google may see this as duplicate content? Any advice?

  • How is there no way to "turn it off"? Either your domain registrar can do a proper redirect, or your server can handle the redirects (e.g. via PHP). Sep 19, 2014 at 20:26
  • @DisgruntledGoat - the registrar can't do a proper redirect they mask the domain "for free" web2.freeparking.co.uk/default.asp?f=9. We don't have any server for this domain so we can't run any php code.
    – Matt Wilko
    Sep 21, 2014 at 10:24
  • Wow, it's like I went back in time to 1999! ;) So it sounds like you're just using their free page builder? In which case your options will be severely limited, not sure you'd be able to add any meta tags or JavaScript. Sep 21, 2014 at 23:43
  • @DisgruntledGoat - I know - don't shoot the messenger. We are not using a free page builder. We don't have any pages on that domain. We have just registered the domain with them and are forwarding all traffic to another domain.
    – Matt Wilko
    Sep 23, 2014 at 9:45
  • could you explain a little more about the hosting situation then? Can you use the same settings (nameservers) for both the domains? Sep 23, 2014 at 12:11

2 Answers 2


Google punishments

If both sites are the same and both sites are in the index then yes, one will be marked as duplicate. Do a site: www.example.com` as a search on Google. Generally what normally happens is when a site is marked duplicate it will noted by Google and if enough pages and content gets marked as duplicate the site will receive a punishment resulting in lower rankings. However this is normally only received by the copy-cat and not the master site.

Possible solution using no-index or redirect

Its doubtful that a website that copies content from one domain to another (Masked effect) will ever receive good enough rankings to get good traffic. A safer option would be to use no-index or redirect users from that domain to the actual master.


It won't harm your website. Make proper 301 redirection of your old domain.



301 redirect to


Also, read this https://stackoverflow.com/questions/8450573/how-to-301-redirect-an-entire-domain-while-preserving-the-path

  • There is no facility to do any other sort of redirect with the domain registrar we have. I can't use an htaccess file as we have have no host for these sites, just the domain registered.
    – Matt Wilko
    Sep 21, 2014 at 10:26

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