I run a web site that offers a service that receives over 1 million page views a day and I have completely rebuilt the whole script from the ground up.
Before switching from my current script to my new one i wanted to run a public beta of the new script on a different domain. For example my main site is domain.com and my test site is domain.me. This is primarily to find and iron out any major issues before using the new script on the main site.
My question is what is the SEO safest way to do this to ensure that my test site does not harm my main sites SEO as the content would be almost identical.
It is my understand that if i just set my robots.txt file to deny all bots to my test site as well as make sure to have a canonical link in the head of the test site i should be safe. Am i correct in this assumption or could this harm my main sites SEO ?