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I'm facing a bit of a dilemma at the moment and I'm not sure on the best approach. Here is the issue.

I am building out a website using AngularJS. The application is going to be branded for 3 of my partners. The only thing that will be changing is the colours or theme of the actual application. The core files are all the same.

So I have the following domains:

  • domainA.com
  • domainB.com
  • domainC.com
  • domainD.com

Each of these domains should point to the application. What I was planning to do was to update the A Record for each domain to point at whatever server my files reside on.

However I am worried I may be penalised by Google for content duplication. Is this the case? What way would you go about doing this?

I'd appreciate any help on this.

Thanks

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I am worried I may be penalised by Google for content duplication

There's not really a "penalty" as such, however, what you will find is that if Google does perceive these URLs as duplicate then it will only return one of the them (for any given page) in the search results. It may even favour one domain over all others - if it sees that domain as authoritative.

However, it's also confusing for users that might stumble across the different sites and realise the content is the same.

What way would you go about doing this?

If you are intending these domains to be indexed then that's a tricky one. Ordinarily, in order to avoid any duplicate content issues, you'd pick one as the "canonical" domain and redirect to that. (Or, set a cross-domain rel="canonical" meta tag, or HTTP response header? At least that way, the other domains would be accessible.)

If you don't take manual action in resolving what is potentially duplicate content then Google will simply decide for you, if it is perceived as duplicate. Possibly the page with the most quality backlinks will "win"? The same page on the other domains may not appear at all in the SERPs - that is the duplicate content "penalty". Google is trying to return quality results to its users. Returning 3 or 4 pages that contain essentially the same content (Google doesn't really care about "branding") is not "quality search results" - so it is something that Google actively tries to avoid.

Your domains are going to be competing against each other. The only way to avoid the "duplicate content" issue is to vary the content.

  • Thanks for your answer, the reason I'm showing the same content is because the site is a demo of a product which I provide to a few partners and I'd like to brand it with their logo etc, so yes the content is the same but in terms of branding they are different if you understand? – Javacadabra Sep 1 '16 at 9:21
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    If the "site is a demo" then presumably you aren't concerned with it being indexed anyway? In fact, shouldn't it be actively blocked? – MrWhite Sep 1 '16 at 9:44
  • No.... It's a demo of the products, it's being built so that people will land on the page and be able to try out the product. It's being built with step by step walkthrough. Whilst indexing it isn't utterly important I would like to know if what I'm doing will have any negative consequences – Javacadabra Sep 1 '16 at 9:53
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    If "indexing isn't utterly important" then maybe you don't do anything. However, the "negative consequence" (as with any duplicate content) is that Google will likely prioritise one URL/domain over the others. I've updated my answer. – MrWhite Sep 1 '16 at 14:12
  • Appreciate you help, I'll see how it goes – Javacadabra Sep 1 '16 at 14:15

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