My domain www.spoiledbrat.co.uk is 10 years old now. We were with our previous web developers for 7 years, however they designed us a new site which was riddled with duplicate content issues, and I mean ridddled with it - so much so that google slapped a penalty on us over it.
Our traffic used to be a lot & our turnover was so much more than it is now
Things went downhill for us from there & we fell out with our previous web developers, they held our domain name and refused to hand it back. So we reported them to nominet & they took it off them for us.
This was last feb (when we came to shopify) - however we got now access to put in redirects & still today we are getting between 100-1000 a day of 404's
Its all very stressfull & we find we are barley getting orders - or the traffic.
We were advised that a .com domain had more weight that a .co.uk domain
And figured we should move to a .com to try and lose all the crap from our previous web companys mistake with the duplicte content
Everything is being redirected through shopify
HOWEVER next issue (I feel like all I experience these days are "issues")
Our traffic has dropped - and we are invisible now on google pretty much
The search term "wildfox" - landing page >> https://www.spoiled-brat.com/collections/wildfox
We were on page 1 for this - quite near the top for years
NOW ? No where to be found! (bet our competitors are having a field day)
I dont know what to do - should i revert back to to .co.uk ?
Im running out of enthusiasm , and the will to continue with it all - its just problem after problem :(
Any advise / help would be appreciated
Google does not have a duplicate content penalty. You probably got a penalty due to something related, like thin content. Duplicate content issues can reduce the ability for a website to do well, but that's more to do with dividing ranking signas between the duplicates.
Another issue is when a website copies its content from other websites. That can reduce its chance to rank as well as flag quality issues.
There is no inherent ranking advantage of a .com over a .co.uk. If you are targeting the uk, then the .co.uk has an advantage as people in the UK trust it more. If you revert back you must reverse the 301 redirecting that you set up.
That's a lot of 404. I suspect that the old site caused so many duplicates that Google could not crawl and index it properly. Is there a pattern to the duplicates. e.g. different query parameter values? There may be ways to control Googlebots crawling so it focuses on your real pages.
404s in themselves are not a negative ranking signal. If all those pages reporting 404 had no value (most likely) then you can ignore them. As Google detects their 404 status they will reduce how often they are crawled.
A quick look at the source code shows you have added the canonical tag three times, you only need it once. You have rel next/prev tags with invalid values. And it's a waste of time filling in the meta keywords tag.
Use your Google Search Console to find out what the page lost rankings on, and try to work out why. Maybe you were relying on one search term, which you lost. Or maybe your switch to .com reduced your ranking in the UK (By default Google will assume your targeting Canada due to the hosting).
Thx for your reply
I dont follow what you mean here?
"A quick look at the source code shows you have added the canonical tag three times, you only need it once. You have rel next/prev tags with invalid values."
Is this in my theme?
With regards to duplicates - no pattern at all, its all URLs with tags and filters that keep flagging up
DO you think I should revert back to the .co.uk domain?
The search term "wildfox" - most of the domains that rank on page 1 are .com domains + on google.co.uk are also USA websites - thats whats confusing me?
I suspect it was mistakes in your theme. It seems to be fixed now.
If those tag and filter pages now 404 you have nothing to worry about. Google will slowly pay less attention to them.
Any domain can rank anywhere in the world. Google does try to show domains that are of value to people in a particualr region.
Technicaly a .com is region independant, so Google guesses what region it is primarily focused on. In the past that included checking where it was hosted. With a .com domain you can specifically tell Goolge your preferred region via the Google Search Console.
But there are many other factors, the region setting is just one signal. Strong websites can rank all around the world.
I would have recommened sticking to .co.uk in the first place. Now you have switched there is risk in both options. You may have lost something in the switch, and you may lose more in the switch back. Or you may gain.
If you saw a traffic loss when moving to the .com, and you did it not long ago, and you are only targeting the UK, I'd be tempted to quicky switch back and set up page to page site wide 301 redirects to push Google back. And then do an address change if Google Search Console lets you.
But there is risk. I can't guarantee you will end up in a better position.
If everything is done correctly then I typically so a loss of traffic for a while, as Google has to re-index everything (again). Hopefully things will then revert back to what it was.
I am sorry to hear that! I went through something similar because I got the wrong company working on SEO for me using black hat tricks which Google penalized me
Nowadays I have my in-house SEO guys that do all the work for me and we're number 1 on some keywords which is more that what I expected!
If you need some SEO help my guys can do it for you, they're quite trustworthy!
Send me an email to info@XTchocolate.com if interested :)