What is a Site Mirror and Why is it Needed
A website mirror is a website with the same content (illustrations, videos, text, HTML and CSS files, scripts, etc.) as the main one, but with a different spelling of the address. After analyzing the content, the robot will consider that one of the sites is a mirror (duplicate) and exclude it from the search. Only the working mirror of the site will be displayed in the issue – it is called the main one. This is necessary so that mirrors do not compete with each other in the search, and the owner of the resource can collect correct statistics.
Why are site mirrors needed?
Mirrors can appear already at the site creation stage.
If the necessary settings are not made when creating a site on VPS hosting, the site URL is available with the WWW prefix and without it. Or if https is added to the name when connecting a secure protocol. Mirrors can also be custom made.
Why do them?
- To increase traffic. If people often misspell in the name, you can create mirrors for the most popular queries and set up redirects to the desired site.
- To save traffic. If the name of the resource changes, for example, due to rebranding, the mirror will help not to lose old users. At their request, a redirect will work, and they will be taken to a new site.
- For stable operation. You can use the site mirror as a backup in case the main site stops working or is blocked. This will also help to evenly distribute the workload on servers for “heavy” sites and hedge against an attack.
- For more correct promotion of the resource for different regions. In this case, each mirror is configured for its own country and redirected to the desired site mirror..
Types of site mirrors
There are main and non-main site mirrors. Only the first one will be shown in the search results. To understand that the site is a non-main mirror, the search robot uses its own algorithms. SEO tools will work more efficiently if you assign the main Google mirror yourself, otherwise there is a risk of spending resources on promoting the wrong address.
How is the gluing of site mirrors
Gluing site mirrors is a grouping of several resources with the same content, but different addresses. Among them, the main site is selected, and the rest are closed from indexing. There are mirrors that stick together automatically. For others, you need to do the gluing yourself.
To glue site mirrors, use a 301 redirect. This method is suitable for Google. It allows you to combine the indicators of both sites without losing link juice.
This should take into account:
- the redirect is carried out page by page. This is necessary for the complete transition of the link weight;
- HOST and redirect are configured for pages with a slash and prefixes www/HTTP/HTTPS and without;
- you need to remove all duplicates /index.php;
- addresses written in Cyrillic.
To make sure that the merging was successful and the main mirror of the site has changed, enter the info operator and the address that you merged in the Google search box. In the issue, the site designated as the main one should be displayed. If everything is done correctly, you will not be able to get to the site mirror from the search.
How to find site mirrors and determine the main thing
There are situations when you need to check if a site has mirrors. For example, if you want to buy a site with good search traffic. In order not to be deceived, it is important to find out in advance whether this resource has mirrors. If they exist, you should require the transfer of rights to all mirrors, otherwise there is a risk of being left with nothing. Also, if you use the services of an SEO contractor and want to be sure that your domain is being promoted, you can check the resource for mirrors.
To determine which sites are defined as mirrors in the search engine or which of the resources is the main one, it is necessary to check the pages in the index. This is one of the easiest ways to check.
Let’s say you want to check if the sites are mirrors. To do this, you need to enter any unique phrase from the site in the search box and see the results of the issue. If there are pages of both versions of the site, then the search engine considers them different resources. In this case, the sites need to be glued and the main mirror set. If only one page appears in the search results, it means that the search engine glued the mirrors and assigned the main one – it is displayed in the search results. It may be that there are no results in the output. This means that the search engine has not yet indexed the site. You need to wait about a week, and repeat the request.
If you need to check if a site is a mirror, you can add it to Google Search Console. If the site is recognized as a non-main mirror, then when adding, a corresponding message will appear, and the address in the line will automatically change to the main mirror.
Therefore, it is important to glue the sites together and set up the main mirror.
This is done in three steps:
- Determine the site that you want to designate as the main mirror
- Set up a redirect with a 301 redirect
- Specify the main mirror in the Google Search Console settings
If your site has at least one mirror, it is possible that search engines may perceive these sites as different resources. As a result, they can pull some of the traffic from each other, and this will negatively affect the ranking.
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