I’ve recently finished a new site for a client, and in the process of developing, I uploaded a test site to a web server for the client to review. Since going live with the actual site, I left the test site up and running (in the assumption that its less effort to leave it up than to take it down).
Unfortunately, google managed to find the test site and ranked it higher than the proper site for a couple of the keywords. Not good! Its a simple fix to put in a mod_rewrite redirect rule, but its quite incredible how quickly google managed to find a site that has no incoming links.
I have a feeling that its related to the site map plugin that we’re using for wordpress, I think that it pinged google when we were developing the site, and google happily went along and indexed the site.
So, if you’re developing a site, and put up a test version, make sure that you either take it down when making the site live, or ensure that it redirects to the correct site.