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Expand offerings on current site or build group of niche sites?
Onders




msg:4564532
 6:52 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,

If you have a well established site which has pretty good SEO focused around one subject (i.e. widgets), and you want to expand your offering for your customers to other things that may be of interest to them (not widgets!), is it better to build a network of sites or expand the one site?

From an SEO perspective at the moment although all the links and content are now focused on widgets, the power of the domain could be helpful for getting the new products ranked. Obviously building more niche sites means that we'll have to start SEO from scratch.

Downside that we can think of is that there may be a detrimental effect on our main site for our main product (widgets). This may just be in the short term though if we can get links in for the new product..

Would be really interested in hearing what other people here think, and whether Panda really has changed what you would do.

Would you put everything on one site in this situation or starting building a group of niche sites?

Thanks in advance!

 

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564533
 7:07 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Would be really interested in hearing what other people here think, and whether Panda really has changed what you would do.

With what seems to be rampant penalties, dealing with the "Google animals", and all the other things that can effect a site, especially since some can be so difficult to find when everything looks okay, I personally just changed my opinion on this from "build one, build it big" to "having backups is better".

For years I would have said to put it all on one, but I don't think that's likely my advice moving forward. Right now it's: If you have something that's working I'd stick with doing that there and do whatever else you want somewhere else.

Onders




msg:4564574
 9:41 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Delving into the SEO side a bit more - say we have identical content and links into a new site and on our current site (which effectively has unrelated content and links but the same target audience). I wonder which option would be ranked better?

Pjman




msg:4564586
 11:28 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm definitely of the opinion that spreading out to other sites is the way to go. If you shove everything on one, you will run into challenges at some point. The more back up the better.

netmeg




msg:4564596
 12:11 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've done both, and there are definitely pluses and minuses either way. It's never a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket, but on the other hand, maintaining multiple sites (and keeping them high quality) is a challenge, particularly if it's only yourself or a small team doing it. My decision on when to branch out is usually based on what's best for the users - I'll add to an existing site if I think it makes sense, but a lot of my sites are geo targeted to specific states, and those it makes more sense to keep separate, if only because it removes a layer of clicks to get to the right content. So, as with everything... it depends. If your additional content would enhance your current users' experience, add it to that site. If it can stand on its own, then make a new site.

Str82u




msg:4564602
 12:32 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does this sound like a unreported case of Leuko-Melanophobia?
In general terms I agree with TOI and use the "If it ain't broke..." theory. How's this; even though it might make not make sense to other widget makers, I don't promote physical widgets from the widget article site and there are only two older articles with non-reciprocal links mentioning the product site.

On the other hand, the article site has been adding functions and whole sections for years that add no value to the articles themselves but improves the site on the whole because the same users might want them. The physical widget site is half the age of the article site.

The domain name is versatile but from our perspective we haven't gone beyond it - having the physical widgets on site might change the impression G or others have of the domain and site intent. It may be important to note that we sell the widgets but the site is not a store.

TheOptimizationIdiot




msg:4564607
 1:12 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

...having the physical widgets on site might change the impression G or others have of the domain and site intent

I think that's a good and valid point.

I'm actually working with one and they own all 3, the .com, .net and .org and we've recently discussed making one "informational articles", another other "widget listings", and the other "social interaction" to keep from "fixing that which is not broken", and we should also be separating the "intent" each should be returned for at the same time, so:

One would be informational.
One would be transactional.
One would be socially interactive.

I personally think this a good separation and strategy to keep traffic flowing even if something happens to one of the domains for some reason. It also seems like it should help eliminate SEs confusion when user intent is involved in a decision on which to show in the SERPs for a specific query or query type.

Str82u




msg:4564610
 1:35 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Onders
say we have identical content and links into a new site and on our current site (which effectively has unrelated content and links but the same target audience). I wonder which option would be ranked better?
Sounds like you're contradiciting yourself, "say we have identical content and links into....(...has unrelated content and links...)".

If I understood you, you also have to include the possibility that both might fail. To some degree you can get away with using the duplicate content but in the same way you would reuse data for a on-site search function, not entire pages of content, just bits on it.

If you're gonna split, split big.

@TOI - the last one "One would be socially interactive" - Indeed.

Onders




msg:4564694
 10:40 am on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies

@Str82u - I'm not advocating having the same content and links on both websites, just wondering if we were to write lets say 100 articles and manage to get 100 top class links, would a site that has only these things and is completely focused / niche rank better than if we had the 100 articles and top links on / to a site where we already have lots of other content which is not 100% related.

I suppose my question then is about content and link density. If a site with x amount on it has 100% of its links and content focused exclusively on that topic, will it rank better than if that same amount of content and links were on a site that already has content and links and ranks well.. but is on an unrelated topic (but related audience).

I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself that well - but I hope you know what I mean!

Str82u




msg:4564706
 1:16 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I get what you mean, Would it do well being more focused on it's own or in an already established site that isn't as focused.

Sorry, this is a horrible answer but I believe you could be equally successful with it but as much as I like making new sites, it honestly gets old; would you be able to devote the same time and love to that second site or would the articles/links themselves do better on your existing site? That's the question you should answer, where would the articles do better?

Look through some of the other current discussions here, there are a few arguments for and against new sites for not-so-exact content, you should get a bit more varied answers in an indirect way.

frankleeceo




msg:4564798
 11:13 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

It depends on well they relate to another. If the relation is different in terms of intent or utilization. Even for a related business, unless you are going heavy toward "big brand" with millions of ad dollars toward the parent site.

Split it if you are not going that "brand" route.

A rule of thumb that I would do is, would be "search" your "brand + whatever you are trying to branch into" Without the sub pages being to stand on its own, it will hurt the main site in the mean time like you are afraid of. At least that has been my personal experiences.

frankleeceo




msg:4564799
 11:21 pm on Apr 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Also I forgot to add, the key is to ensure that the "niche" sites can stand on their own. If you just make crap sites in hope that they can support your main or living off the main one, most likely the sub sites will suffer and not perform.

oliondor




msg:4564811
 12:28 am on Apr 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Group of niche site...

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