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Multiple sites with similar content in Google Webmaster Tools?

 6:10 pm on Dec 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Let's say I operate a company selling custom tshirts. I have an online ecommerce shop called BuyShirts with products, a few articles on tshirts, etc. On another server, I host a blog called AboutTShirts where I have articles about buying shirts with a few links to my shop. It's a way to drive in traffic.

Now, both sites have their own content but could be considered duplicate if they were hosted together or were the same site. BUT they separated by different domains and different hosts.

BUT let's say I have one Google Webmaster Tools account and it lists both domains (I've confirmed ownership for both). Am I proving to GOogle that I own both and potentially admitting to duplicate content? Would I be wise to move one of the sites to a separate GMT account?



 10:25 pm on Dec 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

From my (long term) experience the best tactics is: 1 site -> 1 account.


 11:19 pm on Dec 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Am I proving to GOogle that I own both and potentially admitting to duplicate content?

Duplicate content means the content is duplicated somewhere else on the web. That "somewhere else" could be within your site, within another site you own or within another site you do not own. So you could have a duplicate content even when you do not own that other site where the duplication appears. The difference is that you have more control over sorting it when the duplication is on site(s) you own.

Would I be wise to move one of the sites to a separate GMT account?

I don't think this has any effect with regards to the how Google sees duplicate content.

As Prasawet says, it may be advantageous, but for different reasons though. On the other hand, it can also be advantageous to keep sites together under the same account for another set of different reasons. None of these reasons are duplicate content reason.


 1:01 am on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Will someone please tell me what's wrong with having similar content on two different websites? I don't need permission from Google in order to create a website (or multiple websites) about anything. That's for me to decide.


 1:13 am on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nothing is wrong with it, really, except from a Google SEO perspective -- Expecting both [all] to rank [which is for Google to decide] isn't a very realistic expectation, so it's usually better to strengthen one with the content, inbound links, etc. than it is to have two, three, five, whatever if the best rankings someone can get from Google [Google SEO] is actually what a person is trying to achieve.


 1:21 am on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

You can have all the websites with similar content you want. And Google can crawl, index and rank as many or as few of them as they want.

See? It all works out.

As for the OP's question - it doesn't matter if they're in the same GWT account or not. Google will still know. I dunno why the second site should attract more traffic than the first one, and if it does I wouldn't expect it to be a very effective longterm strategy, but if it works for you, it works for you.


 1:45 am on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

I agree totally. Google can do whatever they want and I do whatever I want. Actually, none of my sites have similar content, but it isn't because of Google, but because I want each site to be organized around one theme. But no one has answered my question as to why it would be wrong for me or anyone else to have two sites with similar content.


 2:28 am on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

it isn't wrong - it's just suboptimal for getting ranked well in some search engines due to dilution of equity and resources.
once google decides which version to pick, your investment in the other is wasted as far as google seo is concerned since that version is now filtered out of the index.
it still works for direct and referred traffic, though.


 2:50 am on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

why it would be wrong for me or anyone else to have two sites with similar content

"Wrong" would not be the right word, I would rather put it "is this a good strategy". JD_Toims lists some of reasons (consolidate split link juice, strengthen the content, etc).

My SEO strategy would be to build the authority site and this is easier done when the effort is put into one site rather than splitting the effort and the content about the same subject onto two different domains.


 7:50 am on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

GWT is just a tool and is not going to affect no matter what number of sites you add in it. As far as duplicate content is concerned then yes two sites having same content can have issue with duplicity but then you can be more natural to your visitors by adding your primary site to be the resource to the content of second site. Build site not for the search engines but first for the users. No doubt you must optimize but optimize it so it could reaches your customers. Work on improving the website to enhance user's experience. Writing a good new content doesn't take much time. When you can be better spending few time then why not you should do that.


 1:40 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to just keep these together. It's really just a convenience thing, so I'm not logging in and logging out of multiple GWT accounts.


 4:38 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think there are times when it does make sense to have separate sites about the same topic, at least from a publishing and user standpoint. (The example that the OP cites probably isn't one of them, however.)

When it does (or could) make sense:

Let's say that you've got an editorial site about [topic] for serious enthusiasts and/or people who like in-depth information. You wake up one day and realize there's a much larger audience for people who want a Cliff's Notes version of what you have to offer.

In such a situation, you might want to consider keeping your "Everything about [topic]" site for obsessive readers but starting a separate "[topic] Essentials" site for users (including mobile users) who prefer a short-and-sweet approach. Both sites would be on the same topic, and both might be based on the same raw information, but the length of the articles and the depth of the information would be quite different.

(Again, this isn't directly relevant to the OP's specific situation, but it's relevant to the broader question in the subject line.)

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