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Cross Domain Canonical for eCommerce Sites?
Southerncentralrain




msg:4641010
 2:13 pm on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am hoping to get some help from all of the brilliant SEO minds that post here on a question that I have been struggling with for a while.

We have 3 eCommerce websites. Two of the websites are niche stores that do well and do not seem to be having SEO issues. The other website is the "parent" website that these stores spun off from years ago. The main website got hammered by the first Panda because we had the same items and section pages on the parent store and niche stores. We went through and rewrote most of the content and that didn't help much at all. About 4 months ago I Noindex/Nofollow'd all of the item pages on the parent website that were also listed on the niche stores but left the section pages. It seems that the main website is still being disliked by Google.

My question is what to do next. My plans were to go and Noindex/Nofollow the section pages that are on the niche stores. Ultimately, I think the best solution would be to canonical from the main site to the matching niche store page but I am really concerned about the niche stores getting hammered because of this. I certainly do not want to drag those websites down.

I would greatly appreciate any information or suggestions that you guys may have. Thanks so much in advance for your time.

 

goodroi




msg:4641105
 10:38 pm on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

What unique value does the parent site provide? Why do visitors spend time on the parent site?

Google really does not like sites that are redundant and do not bring original value.

Southerncentralrain




msg:4641256
 4:00 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

It does have other items and information that is not available on the niche stores. I was just curious about what to do with the items and sections that are redundant. We do not want to delete them because we do have a descent amount of customers from the past that come back and shop on that website.

goodroi




msg:4641291
 6:01 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

Have you thought about noindexing the redundant pages? This way you can have duplicate pages on multiple sites without upsetting Google but it does not address the issue of providing value on each website.

Southerncentralrain




msg:4641753
 2:08 pm on Feb 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

We have noindexed the redundant item pages and was about to noindex the redundant section pages as well. We are wanting to provide value of the items that are only listed on that website.

The main question was should we cross domain canonical from the main website to the niche store or just noindex.

goodroi




msg:4642109
 2:56 pm on Feb 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Personally I strive to have my niche stores support the main site, not the other way around. Niches can come and go but my main sites should hopefully last for the long term.

For your personal situation you could consider using a cross domain canonical but it would not be my personal preference. I think cross domain canonical mapping would be more fixing the symptom and not addressing the key issue of making your main site stronger.

What will happen when you have multiple niche sites carrying the same product? Which niche site will the main site link to? This is one of the reasons I prefer to direct the flow towards the big site and not to the smaller niche sites.

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