Planet13 - 4:57 pm on Feb 20, 2012 (gmt 0)
2. To give a clear signal to the spiders what the site is all about.
Of the various points you mentioned, this is my biggest concern; I do worry that I am not giving clear signals to search engines.
(I have noted in other threads that my site is MOST popular in October and late January / early February. These are NOT prime shopping times of the year, but are more in line with a time frame for educational use.)
However, the search engines DO seem to refer people to my site using the correct keywords. If a site is about blue widgets information, then those are the keywords that google sends traffic. If it is about a particular product, then that is what google generally sends traffic to that page for.
When the search term is for a tangible item but vague, such as they just search for "blue widgets" and we don't know whether they are searching for the product or information about the history of blue widgets, in general google will send them to my products / category pages (as opposed to sending them to the information pages).
Do not expect spiders to put you in the same position for searched queries as other shops if they think your domain is an articles repository or in general if they cannot determine the site type.
How likely is this given a segregated linking structure?
The articles and information pages are rather "isolated" despite being on the same root domain. Yes, they do feature images of some of the products and an add to cart button, but the navigation structure is set up so that each article would link to the main article categories, and not the ecommerce sections.
3. To increase CTR and site focus.
When people search for something they expect the site to be dedicated to what they search for.
Despite my high bounce rate and low pages per visit number, I truly believe that they ARE getting what they want. Maybe I am in denial :)
When a visitor lands on an article page, they will see a category tree with links to other articles. There are also in-content links to other articles. Then there are the images / add to cart buttons for select related products.
If they land on an ecommerce page, then the navigation will have links to other products and the main categories of the ecommerce site.
Finally you need to figure out if the high traffic you see from the information section, has any potential. You should be getting other signals. E-mails, comments, do you receive any valuable emails or do you see any useful comments posted about these articles?
I don't get a lot of comments, but it wasn't until about 6 months ago that I actually set up disqus on their so that I could receive comments. Legitimate comments are minimal.
I do get a fair number of facebook likes for the information pages. Much higher than my product pages.
Do you see other sites linking to these pages creating some organic traffic?
Yes. They are the closest thing I have to link bait / link magnets on my site, which is why I am reluctant to remove them from my domain. I am afraid that removing / moving them to a new domain will deprive my site of most of its page rank.
Ideally, I WOULD like to move all the articles to a separate new domain that would focus more on creating a community. If I could do this WITHOUT having my ecommerce site drop like a rock (because the page rank would be lost), then I would. People just don't link enough to my ecommerce pages.
If you have adsense any conversions there?
I don't have adsense on it yet, but might try it out as an experiment, if only to help me understand the mindset of the visitors to those pages.