I have a client who has hundreds of websites on various shared hosts. All the websites talk about various niche topics and the goal of these sites is to drive people to make a phone call.
The client has told me the main reason they are putting all these sites on shared hosts is to prevent Google from dinging them for making so many niche sites. From what I gather, the only reason Google's flag would start popping would be if all these niche sites feed into one main website to boost it's page rank. (the popular wheel and spoke analogy) This is NOT the case for this client. They are funneling to a phone number on the page. A phone number that is different for all the sites.
Can I move all of these niche sites onto a single server and not see a rank hit since they will all be on similar c-class ip's now?
(for the record this company is not shady and is honestly helping save lives. I just can't get into details. It is NOT a get rich quick scheme or anything underhanded.)
My job is to make the multi-site administration easier on them. I am heavily into SEO but do not dabble in niche marketing much.
We have roughly 25-30 similar sites on a single server, sharing a c-class. NONE of them link to one another and none of them have the same content, although they ARE similar in nature, serving a similar market for different Geo's. ALL of them link back to our parent company, from the about-us and policy pages.
I don't feel it has hurt us in any way, and I also don't feel it would help us in any way to have them on different servers...
In my opinion, (and its just that, based on experience though)... the MORE you try to hide or disguise what you are doing, the worse your spanking will be if it happen to come under fire or manual review for anything.
Finally, I think its really a question of the risk the company is willing to take as well, and I always revert to the house burning down analogy. Never put more than you are willing to lose in one-bad-fire, under the same roof. Some have been known to get different WHOIS, Registrars, Addresses, Phones, Servers, etc etc...
Yeah I feel the same way really. Just trying to cover all my bases and get opinions. The last thing I want to do is recommend this and get burned.
Not really sure what you mean by the last paragraph though. That just comes down to proper planning. I make sure all my clients have automated offsite backups. Unless multiple datacenters explode at once, I think I'll be ok. :)