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Product Domain pointing to Subpage of Corporate Domain

Partially dublicate content but both domains needed for advertising.



4:56 pm on Jul 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We have a client with a corporate domain (corporate.com) and an own domain for their main product (product.com).

Now product.com is only a domain pointer to a subpage of corporate.com. If you enter www.product.com you get to [corporate.com...]

Is this a problem for Google?
How will Google treat links to product.com?

The site is new so I can't see any pagerank for product.com yet which is normal.

Of course we could separate product.com which is used in advertising... from corporate.com. But as the product belongs to the content of the corporate website too we would have dublicate content if we did that. What is the best way to deal with this?

Thanks for any advice.


8:45 am on Jul 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Anybody out there using separate domains for different products?


4:42 pm on Jul 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We have a similar situation. The corporate domain has been indexed by Google but the product domain (online since April) is not indexed yet.


2:35 pm on Aug 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I had advised a client to use product.com domains on separate servers/IP addresses and all common elements on corporate.com. It helps with branding/advertising campaigns, more focused backlinks, etc.


3:13 pm on Aug 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Did you have any problems due to the dublicate content?


3:26 pm on Aug 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

as always -
what kind of redirect is used (-> header checker if unsure)?

you're unlikely to ever get product.com listed because there is nothing there to list. if google gets redirected to corporate.com/subpage then nowhere in the index will it have any pages at product.com. if it has no pages, then it will never be able to return pages in search results.

use product.com for offline media and promotional literature, but focus 100% SEO efforts on corporate.com

if the redirect is a 301 any PR aimed at product.com will be forwarded to corporate.com


3:45 pm on Aug 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

well vincevincevince beat me to that one... I've worked in a company using hundreds of product domains (literally) it was a telco, and you'd think they should know better but they didn't. Only imposes confusion on their customers, no SE value.

Unfortunately, as these weirdo domains were often printed on various brochures, product sheets etc. they had to support them w/redirects for ages... (be very careful with that one - one "off-beat" domain is even written into a law passed by government!) too bad i say, it's actually a major problem for them.


Removed "imho" in "Only imposes confusion on their customers imho" - as head of interactive research back then i know the customers didn't get it, and still don't.

My best advice is still - use one domain only, or very few, and optimize navigation using subdomains and a logical url/directory structure, site search, site map, etc. You'll think that you're helping customers using more domains, but you are not.

Redirect your product domains to your generic domain front page in stead. Please do.

Why? Because, otherwise you are actually telling your customers that you don't believe you are able to make a decent site. You are telling them not to believe they can find what they want at your domain - and they will listen, learn and remember. Plus, one day that product will get another name. The print will still be there, and the redirect will be long forgotten... been there, done that, want no more...


4:24 pm on Aug 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you so much for your help. I don't know what I would do without Webmasterworld and all its members...

The server header checker gives
Location: [corporate.com...]

As I understand this it would mean the redirect is done on the server.

What happens with the people linking to www.product.com? Will a link to www.product.com be worth less than a link to [corporate.com...] People tend to favour a domain rather than a page when linking to a site.

So far there is only one product domain. product.com reflects a brand name so it won't change (unless the brand gets changed which is very unlikely).

When people link to product.com they will usually take product.com as link text which should help to convince Google that [corporate.com...] is the major site for "product".


4:30 pm on Aug 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

your point about link-text is a very valid one

i would however raise the issue of your headers again - what that looks like is incomplete headers set - you should send this instead:

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://www.corporate.com/product/product.html

This can be done using .htaccess on apache [301,L], or from php using header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently"); etc

that will then transmit the value of the incoming link to corporate.com


4:31 pm on Aug 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My company was doing the same thing, Zgb, when I was hired.

I advised them to make actual product websites instead of just using pointer URL's to sub pages on the main corporate site.

The result?

10 times the traffic, because the new content (on each product site) pulled in more targeted keywords than the main corporate site ever could, and our conversion rate shot through the roof.

Think about it - from the main site, a visitor looking for "Product X" would be shown "Product A,B,C,D, and X" to choose from. If all the products are fairly similar, you end up confusing your visitor in some respect.

Now think of that same visitor getting to "Product X.com" right off the bat, with no other options to choose from. BAM! Direct hit! Your probablility of conversion is much higher this way.
(of course, you could always have a link to "other products.html" on that domain, just so eveything stays tied together...)

Anyway, I've been using this technique for 2 years now, and everything is running fine. Give it a try.


6:10 pm on Aug 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Right, here comes a long post. I was going to write it anyway, but it might as well be published here first. Could even give feedback, which is nice :)

The easy linking value is obvious - just type in disney.com and see what url you end up on. No way i'm going to write that anywhere on a links page (especially not the "document-name.html"-part as technologies like asp, php, jsp, cgi, etc. tends to shift all the time)

You're absolutely right that more people will link to a domain than a subpage, because subpage linking tends to make their links obsolete as pages move around. I'm just saying that this should be handled with caution as it can backfire. People outside the company will remember way longer than anyone inside, especially if it's printed or embedded in software (or links).

When redirecting, it's your choice if you will want to build the brand "company.com" or the brand "product.com". One successful example of "something else" is sony.com vs. playstation.com. The latter is not a redirect but a separate content-rich site, and that's what makes the difference.

Time Inc. (Time Warner, now AOL Time Warner, talk about brands) once tried to build the brand pathfinder.com. It was a site (an online product) which essentially redirected to their magazines, imposing a common "pathfinder" cross-navigation. Result being that people - over time - skipped pathfinder altogether and went directly for the magazine homepages. The pathfinder brand is definitely not a well-known brand today, but it still turns up as #3 in the G serps for "Time Magazine", so AOLTW are simply stuck with it if they want to leverage that backlink power. The brand name by itself does nothing good for the company, as there's no such product.

No need to say that The Walt Disney Company is (still) trying to do the same thing with go.com, is there? So, do you "go" to go.com, or head directly to abcnews.com?

Now, to stay in the family, try [espn.com...] - what's that? is it Disney, is it MSN or what is it? It's the ESPN brand, it's not really interesting who currently owns or hosts it, that's what it is. The "product.com" is the brand that is built, not the "company.com".

Try a google search for "espn" - note the URL at #1, then #2, then #3... and then #4. What are they doing? They are simply wasting link potential. In stead of holding on to one domain, they are changing it, causing people to link to different places and sharing the accumulated link power among all the different ways to get to the site.

Yes, they have #1 and #2 and so on... then again, ESPN is not a very competitive term is it? Try this search in stead: "Sports" - CNNSI is beating them to the #1, and where are the URLs #2-4 (or #2-10) from before? Not good. I'd sack the person resonsible for the URL-fiddling. I would.

This might not have given you a definite answer, as i have chosen to use very well-known firms and brands as examples. Firms that "ought to know better" in terms of branding and marketing.

It seems that it's a successful long-term strategy to have "product.com" only when you actually host content on that domain. Redirecting domains seem to lose value in the long term.

That's long term. Your view, timeframe, and perspective, might differ and you may of course reach another conclusion.


TWhalen posted while i was writing. That's exactly it. Product sites is the way, not product redirects.

With that comes the usual effects as products change names. They really do. And they also become obsolete. Just like your print ads for "Widget" can't be recycled when the product now is called "Gadget", there's really no use for the old domain, other than as a redirect to the new product or to the company home-page. In this process, some links pointing to the old domain will be wasted, have wrong anchor text, and all that - that's a separate story.


12:37 pm on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I admire the experience and knowledge of all the experts in Webmasterworld. Thank you so much for all your advice! This really helps.

What I still ponder on is the fact that most people in other WW discussions concluded that it was best to stick with one domain as one domain gives more value (at least pagerank whise) than several domains. If this was true, doesn't it speak for a solution with product domains redirected to corporate.com? Like that corprorate.com is pushed to a higher level in pagerank.

Going further with that thought it might even be a good idea to have corporate.de, corporate.fr and all other language / country specific domains redirected to pages on corporate.com. Like that the country domains could still be added to the local directories, the local visitors would get to the content in their language... but all those country domains would push corporate.com to a level (again pagerank whise) it wouldn't reach when it just had a link to corporate.com on corporate.de...

What do you think about this?


1:45 pm on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

zgb999, if you consider pagerank only, your thoughts are right. Concentrate all on one domain for maximum benefit.

PageRank is not all, however, not even on Google. TWhalen is not wrong, his approach is just aimed at specific keywords in stead of PR. That's another game, and very specific sites could be the best option here (yields better conversion from browsers to buyers in his case)

Each of the sites TWhalen has built, would probably have a lower PR than the "big site" if all product sites were one big site. On the other hand they are targeted specifically at certain keywords.

Again, TWhalen does build sites, he does not just redirect.



2:32 pm on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I also like the aproach of TWhalen and I am sure conversion is better with specific product sites.

But again IMHO this could also be done within the corporate domain. As long as the Corporate Identity allows it you can have subdomains or "chapters" within the corporate domain that are showing more or less the same than an own domain would show. It is not easy for the designer to have a corporate domain and some product domains that all match the CI and on the other hand speak directly to the prospect interested in a product on a product domain. But it can be done.

In other words, if you design
www.corporate.com/product/product.htm in a way that a visitor finds a very unique, targeted site for the product without beeing disturbed to much by some navigations points that can lead him to other pages of the company, and on the other hand can guide the visitor of corporate.com that has reached that page to know where he is, then we can reach both goals - conversion and pagerank.

I have seen sites with different colours / pictures for the different main points / products where they still had a consistenz CI and yet had a unique look for each product.

What do you think?


4:45 pm on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I can never find that page when i need it, but i did finally - here it is: [searchengineworld.com...]

This is basically the way to do it. I'm sure your designer will understand if you show him the page, it's very intuitive and makes great sense as well.

It's a kind of portal-type approach, having different "sections" or "channels" for each product(type), and "narrowing down". This approach works, i've used it myself and recommended it long before i found that page, but always found it hard to explain the exact key points to others in an easy way - it's brilliantly summarized by Brett, and there's some points that i didn't realize until i read it as well. Scroll down to illustration 2 for an example with keywords.

Imho it's not that important if you choose subdomains or folders, eg:

www.company.com/product/ or

But i tend to favour the latter solution myself (for very large sites/portals, that is - they have some very nice features when dealing with load, include-files, and content providers, etc.) It also makes linking easier and more authoritative as a subdomain or host name is perceived to be somewhat more "solid" than a directory folder. Plus, verbal marketing is better; there's not so many slashes to pronounce wrong, misplace, or forget - just two dots.

The former (folders / directories) may be more rewarding in terms of Page Rank, but i'm not 100% sure of the order of magnitude (or if it is in fact better at all - it might be though). The espn example i provided above does not illustrate this, as this only deals with the waste that comes from a shift (and parallel use) of host names.

I hope somebody can point to some evidence on the Google effects of using subdomains in stead of folders in terms of PR, i haven't searched for it myself, but perhaps there are already evidence in other threads.




5:15 pm on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The key is to think about what users would type product.com and what users would type corporate.com and navigate internally.

Typing product.com:
- Potential customers
- Word of mouth referrals
- NATURAL links from other websites

Typing corporate.com (and navigating?):
- Potential investors
- Your board of directors
- Companies assessing your tender proposals

Now, without saying those lists are in any way based upon proper research, they do point to a case for providing seperate pages on corporate.com and product.com about the product. The information you want to give is different (specs, prices, sales blurb VS financial projections, sales figures, regulatory status). The way you want to present it is different (attention grabbing, fast, streamlined to cart, cool VS professional, conservative, formal, chic).

So, supposing you're not overly lazy or somewhat limited in resources, the best solution, and one used by many very big names, is to run two sites, for two seperate purposes - and have "Did you want product information?" on the corporate.com -> product.com, and "A product of XYZZY Corporation" link on product.com -> corporate.com, or similar. If possible, put the two sites under two different teams / web designers.

All the above must be taken with a pinch of salt however I do believe it's a powerful option for a large number of cases.


10:35 pm on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

GREAT post, Claus!

As SEOs who get paid by how many specific phrases get posted how high at which seach engines, it's easy to forget our real jobs -- to help the client make a profit so they can continue to pay us.

I've lost clients who I totally wowwed with rankings for the phrases they wanted for several years until they went belly-up. Unfortunately, that alone doesn't neccesarily translate into more traffic, qualified traffic, brand awareness, or more sales.

Of course, some clients just plain won't listen.

In which case, they're the boss, and I'll hapily do what they want and accept payment for my hard work -- with a clear conscionce.


4:25 am on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Did you have any problems due to the dublicate content?

No, what I am suggesting is that corporate.com should only contain the info that applies to the whole company, e.g. careers, news, about etc. It can have a Products page, but thereafter the details of each product can live in its own domain on a separate site (not a subpage). This will also allow each product brand to be sold to another company complete with the web site. Many large conglomerates do this, particularly where different brands are separate companies but sharing the parent brand, e.g. GE This and GE That.


11:31 am on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

After reading all the comments I am still not sure what direction to go.

We have a site for Widgets, Gadgets and Things. The present site has PR 6. The content is available in 5 different languages. As there are many fans for Widgets, Gadgets and Things around that are likely to link to our site we want to have different entry points (domains) for the 3 subjects. In addition to that we want to have direct access for each language. Like that the Widget fan can link to widget.com, the Gadget fan can link to gadget.com and the Things fan can link to things.com.

Nevertheless the new domains will start with no links apart from a link from our own site and some entries in directories.

Most competitors (at least for the english words) have PR 7 or 8 so what we need is a way to get a high PR for many site / pages:
www.widgets.com (englisch)

www.gadgets.com (englisch)

www.things.com (englisch)

Does this make sense or is it better to leave everything under widgets.com or to have all language versions under one domain?

Shall all these domain be independent or are we getting better overall PR / search results if all those sites are redirected to pages / subdomains on widgets.com (things.com ist redirected to gadgets.com/things...)

I would really appreciate some help on this!


9:53 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Marketing_C, I'll just bump this up the list, i find it hard to believe that nobody has opinions on this topic.

Personally i'd go for the one domain if the sole purpose was to get high PR. That way you concentrate all your incoming links plus all your content in one place (bodytext, titles, keywords). PR 7 and 8 is not easy to beat, especially not if you have to do it for many sites at the same time.

I do follow the idea of "easy entrypoints" though - that's customer focus. What are your competitors doing?


BTW: Welcome to WebmasterWorld :)


10:41 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Most sites on top of the search results just cover one topic, gadgets, widgets or things in one language. Those sites mostly have PR 5 or 6. There are not so many direct competitors covering all topics (those have PR 7 - 8).

Sorry if the information above about PR 7 - 8 was misleading. Comparing PR of the sites competing for the words we are targeting we would need five sites with at least PR 6 and ten sites with at least PR 5 to be present in all languages. Most sites in the top ten are present there with their homepage, not a sub-page.

If we concentrate everything on one domain we would still need the entry points for languages / topics so I guess this would mean to go for the version with 1 main domain and 14 entrypoint domains with re-directs to the subpage of the main domain.


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