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Over the years we have had 4 web sites that have been on the same subject but with different content (really the same but with different page names and differnt wording but promoting the same 'products').
It was set up this way so that different people could write different content and see who could generate the most business.
Now we're thinking (at last) that competing against ourselves and diluting the effort we could put into 1 site across 4 sites was self-defeating.
Having all finally agreed not to pursue this method and to just concentrate our efforts into one web site the question now is what to do with the other sites?
As they have all been running for three or four years they have naturally acquired their own back links is there anyway we can re-direct those sites to our main site without even the possibility of Google penalising our main site?
If we can re-direct them to our main site will it benifit from the back links of the other sites? (that would be nice).
All the best
This doesn't really apply to our situation as our sites are not duplicates (although I guess that the outcome will be the same).
Is the consensus that a 301 re-direct will have absolutely NO negative impact on our main site?
If there's any risk of Google taking offence at 3 sites starting to point to a fourth site then I think we should leave all as-is.
It is wrong to say there is NO risk at all; but there is no safer way, and if done right, 301s are pretty safe.
Anyway, the selected site will not lose; the worst that can happen is is will not gain as much as you hoped.
Either way, avoiding the dilution, visitor confusion and self-competing more than justifies the move in this case.
Go for it!
Consider this, the main site *might* be doing well on one keyword, but not another. Have the other sites SEOed to different keywords and phrases. That way you get maximum serps coverage.
If the content is not duplicate, you are not *really* competing with yourself, you are marketing yourself better.
Not necesarily so. you are duplicating your marketing and SEO effort, with little likely advantage.
Packing the serps with a bunch of near clones is frustrating and confusing for visitors, and is not very likely to increase conversion rates.
Selling a site to a competitor may be a good deal, but is so fraught with risks and unknowns, that I really cannot think of a more unwise move, in most circumstances.
Building the one best site you can, best utilizing all your ideas, skills and resources, will almost always be the most efficient way to go. Plus all your incoming links will be to one domain, not split between several. Hit them 301s!
EXCEPT: If you are selling one product to more than one target audience, then there may be a stronger case for more than one site..
Fictional example: You are selling shoes that (you believe) are perfect for the sailing fraternity, for all sorts of grip and safety reasons.
A friend points out that the built-in magnetic compass, swiveling the wearer to face magnetic north in winds of >15 knots, ties in beautifully with a new dance craze hitting 15 year olds - the "Windup" - and he reckons you could sell millions as fashion accessories.
These markets are rather different, with a small overlap, and very different needs.
I'd go for two sites, in that kind of scenario.
[edited by: Quadrille at 4:37 pm (utc) on Feb. 7, 2007]
Packing the serps with a bunch of near clones
Oh I agree with that completely. But if they are not near clones, but are orignal, there is nothing wrong at all with hving multiple sites of the same theme.
If they *are* near clones, that should be fixed. It *IS* good marketing and not a waste of SEO if you can gain more keywords AND your other sites are providing useful content.
What if you have say 20 domains that you dont want to lose, but want to 301 the rest (could be hundreds of domains) in to those 20.
What happens to the links the sites that were 301'd to the 20? Does it transfer the backlink to the said redirect?
Also, lets say that you do have a lot of domains you wanted to 301 to those 20, what would happen to the rankings on those "lots" of sites? Would the rankings transfer to the respective domain you did the 301 to? meaning if you had 100 sites ranking for 100 keywords, would those rankings dissapear completely or would they eventually be replaced by the domain it is 301'd by.
Something tells me that if it was 301'd regardless if it was unique or duplicate content, it would lose rankings on any search engine, and take quite some time to get rankins back for the keywords it was intended for. I have done 301's before and seen some success in Google, but while Google runs the search world, I can't forget about Yahoo, MSN, etc and there is a really good chance that those domains may or may not rank very well on them. Very difficult situation for people to make that have a lot of domains.
Or --- correct / debate / tell me better. :)