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I have had a look through the duplicate content issues previously posted, and not quite found an answer to my query. I know multiple store-fronts is a common e-commerce technique, but would three domains, owned by the same company and configured to sell roughly the same goods be considered questionable in regard to Google's duplicate content rules?
The sites in question have between 70 and 90% similar HTML fingerprints. Until a little while ago two of the three domains were doorway pages to the third. Now they are the same shop (just about) differently styled.
Thank you in advance, and I sincerely hope this is in the right place.
If you want to improve the chance that more than one domain gets shown on a given search, you would probably need to re-write the text content (product descriptions, etc) - and ideally give each domain a unique reason to exist, such as some kind of value-added feature not present on the other two.
I'd suggest you put yourself in the end user's position. Would you like to be offered two or three top search results that each take you to pretty much the same old thing? Probably not, and that's essentially the way Google sees it, too. So even if the product selection is nearly the same, something has got to be unique about the sites.
It's not actually me, but a competitor. I've been looking at how the others do it for tips on improving my own site (and what to really avoid like the plague) and caught sight of it. Their sites rank 9, 24 and 36 for the same search term when switching to google 100 view.
I was not sure if it was something that should be reported to google for duplicate content, but I'm guessing the crawler will sort it out.
Thank you again,
But if they have duplicated the database and changed the content slightly, maybe that would be a safer option?
The only issues I would avoid is using a shared server for all three sites and interlinking them. I would target different keywords with different content to the first site... ranking 2nd and 3rd for the same keyword is not going to increase conversion rates a lot so I would much rather target site 2 with a totally different keyword/phrase seo plan.
The bottom line is, I think I would much rather build a brand new site from scratch with new content, new keywords, new IP address, a different CMS, and a different link building pattern to get you started. It seems a much safer option.
Should a site that does use shared servers and link to one another while having considerably cookie-cutter content be flagged for duplicate content?
I'm with you. I would rather have separate stores with unique merchandise and web presence, and while these are graphically different, a quick look at what's being sold and any sub-pages shows identical copy paste content.
Is it only Google who can decide the definition of "a site that is duplicated to manipulate the search results" or is there a definition lingering around somewhere.
Thank you all for your help. Looking at my competitors over the past few weeks has shown me a great deal of what not to do, and not much about good practices!
I cant be sure how long it will take for Google to catch up on them, but I would say its inevitable.
I've been looking at the respective sites, and it's not just snippets, it's whole pages. Identical product description, about us etc. There is some variation, but not much. Hopefully google will catch up with them soon. They didn't notice the doorway pages for a fair while!