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Owning multiple sites, duplicate content, and the content farm update

   
6:42 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I have seen several folks in the forums touting the benefits of owning multiple sites.
* You can pass pagerank between them more effectively than if all your content was on a single site.
* You have the opportunity to rank multiple times for the same query.
* You can build similar pages with different wordings targeting search phrase synonyms.
* You spread your risk. Even if Google penalizes one site, they may not penalize all of them.

I have long had a single large site, but would be interested in experimenting with multiple sites. I'm hoping that some folks could jump in with advice and their experiences.

I'm assuming that for it to work well you have to hide the association between the sites from google:
* Use private domain name registration
* Don't link the sites together with the same adsense or analytics accounts
* Host the sites with separate hosting providers
* Have unique content for each site
* Don't interlink the sites heavily (or possibly at all at first)

On the unique content front, we have tons of unique user generated content. More than our main site can possibly display. We publish it all on the main site and put those pages in the site map, but Google only indexes a small fraction of the pages on our main site. If we were to start other sites, would syndicating content from the main site (especially content that is off the beaten path) be a bad move? Would this be a sign of a low quality site to Google (especially given the content farm update)? Or can we get away with actually finding an SEO purpose for this underutilized content?

Given the new content farm algorithm, should I even proceed? What are folks experiences with multiple related sites since content farm?

[edited by: tedster at 6:53 pm (utc) on Feb 28, 2011]
[edit reason] fix formatting problem [/edit]

7:44 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



From my personal experience:
- own/operate several sites with somewhat related content (travel content/reservations, but each site focuses on a different location)
- all are registered to the same registered owner with no private whois
- sites are interlinked from main index page and some cross-linking in relevant sub-pages
- all use the same AdSense account
- all hosted on the same server with the same IP
- mostly unique content for each site, but with some overlap (some shared discussion boards)

I'm not going to jinx myself and say that all is great. But I have been doing it this way for year with no plans to change. I am of the opinion that the more you try to hide things from Google, the more guilty you will look once (not if) Google blows away the smoke screen. YMMV.
7:56 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



I completely agree about being above board all the way. I have many clients who run multiple sites. They are all obviously from the same company and they have been nothing but assets.

Sure, they sometimes duplicate some content, but it's never a big percentage. All that happens is all but one url gets filtered - and even that isn't dependable. I would caution not to chase after big keywords by duplicating content.
9:11 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)



Thanks LifeinAsia you just saved me writing precisely the same:-)
2:04 am on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



All that happens is all but one url gets filtered - and even that isn't dependable. I would caution not to chase after big keywords by duplicating content

Can you say more ? I mean if a regional domain TLD was ranking well for a trophy keyword , have you seen the introduction of a .COM site wipe out the higher ranking site.

I'm actually observing some sites that use the same content on different TLD's and sometimes the SERP's look messy with their multiple domains all ranking highly for the same or similar content.
2:15 am on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



No, ccTLDs don't usually conflict with a .com at all.
6:10 am on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Have seen both versions succeed (and vise versa).
6:21 am on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



What if they are interlinked. Can Google get confused with which one to filter and which one to rank ?
3:37 pm on Mar 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



They often ARE interlinked. I haven't seen any problems from that. Of course, anything can happen when you're talking about processing huge piles of data.
11:04 am on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)



tedster,

This post is crossposted from: [webmasterworld.com...]

If you owned a large site that sold every type of widget, is it unethical and punishable in Google's eyes to launch a bunch of sites to provide assistance to the main site?

For instance, if my site was allwidgets.com, would Google get ticked off if I launched bluewidgets.com, orangewidgets.com, and widgettips.com and provided Blogrolls back to allwidgets.com? I would be SEOing these sites for their respect widget keywords and linking them to the related internal pages on allwidgets.com. I'm essentially creating my own backlinks, but don't I have the right to expand my company's online presence with more sites?
3:01 pm on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



For instance, if my site was allwidgets.com, would Google get ticked off if I launched bluewidgets.com, orangewidgets.com, and widgettips.com and provided Blogrolls back to allwidgets.com?


I have done this. Launched my biggest site 12 years ago that aims to be the one-stop information site for my target market. Big site with multiple topics.

In the last 5 years, I've launched smaller sites catering to a particular topic originally covered by my big site.

These microsites allowed me to get better rankings for the niche keywords, while some keywords allow me to get 2 spots in the top 10 for the big and small site.

Pretty much unique content for each; very minimal cross posting. Links in the blog roll, and RSS feeds in the sites' footer, and some in the body.

Big site slightly affected by Panda for some article contribution from other authors. Smaller sites, no, as we hardly allow contributors unless exclusive.
4:00 pm on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I've worked (or consulted) on this type of situation three times now - once for me, and twice for clients.

In my situation, it seems to have worked amazingly well, and in fact, I'm looking to do it with another set of sites in 2011-12.

For one client, it also worked very well - but we had a bunch of technical issues and we had to go in and clean a lot of stuff up last year. We split one big site into four, and all of them are doing quite well now (though I think the client is going to sell off one of them)

For the last client, I was only consulting, and I made a bunch of recommendations that they didn't really execute well. That whole situation is a mess, and if they hadn't had a pretty robust catalog operation in place, they'd be hurting a lot worse than they are.

So my takeaway from these experiences is that yes, you don't need to be hiding or cloaking anything, use common sense in your linking, and make sure you have all your technical ducks in a row. I'm pretty sure it's this last that gummed up the second client's works.
8:22 pm on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)



So what would the best way to go about this be in the scenario I've lined up? Do you think it's overkill to start a bluewidgets.com and have pages that provide links back to the blue widgets for sale on allwidgets.com? What if you start a site that only discusses the widgets and links back frequently?

Thanks.
8:44 pm on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Lots of companies do that with a corporate blog. How successful it is depends on how skillfully it's done. If you're just reiterating on one site what you've already said on the other, it probably won't do you a lot of good. If you're enhancing it some way, you might get some benefit.
6:41 am on Apr 26, 2011 (gmt 0)



I see. What if it's straight products though? Like just a shell of one section of a site, but built entirely on another and linking back to the mother site?
9:42 am on Apr 26, 2011 (gmt 0)



@netmeg "make sure you have all your technical ducks in a row. I'm pretty sure it's this last that gummed up the second client's works. "

What do you mean, for example?
4:51 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)



I second that request. What exactly does that mean? Thanks!
5:36 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



It means they had tons of duplicate content because of products showing up in multiple categories, and not having the urls written WITHOUT the categories in them, they had issues with trailing slash and non trailing slash, they had issues with www and non www, the whole shmear was on IIS (don't get me started) the pages didn't render correctly in all *current* versions of browsers, they have probably 300 links on the home page, in some cases multiple links to the same spot - it was total spaghetti. Only instead of having one big site that was entirely indexed on four different domains, they had four individual sites that were each complete bowls of goo.

I am of the firm opinion that what you keep out of Google is just as important as what you let in, and they didn't keep anything out.
6:27 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



@Netmeg Can you elaborate on this:
and not having the urls written WITHOUT the categories in them
7:48 pm on May 2, 2011 (gmt 0)



I second that request. What exactly does that mean? Thanks!
8:30 pm on May 2, 2011 (gmt 0)



I'm assuming netmeg means that a visitor can get to the Big Blue Widget product with either of these URLs:

www.example.com/big-widgets/big-blue-widget/
www.example.com/blue-widgets/big-blue-widget/

...when it really should have only one URL:

www.example.com/big-blue-widget/

--
Ryan
 

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