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Strongly Interlinking 2 websites

     
10:21 am on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hey guys, I'm working on a clients website that was hit by Panda. I've established a list of questionable links and in the process of having as many removed as possible.

Their traffic has gone from 80,000 uniques a day, down to 40k since Panda 1.0. It's obviously had a massive impact on business as well as within their community. They'd hired a top SEO company to increase traffic, the campaign wasn't a success and after several months cancelled.

Despite the campaign not helping, it's now hurt them badly.

Anyway aside from these links, they own a .org which is purely informational. No ads, sponsored links etc, they developed a line of high quality, cost effective products for their users but didn't feel comfortable selling anything on their .org website.

They created a .com, using their company name, not the name o the .org. Both websites are hosted on different C class IP's, not consciously though. The websites are very tightly linked and share a very similar design.

It's been perfectly fine this way for the past decade, I say fine, it was never ideal, but I have a feeling this is going to be much more problematic under penguin.

I exhausted my persuasion skills, trying to convince them to have the store on the .org. But it's not going to happen, so first I need to establish just how much f a danger this tight interlinking is and second, what measures can I take, to limit the damage?

Their is also certain content that's shared between the domains, which is going to be fixed ASAP.

Many thanks for any advice you can give here.
3:15 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Do you know how much traffic the .org site gets, and whether it was affected by Panda and/or Penguin?
4:41 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi Aristotle, I'm laying in bed with a fever, my brain is functioning at about 10%. My original post says "hit by Panda", it as supposed to say hit by Penguin.

The .org is the one that gets the majority of the traffic.

80,000 uniques a day pre Penguin and 40,000 uniques a day post Penguin. It's definitely penalised by Penguin vs Panda.

Panda actually had no effect at all on either of the websites.

Penguin has had no effect on the site with the shopping cart, which makes me lean toward the interlinking not being an issue.

One of the oddities I've found, is that traffic to the homepage remains unaffected, it's still the top landing page, with equal traffic to pre-penguin, even though that was the sold target of the link building campaign.
6:03 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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One of the oddities I've found, is that traffic to the homepage remains unaffected, it's still the top landing page, with equal traffic to pre-penguin, even though that was the sold target of the link building campaign.

Maybe the questionable external links are not the problem...
maybe internal linkstructure/anchors (and the interlinking of the 2 sites) or onpage factors?
6:25 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi Mirrornl, if interlinking of the 2 sites were a big issue, I'm pretty sure the second domain would have been hit too and harder, as it's domain authority is much lower. According to Opensite Explorer, the main website has an authority of 75 and the domain with the shopping cart, an authority of 35.

The drop happened the day of Penguin, so it's definitely related to links. I don't personally believe internal links could trigger such a response from Penguin. Plus, I cannot see any potential issues with their internal link structure.

I've also found a few hundred spam sites, who link to the .org for no reason other than it's an authority, and they're hoping it's going to improve their own rankings. With javascript turned on, these pages redirect to prescription med pages.
7:26 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi Aristotle, I'm laying in bed with a fever, my brain is functioning at about 10%. My original post says "hit by Panda", it as supposed to say hit by Penguin.



Are you sure that it wasn't hit by both Panda and Penquin, because you said they hired another SEO company that worked on it for several months, whereas Penguin was implemented less than two months ago.

Anyway, is the purpose of the .org site to attract outside visitors and then funnel them to the product site? If so, then the interlinking seems not just natural, but also essential. Or maybe I'm not understanding the strategy.
7:46 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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100%. Traffic never dipped during Panda refreshes.

The only dip the site has ever suffered, is from Penguin v1.0. Where there was an instant and drastic drop in traffic.

The SEO company worked on the .orgs link building in 2011.

The .org is the heart of the website. It's actually a very well known .org and a lifeline to a lot of people, so this drop if preventing tens of thousands of people, finding a much needed solution to their problem.

The products are secondary, and were created due to members demand for a cheaper solution to their problem. Because the owner didn't feel comfortable selling products on a .org, because it was initially setup as a non-profit organisation and didn't want to change that, the .com was setup to sell the products.

It probably all sounds a bit odd, but if you knew the site, it would likely all make a lot more sense.
8:56 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Well you might take a close look at the interlinking between the sites and remove any links that aren't really needed. And no doubt you already know about the main suggestions for Penguin-hit sites being discussed in other threads, such as cleaning up backlinks and de-optimizing internal anchor text and keyword usage.
9:10 pm on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, fortunately, I managed to convince the old SEO company to do the cleanup. They're a massive company, with a huge team of "link architects". They're sending us reports of removed links etc.

Internally, everything is natural. What I'd expect from a non SEO webmaster.
10:20 am on June 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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maybe the second site wasn't hit because of a different backlink profile?
anyway...good luck
2:52 am on June 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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In GWT when I look at the list of incoming links the same sites always appear at the top of the list because they linked to me from a widget of some sort that appears sitewide. Google lists 1000's of incoming links from said domains. I think it would be silly to hurt me on the receiving end because I don't control what they do on their site, in any way, nor will they take the time to exclude my site manually.(I asked)

I also have no way of knowing if its damaging to their site but if one of us is actually penalized I'd like to think it's them so in your case I'd monitor the sites with the links on them closely, not the site receiving them.