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Are we being penalized for 2 sites that used to mirror db?

12:24 am on Dec 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Ok, here goes. We had two separate domains. The first domain was one where we simply used the name of our local repair shop. Our site ranked in the top 3 listings for years. We felt that the name of our domain wasn't so hot.

We sell parts, but primarily, we sell one particular type of part, so I created another site, 5 years later with the name of the part in the domain. I thought I was pretty smart.

Well, you can imagine maintaining two different sites with 100,000 or more items, so we simply mirrored the db from the one site to the other site. We did not have an AdWords account for the second site with the product in the domain name for years.

Our second site produced about 15% of our total sales, not too bad for a mirrored site. Well, we felt that our second site was being penalized by Google, because our PR never rose, so we had the bright idea of creating our second site's own db with only one category from our older site.

Yes, we still had the same products for this one category on both, but we stopped adding products to the old site for this category and have since added thousands of products to the newer site. Our ranking didn't budge, nor did our sales.

We started an AdWords account for the newer site and now our sales for the newer site are up to 30%, of course thanks to PPC ads.

Our older site is not doing so well, even though we are adding unique items to it. I don't know if this is just a Penguin algo issue or if we have screwed ourselves.

I have checked GA for any kind of manual spankings, but there are none.

Has anyone else had experience with this?

[edited by: aakk9999 at 3:09 am (utc) on Dec 14, 2013]
[edit reason] Formatting [/edit]

2:34 am on Dec 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Skatingtoolman, you mention in your post that you felt your second (newer) site was penalised because PR never rose.

But at the end of your post you say that the older site is not doing so well. Was it doing well before and the performance dropped? If the performance has dropped, what kind of drop did you see and over what period of time?

Another thing that strikes me is that you say you have 100,000 pages of products selling mostly one part. These product pages - how much content there is on each? I am wondering whether Google could see them as a thin pages.

With regards to whether it is Penguin algo issue - if it is, then your site would most likely show a sharp drop on a known Penguin update dates. Can you correlate your site performance drop with any of these dates?
3:19 am on Dec 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have a couple sites I've done something similar with meaning, "breaking off pieces" to their own domain, just because it made sense and worked.

One thing I've done I don't see you saying you are is:
When leaving the duplicate product(s) on the main site for people who want to buy those in addition to something else they were already there for, I noindex those pages on the main site, and also use a rel="canonical" to point to the secondary site to make sure there's nothing that looks like "gaming" or "trying to fill the whole first page or the SERPs" on my part.

Other than that, my best guess with a database driven site is content [or lack-there-of] which can be challenging to overcome -- I'd try to think along the lines of more descriptive text relating to the items and possibly even a commenting system [much as I can't stand commenting systems or the headaches they can create], because "thin" content isn't much of a "hit" these days algorithmically.
8:33 pm on Dec 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

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20k links can be worthless if they come from a single domain filled with PR0 pages. Your competition could outpower 20k pr0 links with just a few hundred decent domains linking to them. Quantity without quality is a recipe for a bad time. Often when another website outranks you it is because of link quality. I suggest you look at the backlinks of your site and your competition's site, you might find that they have a better link profile when you dig beneath the surface.
4:52 am on Dec 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I will check for backlinks for both my site and my competitors and compare.
Thank you for the suggestion.
5:06 am on Dec 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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joined:Aug 12, 2006
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Well, that was eye-opening. My competitor has 10,000 backlinks and I have, uh, well 177. How in the heck did they obtain 10,000 backlinks? We have been around much longer than they. Sheesh.

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