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Will Merging Two Sites Consolidate Page Rank?

     
7:42 pm on Oct 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If you take two sites with modest page rank (one is a PR4, the other a PR3) and merge them together, how likely is it that they will enjoy any sort of consolidated boost in link juice / page rank?

I am particularly asking about "link juice" and the ability to improve rankings, as opposed to just purely increasing the reported numeric page rank value in the PR toolbar.

On the other hand, how likely is it to tank rankings?

Both are ecommerce sites that have been foundering in google search over the last several years. Their products are not particularly complimentary (one is apparel, one is decor). On the other hand, they USED to be all on one site and were split into two sites back in late 2009.
9:00 pm on Oct 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Things like anchor text relevance and overall backlink diversity are probably more important than raw pagerank.

Also keep in mind that pagerank has a log scale, so that for instance an "average PR4" has about 7 times as much link juice as an "average "PR3"
10:09 pm on Oct 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the input.

running out of ideas here...
11:43 pm on Oct 6, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is the purpose of the merge to get one site ranking, where two sites are not? I've no idea if that will work, but it's not a strategy I'd burn two decent sites on.

If you are going to 301 A over to B, step 2 should be to start getting your backlinks to A to change to link to B.

I merged two sites that were about pr4 a few years ago. Resulting site has a PR4. Then I went and got as many backlinks moved as I could.

IMO quality and relevance of backlinks these days is way more important than PR. PR is a simply a volume indicator. Quality and relevance (in addition to quantity) are what will rank. And in your case, it sounds like you may be getting some unrelated links from one site - which means it likely won't make a huge difference in ranking.

Look at it this way. If you take a pr5 site selling cars, and redirect it to a PR0 site selling purses, do you expect that the PR0 site will now rank for purses? Or cars? Or neither? I don't actaully know what happens, but I bet it might rank a bit for cars, but not anything else.
12:02 am on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't actaully know what happens, but I bet it might rank a bit for cars, but not anything else.

There was actually an interesting test done a couple of years ago with the results posted here that indicated page content (or lack thereof, which was the case in the test) could basically override link text and the page would not rank for the text in the links, so I wouldn't expect "cars" being in the links having any positive effect on the page's rankings.
4:24 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@ wheel:

Thanks for the response.

"Is the purpose of the merge to get one site ranking, where two sites are not?"

Yes, sort of.

The two sites USED TO BE ONE SITE, but I split them into two back in 2009.

So the old site has some 301 redirects to the new site. If I move the products back to the original site, I would, of course, remove the 301 redirects from the original site to the new site, and add 301 redirects from the new site back to the original site.

Sorry, that is confusing. this might clarify:

1) Moved some products from Site A to Site B (a new site)

2) Those products did BETTER on Site B (the new site) for the first few years then they had been doing when they were on Site A .

3) Both sites have drifted into irrelevance lately. Site B looks like it was hit by Panda 3.4 and Penguin 2, but has recovered somewhat.

Now I wonder if moving the products from their new home on Site B back to their original home on Site A would help out in any way, shape, or form.

Although the products are different, there is a "sort of" commonality in that they share a common location; meaning, the products are either from - or associated strongly - with a certain part of the world.

~~~

The other thought is that if I combine the sites I can cut down expenses and headaches a little bit, too, and try and work on projects that might actually make money instead.
5:54 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I did this in 2011, 301'ing a low traffic site to a much stronger site on the same topic and for 6 months to a year it gave the stronger site an extra boost on terms that the weaker site had been ranking better for (due to being more focused on those terms and some good links it attracted as a consequence).

Eventually the boost faded, I think partly due to links to the old site being removed when webmasters saw it no longer existed and partly because a bit of oomph is lost in the 301.

So basically I gained some short term benefit and reduced my workload, but that was it.

I think the weaker site would have faded anyway had I kept it going but, judging by other sites I've left on autopilot, may have retained some rankings/traffic.

Looking back it was no big loss for me, the work maintaining it didn't justify the return, although it might have been interesting to see how it handled the various Google updates compared to the stronger site.
6:48 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for sharing the experience, muzza64.
6:52 pm on Oct 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Aide from link juice / page rank, the other consideration is whether there is really a concrete thing such as "trust" or "authority".

My thought is that if I move Site B back onto Site A (which is a lot older), then I might benefit from any extra "trust / authority" that site might have.
12:55 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Planet13, have you looked at organic traffic to each of these pages? I would start there and not worry so much about the PR rank.

In addition, Google hasn't updated the posted PR score in almost 10 months and in fact a few days ago someone from Google stated that they would NOT be updating the visible score going forward. In essence, the PR ranks you're looking at may be out of date.

I would loo more at the existing Organic traffic and may decisions based on that. Side question... why did you split your site into two sites?
1:56 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@ anim8tr

I would start there and not worry so much about the PR rank.


Right. I AM worries about traffic - which has been declining for both sites for quite some time now. I am not worried about numeric page rank value. Just the organic traffic is all I care about.

Side question... why did you split your site into two sites?


We sell two somewhat distinct groups of items (apparel and home decor). When they were both on ONE site, the people who bought apparel never bought any of the decor, and the people who bought the decor never bought any of the apparel.

The domain name was somewhat vague, so I created a new, second domain that better reflected the type of decor we sell and moved all the decor to the new domain. This was back in 2009 when exact match and partial match domains had a lot of power, so the new domain had a partial match domain name.

The decor on the new site (partial match domain) did better than it used to do on the old site (vague domain name).

the new domain started to gain steam in July 2011, hit it's best in Jan / Feb 2012, got hit by Panda 3.4 on March 23rd, 2013, got hit again by Penguin 2.0 on May 22nd, 2013, made a slight recovery with Panda 4
4:06 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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okay, got it. If they are distinctly different, I would keep them separate.

If you were truly impacted by Panda and Penguin, combining both won't really do much until you find out why you were hit so hard. If I were you, I'd worry more about why your site was hit so hard and then take care of those issues. It's time better spent...
6:42 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, anim8tr.

yeah, I have been trying to figure out why they were hit for several years now.

The only other factor is that Site B (which has the decor on it) has both ecommerce pages and also has a blog on it (with articles, not so much blog news). The articles on the blog get the majority of traffic, but they don't convert into sales

I've pretty much tried everything to get the people who land on the blog pages for the articles to go onto the ecommerce pages to shop, and I haven't had any success. We are talking .01% conversion rate for those blog pages (as in, one/one hundreth of a percent conversion rate).

I sometimes wonder if the overwhelming popularity of my blog articles (which google sees as information only pages) is "poisoning" the ecommerce pages. Maybe google is seeing that people come to my blog and don't go to my ecommerce pages and google thinks, "Wow, their ecommerce pages must suck!" and then reduces traffic to my ecommerce pages.
7:37 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Will Merging Two Sites Consolidate Page Rank?

Pagerank has a log scale, which means that you can't simply add them together. If I remember correctly, the available link juice increases by a factor of about 7 for each numerical step, so that a PR4 has about 7 times as much punch as a PR3. So if you combine them, the likely result will be

PR3 + PR4 = PR4 (a slightly higher PR4)

Also, the relevance of the anchor text of the various backlinks could suffer if you combine them..

I've always built my sites around one central theme or subject. I don't think it's esthetically pleasing to try to juxtapose two different subjects in one site.
8:05 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thank you, Aristotle.

It just seems that there has been a "resurgence" of the bigger content farm sites lately, and I thought that just having "more stuff on one site" was kind of the way to go.
8:27 pm on Oct 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I used to make vector diagrams of my websites which showed the main entry points for incoming link juice and how it was re-distributed within the site. You might try doing this for the proposed combination of your two sites as an aid to understanding the various options.
1:27 pm on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Planet13, I would stay focused on your content (blog, etc) to draw more search traffic and visibility in the SERP.

As I'm sure you know, most eCommerce pages do not rank well primarily because they lack content.

If your blog articles aren't converting well, then probably the call to action isn't addressing the user's original need in relation to their search. You're probably attracting alot of broad based search traffic... you likely need to focus in on more specific keywords and solutions.
 

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