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Can you helpful people offer advice / suggestions on
what is likely to work or the best way to use 50 domains to benefit a main site?
[edited by: AngelsAdvocate at 8:01 am (utc) on Oct. 9, 2006]
For what it's worth, each site should almost feel like they have their own identity on the web. Content scraping from the main site won't get you anywhere.
I'm guessing that in the end, trying to manage all 50 sites would be a major pain in the a$$. Unless you leave all the sites alone and never update the content on a regular basis.
50 sounds a bit much, no matter how you slice it. However, it would make one heck of a case study into G's algo, assuming all the sites are within the same nich. Apply a different SEO strategy for each one, and see which ones climb in the serps faster.
As far as making it worth while - I happen to work for a company that has 5 websites. All sites are within the same niche. Got some pretty good links placed for one site, located on a 3 of the other ones. However, thats about all I can manage. Between link building, content writing, and other marketing ventures, I couldn't handle any more.
And where are these 50 domains getting any power to send back to the main site? They'll need their own link popularity and trust to have any noticeable impact (on Google specifically) - which means good content and a lot of link dev - if you're going to put all that effort in, why not just put it into the main site instead of creating a network to boost the main site?
On a related note, this is a common question and the arguments go back and forth whether one should build a new site or incorporate it into an existing one. Many, including myself, advocating creating one big authority site.
Sometimes it's easier to push the edges than it is to think through what needs to be done to acquire honest links. But pushing the edges is really for sites with their backs against the walls.
I can say it's better to acquire existing websites (instead of domains) and point links from those into the main site, but I honestly could not recommend it if it's not in an edgy niche. Does your client want to go down a best-practices road? Are they in it for the long run?
There's a time to push the edges, so weigh if your client may or may not be in the space for that kind of activity.
So what would be the best way to use these 50 domains in your opinion?
You can cross-link in moderation, but it's not going to do much good until the "weight" of each domain gets rolling. It's a big-old job, and not to be taken on lightly, least you jeopardize the core domain. The days of easy index spamming and promotion through sheer numbers of backlinks are no longer with us.
They win because they get free, hosted sites that have every chance of gaining serious traffic and readership.
You win by getting that traffic pointed at your main site through links that you control.
My suggestion to you is to split those 50 sites into 5 separate networks - 10 interlinked sites on each. Then you may try different SEO techniques on each network, so if 1 gets banned you still have 4 left. Don't interlink the networks. I also wouldn't go more than 50 pages per site - and as tedster suggested add them gradually. MAKE EXTRA SURE YOU DON'T HAVE DUPLICATE CONTENT ANYWERE.
Also, as MrStitch said, it would probalbly be better to put each network on it's own IP address (though, I know of few cases where IP didn't make a difference, so this is somewhat speculative)
You can cross-link in moderation, but it's not going to do much good until the "weight" of each domain gets rolling. It's a big-old job, and not to be taken on lightly, least you jeopardize the core domain. The days of easy index spamming and promotion through sheer numbers of backlinks are no longer with us."