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One Site, Two Servers- Am I Making A Mistake?


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10 replies to this topic

#1 10chiens

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:36 PM

Hi, I'm brand new to this forum, and excited to get your advice.

My question: Are there negative indexing consequences for hosting part of my website on one host server, and another part on another server?

My website is divided into two types of pages. Server "A" hosts informational pages (an online library of several thousand pages of information about the history of the business that I'm in, plus lots of biographies of famous people in our business, with rare photos, an online museum featuring displays of equipment that they used, etc.). Server "B" hosts an online store where you can purchase about 5,000 different products from our business category. My domain.com is located on Server "A", and I've created a subdomain called shop.domain.com with the DNS pointed at Server "B".

The reason for this mess is that my website has been active since 1997, and through hard work, I was able to early on get excellent search engine positions for important keywords. When I moved the ecommerce section to a new host in 2008, I did not want to move the whole domain for fear of impacting the rankings. Also, the thousands of information pages eat up bandwidth, which is much cheaper on Server "A". So I kept the info pages there.

Am I diluting the strength of my pages by having them on different servers? There is NO duplication of pages (or copy) between the servers.

Also, most of the links that are on my front page (Server A) are links to products, which are on Server B. Is that going to look like my home page is a link farm of sorts, with almost all links leading offsite?

I've noticed a drop in my rankings for certain keywords over the past month or so, and I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong. I know there are many, many other factors to be looked at, but I'm trying to do this methodically.

If you think I need to have all of my pages coming from the same server, please let me know. If you don't think it matters, I'd like to know that, too.

And if there is anything you think I should be mindful of in my situation- that's why I'm asking the experts!

Thanks very much.

#2 Jill

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 02:56 PM

It should all be seamless to the search engines, so no, it shouldn't be a problem.
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#3 chrishirst

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 06:43 AM

My question: Are there negative indexing consequences for hosting part of my website on one host server, and another part on another server?

Nope

Also, the thousands of information pages eat up bandwidth, which is much cheaper on Server "A". So I kept the info pages there

Seems like a good enough reason to me.

Is that going to look like my home page is a link farm of sorts, with almost all links leading offsite

Link 'farms' are a specific type of link manipulation scheme, and simply having lots of 'offsite' links doesn't come anywhere near what a link farm is.
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#4 10chiens

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:02 AM

Great information- thank you!

Just one more specific question so I can put this whole issue to rest in my mind:
Am I correct in concluding then that domain.com and shop.domain.com are seen by the search engines as being sections of the same site?

Just want to be sure that the links to shop.domain.com from domain.com are not seen as being offsite links, but are seen as links deeper within the site.

Also want to be sure that I am not diluting the "link juice" to domain.com. Some of our company's "fans" link to domain.com, and some to pages in shop.domain.com. Want to be sure all these links are helping domain.com.

Thanks so much for taking the time to give me such excellent replies. I have been struggling with this issue and until now have not been able to get such a clearcut and direct answer. Much appreciated, much indebted!

#5 Jill

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:53 AM

If you are linking from the sub domain pages to the root domain you will be passing any link popularity it gets to the root domain.

#6 chrishirst

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 02:29 PM

To search engines, how you link to the various document URLs defines what is considered to be a "site", not necessarily the "parent" domain name.

#7 10chiens

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 03:57 PM

To search engines, how you link to the various document URLs defines what is considered to be a "site", not necessarily the "parent" domain name.


Is there a specific way I should be linking between the sites?
I'm not sure I'm understanding what you mean.
I link between the domain.com and shop.domain.com using absolute URLS.
The shop.domain.com part has a link to the home page (on the domain.com server) on every page.
There are links as well from pages on the shop.domain.com section to specific information pages on the domain.com server. (For example, there is a link on some product pages to the biography of the person who invented that particular product).
The domain.com pages have links as well to specific product pages on the shop.domain.com server. (The biography page of an inventor has links to the products he invented that we sell).
These links are absolute paths.

Is this what you mean?

#8 chrishirst

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:59 AM

Nope, nothing to do with that aspect of "how", simply because to link outside of the current hostname, an "absolute" href must be used. It is the structure of the linking (the site navigation) that creates the "one site" effect.

If you treat the sub domains or "mini sites" on other domain names in the navigation exactly as you would if all the documents were on a single hostname, so will search engines. After all the definition of a website is:
"A collection or series of related documents connected by a hierarchial system of Uniform Resource Locaters (URLs)"

t(For example, there is a link on some product pages to the biography of the person who invented that particular product).
The domain.com pages have links as well to specific product pages on the shop.domain.com server. (The biography page of an inventor has links to the products he invented that we sell).

I don't see any problem with that it adds value to the users and gives much more scope for being found from search than any amount of "keyword content" will do.

#9 torka

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:02 AM

Exactly. My employer's main website is on four domains. For many years, the domains were split between two servers (all consolidated on one now, but with different IP addresses for some sections). Similar reasons to yours -- different portions of the site coming up at different times, needing to move hosts, yadda yadda yadda. All pages share a common look and feel, and common menus in which I treat all the pages as though they belong to a single site. The default page on domain.com acts as the home page for the entire site, while the default pages for each other domain act as the top-level pages for their specific sections of the site. The default page for the domain domainstore.com (the ecommerce part) acts as the top-level page for the "products" section of the site, as an example.

The technical part is as Chris says: you have to use absolute links when linking from one domain to another. Beyond that, just discipline yourself to think of the entire site as one site, regardless of how many domains and servers you're talking about. Then link from one page to another as you naturally would if they were all on the same domain. Easy-peasy, and exactly what Google's looking for -- a totally natural linking pattern.

You can get links to any page you want -- in fact, you should be seeking links for "interior" pages (on either domain) as well as your main home page. In my experience, as long as you're naturally linking the pages of your site through internal navigation and inline links, they'll spread the love around the site (regardless of domain) just fine.

--Torka :propeller:

#10 10chiens

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 11:51 AM

Thanks for the info.

I was a bit worried about having a site that is divided between two different IP addresses, but I guess that's fine. :-)

Next question (since I have your attention LOL):
Does having my store on a different IP address than my home page affect the bounce rate for the home page domain? Most of my customers land on the home page and then immediately click through to something in the store. So the bounce rate for the domain.com is very high, even though from a user point of view, they are continuing to view my material (and hopefully buying something!). Also, the time spent on domain.com is minimal- mere seconds, according to my stats. Pages viewed= 2. This can't possibly be reflecting all the activity on my combined site.

So does my split personality site affect the bounce rate and time spent on site stats for domain.com, and thus affect my Google ranking for domain.com?

#11 Jill

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:02 PM

Sure, it affects your bounce rate as related to you by your Google Analytics, but since you know why it's occurring, it should be of no concern.




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