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Should I Cannibalize My Own Traffic To Get A New Business Off The Grou


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11 replies to this topic

#1 mollyow

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:47 AM

For the past several years I have had an online store selling a product licensed from another company, let's say Corny® brand cornholders. Over the years selling these things I have become dissatisfied with their quality and convinced I can do better, so I have started manufacturing MyBrand® cornholders and selling them on a new website. I feel the new business ultimately has more potential although at the moment the Corny brand is the one people search for by name.

 

My Corny site is well established and it gets lots of organic traffic from Google, although much of it is to info pages that don't convert. One page that inexplicably gets a ton of traffic is an FAQ page explaining that Corny cornholders do not offer a particular feature. Not surprisingly, this page doesn't convert often. Savvy businesswoman that I am, I have designed MyBrand cornholders to offer this feature. It occurs to me that all these visitors would be better off visiting a page on the new, MyBrand site, where they could buy cornholders with the feature they are interested in. So, I am thinking of 301 redirecting this page to a new page on the MyBrand site, where people can find and buy the cornholders of their dreams.

 

Once this idea occurred to me, I wondered if there were other pages on the Corny site that might be redirected to the new site with better results. I have several pages that get lots of traffic but convert poorly, but the keyword info indicates customers might be more pleased with MyBrand products. I am thinking of redirecting these pages to the new site. 

 

What are people's thoughts on this? Obviously I'll lose traffic to my existing site, but it's traffic that doesn't seem to be paying off much anyway. Is it foolish to cannibalize visitors this way? Will there be repercussions with Google, beyond simply shifting some visitors to the new site?



#2 Jill

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:54 AM

As soon as you redirect that page elsewhere, it's likely that all that traffic you were receiving from it will be lost. So I can't see how that could be a good strategy.

 

If it's possible, my thoughts are why not add links and information about your product on that faq page that say, "If you're looking for a product that has X, you might be interested in Y."

 

That gives you the best of both worlds. 



#3 mollyow

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 09:04 AM

Yikes, that doesn't sound good. But I'm missing something then. If 301 redirects can transfer "link juice" when a page moves, why can't they do the same in this case?



#4 qwerty

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 09:49 AM

The redirect will transfer the link juice, but the on-page content on the old page is only on the old page. The redirect will keep the spiders (and everyone else) from seeing the old page, so unless the new page is optimized for the same keyword phrases as well as the old page was, the link juice alone isn't likely to be enough to get the new page to rank on those searches.



#5 mollyow

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:11 AM

The redirect will transfer the link juice, but the on-page content on the old page is only on the old page. The redirect will keep the spiders (and everyone else) from seeing the old page, so unless the new page is optimized for the same keyword phrases as well as the old page was, the link juice alone isn't likely to be enough to get the new page to rank on those searches.

 

That makes perfect sense, thanks!

 

So, if I were going to attempt this, it should only be to redirect to new pages that are well optimized for the same keyword phrases (or can be made that way). I do have a few that I think might qualify, based on the fact that they are already ranking OK for those same keyword phrases despite being on a brand-new site. 

 

What do you think of what this guy is suggesting? Is this bound to backfire since Google has already obviously decided which pages it thinks are most relevant for the phrase "Milwaukee SEO?"



#6 qwerty

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:34 AM

I didn't read all the comments on that post, but yes, the possibility exists that Google will decide that the page to which you're redirecting isn't as relevant to the query as the old page was. A safer strategy would have been for the tag page to link to the page they wanted to rank with anchor text that indicated relevance, which is pretty much what Jill suggested, and the only potential problem I can see with that is that an extra click can sometimes lead to users bouncing out. You'd be adding an extra step to the process.

 

I think the thing to do is to try Jill's suggestion first: add a link from the FAQ page to the relevant page on the new site, with a clear call to action indicating that if you're looking for this particular feature, the new site is where you'll find it. Give it a month or two, and keep an eye on whether people are clicking that link, whether people are reaching the new page directly from the SERP and most importantly, whether your conversions have improved. If it doesn't appear to be working, you can always try the redirect.



#7 Jill

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:46 AM

The article you linked to is talking about redirecting pages within one site. 

 

It's a whole 'nother ballgame redirecting between 2 different sites. There are many factors at play which could cause everything to go up in smoke if aren't 100% positive of what you're doing (and of all the factors at play).



#8 mollyow

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 12:04 PM

Thanks much for your thoughts and advice. Very glad I asked before I tried it and threw away a bunch of traffic.

 

I have tried some links as you suggested, Jill, but have run into other issues. "Corny Inc." has an eager legal team that likes to complain about brand confusion in cases where their trademarks appear on the same page as links to competing products. I think they have a pretty liberal interpretation of IP law, but since they are my gravy train right now, I remove links when they ask me to. I will need to get more creative if I'm going to manage to include links that are conspicuous enough for someone to actually click on.

 

I might do a couple tests with pages that aren't too important/popular and see what I can find. At any rate, I'm prepared now to see the traffic disappear, so will not go in blindly!

 

Thanks again.



#9 ElvisH

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 05:20 AM

The redirect will transfer the link juice, but the on-page content on the old page is only on the old page. The redirect will keep the spiders (and everyone else) from seeing the old page, so unless the new page is optimized for the same keyword phrases as well as the old page was, the link juice alone isn't likely to be enough to get the new page to rank on those searches.

 

I agree, but you need to do it in the right order:


1. write content for new website - for each page try to copy and imitate, as much as you can, the old page's content and structure , just replace names and brands (pay attention to copyrights!)

if you have to change the text, try to write something equivalent ex.
old page- “Corny producing whatever since 1888”

new page “MyBrand is a new company founded in 2013 producing high quality whatever”



2.prepare all redirections code (but don't activate it yet)
 

3.only after writing all page's redirections and new content/title/keywords/images... update the content on new pages.

 

4.activate the redirections immediately (!!) after uploading the new page's content

 

 

steps 2-4 meant to prevent from google to treat the new content as copied, the idea is to execute steps 3-4 simultaneously



#10 chrishirst

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 09:41 AM

but you need to do it in the right order:

 

No you don't, because as soon as the redirect is in place the original content effectively ceases to exist, so will NOT be available any longer, duplicate content filtering is NOT instantaneous AND the new URLs are unlikely to be indexed without any links pointing to it, so as the redirect is applied content 'A' disappears and content 'B' appears.in that same instant.



#11 ElvisH

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:17 AM

 

No you don't, because as soon as the redirect is in place the original content effectively ceases to exist, so will NOT be available any longer, duplicate content filtering is NOT instantaneous AND the new URLs are unlikely to be indexed without any links pointing to it, so as the redirect is applied content 'A' disappears and content 'B' appears.in that same instant.

 

one day gap between the new page upload till the redirect apply is enough for google to visit the new pages while the old ones still visible.
I wouldn't take the risk that google will decide its duplicated.
 



#12 chrishirst

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:09 PM

So you think that Google will manage to find ALL the new URLs (without any links), crawl them, index them, AND compare the documents at URL 'A' and URL 'B' in the space of twenty four hours.

 

 

C'mon!,Instead of spreading FUD about "duplicate content penalties" which still do not exist, join the real world, where it can take several months for Google to start filtering EXACT duplicates never mind near duplicates that will only exist for what is the merest blink of an eye in Internet time scales.






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