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Multiple Sites Linking To Main Site All On Same Server


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7 replies to this topic

#1 rosietudor

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:11 AM

I've been trying to clear up the bad link profile of a company's main website, one thing I've come across is that they own 50 other websites that are all hosted on the same server (same IP address) and all point to their main site!!!

I'm new to the SEO game but my brief knowledge says this is not good practice and Google penalises this activity - am I right?

If I am right, then I guess the best thing to do is stop all the links going to the main site but the company does get genuine clicks from these other sites to their main one so I was wondering if simply marking all the links as "nofollow" would suffice and Google would then not penalise them for such activities?



#2 Jill

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 07:32 AM

What do you mean by point to?

If they are just redirected domains, it's fine.

#3 chrishirst

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 07:36 AM

I'm new to the SEO game but my brief knowledge says this is not good practice and Google penalises this activity - am I right?

 

The short answers are: (in order)

 

It depends

and

Possibly

 

 

The longer answers are, if the 'mini' sites have good information on them regarding the products or services and exist for REAL users rather than the "link value", then it isn't likely to be a real problem.

If they are simply "thin content" document sites intended for search engine 'benefit', then they could be doing more harm than good for Search.



#4 rosietudor

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:08 AM

Sorry guys, will give some more info...

 

All of the sites have on average 10 pages, I would say most of them have thin content on these pages with a couple being a bit more in depth and potentially warrant being a benefit to real people.

 

When saying point, I meant that all of them have one obvious external (follow) link to a page on the main site.



#5 torka

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:33 AM

If some of them are possibly of use to real human visitors, I'd be careful to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Do any of these sites actually get traffic? Do any of them refer any real traffic to the main site? Does any of the referred traffic (assuming it exists) result in conversions? (You should be able to tell all of this from looking at their web analytics.)

 

I know some people are totally against mini-sites in almost all situations. I'm not one of them, though... My company has a couple of product-specific mini-sites. The products in question are fairly complex, such that it's hard to give people the full story on a single product page in our online store. We don't have anywhere within our existing site hierarchy and navigation where people could easily find this information if it were included on our main site.

 

So, the mini-sites are there to give additional information to people who want it. We've found that the traffic that comes to (or comes back to) our store pages after viewing the mini-site converts at a significantly higher rate than those who didn't visit the site. Which is why we don't just link from the mini-site to the store page, we also link from the store page back to the mini-site.

 

My thoughts:

 

If a mini-site is already sending converting traffic to the main site, and it offers additional information or details that aren't available through the main site, then I'd probably keep it. Figure out what you can do to make it even better. (This will probably be a relatively small number of the 50 existing sites, if there are in fact any that fall into this category at all.) The alternative -- if it works with your existing site architecture -- would be to migrate all the good mini-site content over to the main site and 301-redirect the old mini-site pages to the locations where the same information can now be found on the main site.

 

If the mini-site doesn't get any traffic(or only very little) -- or if all it does is repeat information that's already available on the main site -- I'd say definitely get rid of it. Use 301 redirects to send whatever little traffic the mini-site pages did get over to the most relevant page(s) on the main site.

 

My :02:, adjusted for inflation.

 

--Torka :propeller:


Edited by torka, 09 October 2013 - 08:35 AM.
additional thoughts


#6 rosietudor

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:05 AM

That's really helpful Torka - thanks for your lengthy insight!

 

The mini sites simply offer info about a specific product and then a link to the main site where you can buy it.  They are free from any branding or other products that may dilute the keywords they are basically targeting.  When you look at them you would think they are not related to the main site.  The main site that sells the product has it's own content about the product so there is no need for it to link out to the mini sites.

 

The mini sites do get some traffic for a few specific keywords which in turn does make it through to the main site and is converted into business.  Last month it accounted for 10% of the new business generated across all these mini sites.

 

I was considering bringing in the content from the mini sites into the main site as "articles" about the products and 301 redirecting the page on the mini site to the article.

 

The only other options are leave everything as it is and risk a penalty (if one hasn't already been applied) to the main site due to this linking stategory or to change all of the mini site links to the main site into "nofollow" but risk any help they are currently providing being lost.



#7 chrishirst

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 06:04 AM

The mini sites simply offer info about a specific product and then a link to the main site where you can buy it.  They are free from any branding or other products that may dilute the keywords they are basically targeting.

 

So the VERY WORST kind of 'mini site' then, built solely and deliberately for search engine 'rankings.

 

 

I was considering bringing in the content from the mini sites into the main site as "articles" about the products and 301 redirecting the page on the mini site to the article.

 

Don't think about it, just do it.


Edited by chrishirst, 10 October 2013 - 06:06 AM.


#8 rosietudor

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 06:29 AM

So the VERY WORST kind of 'mini site' then, built solely and deliberately for search engine 'rankings.

Yes, I would guess this is the worst type (although content is unique and valuable - just a bit on the thin side) and that is why I need to find the correct solution.  These site are old and were part of poor practice adopted by the company's SEO person many years ago.  They achieved results (and still do to some extent) but recent drops in ranking across the board has meant change is needed (where I come into the mix!).

 

Don't think about it, just do it.

 

I've not done much in terms of 301'ing before.  If said mini site is ranking for a specific phrase in Google, if I set up a new page on the main site, brought in the content and set up the 301 correctly, would that ranking pass over to the new page?

 

I would guess not fully and that is my main worry.  Like I say, the company gets 10% of its new business from these mini sites.  They don't want to lose this.  Is the "nofollow" option not the best idea?

 

If I was to move everything over, the only difference would be the layout/template of the page and (of course) the URL.  The latter is of concern as most of the content sits on www.keyword-phrase.com/variation1.html and would be moving to www.brand-name.com/keyword-phrase-variation1.html.  If the URL has any kind of ranking factor then this surely would have an effect when moved.






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