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"sister Sites" - Any Risks?


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12 replies to this topic

#1 InfoSponge

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 10:01 AM

A competitor has 2 sites that rank high and sell pretty much the exact same thing. Same phone number, same people running it etc. They even have at least one link referring to their "sister" site.

 

Is there any downside to this? Any lines which if crossed could incur SEO penalties?

 

Thanks in advance!

 



#2 chrishirst

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 04:34 PM

If it's a 'competitor' why does it matter?



#3 torka

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:52 AM

Uhm... why do you ask?

 

(Because I suspect I have an idea of why you want to know...) One thing to keep in mind: there's no way of telling if a competitor is ranking well because of something they're doing, or if they're ranking well in spite of something they're doing. (And just because you see them apparently "doing well" doesn't mean they really are doing well. Search results are personalized; you have no idea how much traffic they're actually getting; and you seriously have no idea how much of that traffic they're converting into actual conversions and revenue.)

 

Mom was right: "because the other kids are doing it" is a terrible reason to do pretty much anything.

 

My :02:

 

--Torka :oldfogey:



#4 Jill

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 10:00 AM

 

Is there any downside to this? Any lines which if crossed could incur SEO penalties?

 

 

 

Yes, there are huge downsides and very often penalties (or filterings) that will occur if you choose to go this route. 



#5 InfoSponge

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 03:25 PM

Just saw the replies. Didn't see a notification.

 

I asked this because I was thinking of making a 2nd site myself, maybe with a different twist, some new products. This does not seem to be hurting my competition at all (so I am still unsure of what line there is to be crossed before the "huge downsides" kick in).



#6 InfoSponge

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 03:33 PM

Just to be clear I am not suggesting a duplicate site. The new site would be entirely new content, structure, articles, photos and made with a different technology (Wordpress vs the other site - HTML).



#7 chrishirst

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:13 AM

different technology (Wordpress vs the other site - HTML).

 

WordPress "sites" are also HTML it is only the method of creating the HTML that differs

 

 

The new site would be entirely new content, structure, articles, photos

 

So why on earth are you asking. There's is no law restricting how many websites you can own or operate, what Google do not want is several websites that are simply used to provide LINKS to a 'parent or sibling' website for the purpose of distorting their ranking algorithm.

 

If the individual URLs are there for the reason of lead generating and/or driving traffic to "main pages".

 

If your intent or reason for the URLs being there is NOT Google, why would you even CARE "what Google thinks".

 

Having different sites for different audiences is a business or marketing decision NOT a "SEO" one.



#8 InfoSponge

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:27 AM

"Why on earth" I am asking?

 

I'm weighing the pros and cons have having a 2nd commercial site (ie money) against any potential risks or downsides.  Sorry if that has you a bit agitated for some reason Chris.



#9 chrishirst

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:23 AM

So I repeat my question,

 

WHY do you care what Google 'thinks'??

 

 

Google are NOT the arbiter of how YOU make a living or sell products on the Internet. They do NOT have any power to stop you owning and marketing a THOUSAND websites if you wanted to.

Google, despite them being American do NOT control the entire commercial world, virtual or real, they can only protect their own company property and manage THEIR own corporate income.

 

What you do with your business and Internet properties has got absolutely F*** ALL to do with Google.

 

And to be one hundred percent blunt, if you are dumb enough to think that it has, and Google is your only path to selling products on the Internet ....

 

Then you ABSOLUTELY deserve to fail!



#10 Jill

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:49 AM

 

I'm weighing the pros and cons have having a 2nd commercial site (ie money) against any potential risks or downsides.   

 

I can pretty much guarantee that at some point you will be sorry that you did it, if you do indeed choose to go that route. 



#11 InfoSponge

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:59 AM

OK Jill thanks. 

 

Off topic. Not sure what good it does to have a moderator that seems on the brink of a nervous breakdown.  Having angry moderators is pretty counter productive here IMHO.



#12 chrishirst

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 07:31 AM

 Not sure what good it does to have a moderator that seems on the brink of a nervous breakdown.  Having angry moderators is pretty counter productive here IMHO.

 

Actually I'm not angry about anything at all, neither am I close to a nervous breakdown, I'm simply one of those people who will be brutally honest with everybody and tell them the truth,  and I do not subscribe to the idea that somehow one should treat everybody with kid gloves just in case you offend them, if they don't like the truth, that ain't my problem.



#13 torka

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 09:58 AM

We prefer to think of him as "curmudgeonly." :)

 

The question I have is this (and it is actually related to what Chris was asking): why do you want to set up a second site, as opposed to adding these products and this content to your existing site?

 

See, as he said, it's a business decision, not an SEO decision.

 

If you're doing this because the two sites would be targeting totally different audiences, or if it's because the products are totally unrelated (machine tools & Italian leather men's loafers, or gourmet kitchen gadgets & industrial solvents, for instance), then it might make business sense to have two separate sites. On the other hand, Amazon, Ebay and others seem to have made the "little bit of everything" concept work for them, so it's possible with some solid planning, well-thought-out site architecture and good internal navigation you could make it work on a single site.

 

If, on the other hand, the sites would be serving similar audiences and/or selling similar or related products, then you're almost certainly better off adding them to your existing site. It's generally less work to promote and maintain one site than two, so you could focus more of your time and energy on making the one site better, instead of on site administration and duplication of efforts on two sites. Not to mention avoiding any risk of having the search engines think your two sites are an attempt to manipulate the rankings.

 

Remember the danger in comparing yourself to your competitor. You really, really don't know how well they are (or are not) doing. You can't see all the stuff they've got going on, so you're making assumptions based on very limited data (only what you can see publicly). it could be the part you can see is actually causing them problems and they're having to work like crazy behind the scenes to counteract the ill effects of a poor business decision.

 

Most importantly, assuming they are doing well, you have no way of knowing if they're doing well because of what you see them doing or in spite of what you can see. It's possible they'd be doing even better if they were to combine their two sites into one. It could be their "sister site" tactic is holding them back.

 

The point is: you don't know. You should never make a business decision based strictly on what you think your competitors are doing. Do what's right for your business, what fits best with your business model and your available resources.

 

It's OK to take a risk if there's a strong business justification for doing it. But if your only business justification is "the other kids are doing it," can you agree how silly that sounds? :)

 

--Torka :oldfogey:






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