We have an interesting client challenge.
They have six different websites and, of course, want increased search rankings and content, including a blog, for each.
But the audiences are the same for each. The only reason there are so many is because of different state laws that require it.
Not only that, but the keywords are the same, the topics are the same, and the content is the same.
We don’t want to cannibalize the other sites, so you can see our challenge.
To Share or Not to Share?
In my mind, I knew what we should do from a content perspective (they have a search engine optimization expert on staff), but I wanted some advice from other experts.
I turned to Andy Crestodina.
I wanted to know if there was any way to cross-promote content without it hurting search rankings. I know we can’t just run the same content on each site, but wasn’t sure if I was missing some other way to make it work.
Content for six different sites on the same topic is not only extremely difficult to do, it would be very expensive for the client.
Andy agreed with me – there are too many sites and we most certainly cannot use duplicate content.
The Expert Says!
Here’s what he said,
The biggest single factor in how high a site ranks is it’s “authority,” which is another way of saying link popularity. This authority is per domain, so it’s almost always best to not build separate websites. Separate websites mean separate domain authority.
If you have two sites and someone links to one of them, the other site doesn’t benefit from the link. You’ve diluted your efforts. It’s better to have one site that ranks on page one than two sites that rank on page two!
He also recommended the following:
- Make one site! Make it awesome.
- For each topic, make one section. Make it awesome.
- For each keyphrase, make one page. Make it awesome.
For reasons outlined above, we can’t make them one site (though I really, really wish we could), but we are recommending only one blog that will be housed on the main site. In some cases, the blog content will link to the other sites, but that’s as close as we’ll get to “sharing” content.
For each topic, we’ll have sections (and categories to help us organize both for humans and robots) and for each keyword or phrase, we’ll create pages to highlight them.
Then we’ll take it the next step and make sure Google sees that content is being shared. After all, they love fresh, new content first, then social shares to that content, and then all the optimization and backend magic.
That does mean some of the state-mandated sites will miss out on the rankings, but we think this is the best (and most cost-effective) way to go about it.
If you’re struggling with different sites and content and audiences and goals, check out, “Separate Website or Separate Section?“