Take the 2-minute tour ×
Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Our company has a dilemma that I am hoping the users of Pro WebMasters can help us with.

Right now as it stands we create a seperate website for each product that we sell. We also have our corporate site which lists each of these brands.

For Example:

www.Apple.com < --- main company site

www.Ipad.com <--- Product

www.Iphone.com <--- Product

www.Imac.com <-- Product

We are looking to build a wordpress blog mainly for the purpose of increasing our SEO rank.

Here are our two options:

Can the team here tell me the SEO benefits of either approach? Similar to Apple all the products our company sells are loosely related. Although its not likely that a customer of product A would be interested in product B.

share|improve this question
add comment

8 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted
+500

This is a tough question to answer, as it could be summed up by the vague words "that depends..."

My experience on the matter has been to keep the amount of systems (i.e. Wordpress blogs), to a minimum. From a technical point of view, it is best as it requires less time and money to maintain. 5 blogs = 5 updates whenever there's a new version out, for example. From an SEO point of view however, it's a different story.

By creating one blog per site, you are effectively increasing the amount of words, and thus the relevance of targeted keywords, for that specific product/domain. So it would naturally mean that having one blog per domain would be the best choice.

You don't specify, but I'm guessing that your main company website needs a bit of ranking too? If so, the blog entries should not only have links back to the main page(s), but also links to the main website on text anchors you feel are most important for the target site.

There is however a third option that you should consider. It requires a bit more development, but should be relatively simple to implement. And it's a hybrid of both solutions;

First, you set up a WP-blog on your corporate domain. Whenever a blog-entry is created there, it aggregates that content to the other domain for that specific product. When you have 100 entries or so divided by the different products in the blog, you will effectively have 1 large blog for all products on one domain and smaller, product-specific blogs on the other ones. Effectively you'll have a single-point of daily management.

This is not enough however as the pages would be duplicates of each other, spanning across multiple domains, which would lessen ranking. You address this by making the blog entries on the main corporate site canonical. This tells Google that one page exists for the users' benefit - i.e. to collect all blogs in one place, but that the article would should get the ranking lies somewhere else. So basically:

Read more about Canonical URL's over at Google Webmaster Central: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.se/2009/02/specify-your-canonical.html

I don't know if this answers your question the way you want it, but it is my 2 cents on the matter. As always when it comes to SEO questions, it's hard to give an answer and know precisely the outcome, I can only speak from my experience.

share|improve this answer
    
thank you for the 3rd option. I really like the idea of having the articles appear on each micro-site for the user's benefit. Just got to figure out how to do a wordpress multi-site setup where category articles are copied over. –  Frank Nov 25 '12 at 6:23
    
    
I haven't read it in detail, but that should be a good start. If the blogs are all on the same server, perhaps entries could be copied from one database to another? It's just an idea, I'm not great with MySql so I don't know if it's even possible :) –  Patrik Alienus Nov 26 '12 at 11:04
add comment

If the goal of the satellite sites is to drive traffic to the main site, which is about the same/similar topic, then there's really no difference between these satellite sites and having landing pages on your main website. They do the same exact thing except now you have additional websites you have to maintain. If you're trying to establish a brand why confuse your users with other names or domains when they can know about your main website/brand right off the bat?

As far as PageRank goes, PR is domain independent is calculated on a per page basis. So whether those pages are on the same domain or not is irrelevant. Any links to your main site's home page, whether from an internal page or external page, will "pass" the same amount of PageRank. As far as affecting your main site's page ranking, I doubt those satellite sites have established themselves as important in their niche (it seems they exist only to receive paid traffic and aren't in-and-of themselves designed to be considered important to anyone but the users driven there by the advertising) and thus links from them won't carry any significant value. Definitely no more then if they were part of the main website.

I have the feeling someone is going to want to mention that links from external sites are worth more then links from internal pages. This is really only true when the external site has established itself in your niche (i.e. ranks well for the terms you wish to rank well for). Otherwise those links from the satellite sites aren't as value as them may seem. In order for them to reach that level you'd need to put a lot of time and effort into them, as mentioned in the blog post you refereed to above, and at that point they've gone way beyond landing page. At that point you'll want that content on your main website to increase its link popularity, etc.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The short and slightly counterintuitive answer is that optimising for search engines isn't the most effective way to go about SEO; certainly if you want long-term, substantial development.

Why? Search engines are businesses with customers, and like you and your business, they want to give their customers what they want. Their customers want useful search results, which means search engines work hard to make sure that their search results - their service - isn't easily taken out of their control and manipulated by 3rd parties.

After each Panda or Penguin, there's uproar from a (disturbingly large) community of people and businesses who'd essentially built their livelihoods on some means of gaming search results. Any technique aimed solely at exploiting limitations of search algorithms to inflate a site's performance is very likely subject to the same fate.

Your options

Which of your options is best depends on which:

  1. serves your customers and potential customers the best
  2. represents the most logical and efficient way for you to provide that service

This already more or less rules out your second option, on the grounds of it being massively more complex and expensive at no gain for your customers (and, arguably, even a detriment to your customers).

Search Engine Guidelines

I'd also recommend looking at search engine guidelines to see just what kinds of activity they consider acceptable. Google's Webmaster Guidelines, for example, contain this:

"Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings […] ask, 'Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?'"

Their guidelines have a whole section on "link schemes", and their definition of such a scheme sounds like it might refer to your second option:

The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results […] • Building partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking

My emphasis above.

Conclusion

Do the thing that provides value for your customers and potential customers, and avoid anything that amounts merely to a method or scheme for building value solely with search engines.

If you build value for people, no search engine company can ever take that away and, furthermore, it's in the interest of a good search engine to reflect that value. If you only build value with search engines, neither of those things is true.

share|improve this answer
add comment

If you have the time to write the separate product blogs and develop them all (in terms of reader base / following) then having each one separate would trump a 'all products' company any day.

But it will be allot easier to have just one blog and write all the content there, for all the products as it will be easier to build a following for 1 blog instead of separate ones for each product

share|improve this answer
add comment

If the whole purpose is to improve SEO. My view is a single blog. (It is very difficult to make many high quality blogs and links to all sites to all blogs would be forced) All sites linking to the blog. And in each blog post referencing some article (or some products of the sites).

The blog divided into categories. The sites that link to different articles in the blog post. Each site that links to other sites homepage. And also refer products on the other sites.

If possible different ip at each site and the blog. For example 5 sites and blog = 6 ip. (or 6 different host)

If your sites and your blog have good content is possible only with this. All reach a Pagerank 6.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I upvoted the answers of Patrik, John, and GDav, but let me say that GDav is closest to what I would have written.

That said, let me ask this:

  • How does Apple do it?
  • How does Google do it?
  • How does Microsoft do it?
  • How does Amazon do it?

I think I see a pattern here...

share|improve this answer
add comment

Each method has its pros and cons, it depends on your needs and priority.

Pros by first method:

By going with first method you can encourage users to check out your other products you may increase sales by this method.

Second method is good for SEO but I don't recommend it.

share|improve this answer
    
Why don't you recommend it? –  paulmorriss Nov 26 '12 at 11:38
add comment

In my opinion, the best solution depends on many factors.

First solution is good:

  • if your products are just products (not brands) like pants, shirts, hats...
  • if you don't want spend time to write about your products

This solution improves SEO of the main company site because you update it frequently, you add web pages, you add new keywords... And it's easier to manage.

Second solution is good:

  • if your products are almost brands like iphone, ipad
  • if you have a lot of time to spend to write about each product

This solution improves SEO of each website and main company site if you put backlinks on each website to the main company site. However, for this solution, you're obliged to have a lot of time to update each website (main company site also). And it's harder to manage.

My opinion on your case study:

Choose the first one solution if your products are loosely related because the second one works well for SEO if each site (main company site also) speak about the same theme. If you choose the second one, you need to be sure you have a lot of time (=money) to spend to update each website and do marketing of each product independently. For each website, you multiply marketing, SEO...

Good luck!

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.