Today on Google's Official Webmaster blog they posted about running multiple sites with similar content, here.
After reading it and looking at the comments I noticed two things. First Google doesn't seem to respond to the great questions people have.
Secondly, this question from Autocrat struck a cord with me:
--- Interlinking mutually owned sites ---
Some people run multiple sites for the same niche, or for highly similar/related niches/terms. They then link between them, bolstering their apparent popularity as well as attempting to increase their relevancy for specific terms via link text.
Where I work they believe there is value in buying many domain names related to its products. They post unique content on each related domain except they reuse .pdf documents. They also include links to our main website and other landing sites.
They use Adword campaigns specific to each domain to bring paid traffic to the site with the hopes of driving customers to the main site.
They have done this for years and it takes a ton of time to keep these sites up. Also, it is tough to measure if we get value from them.
My questions are:
- Is there really any benefits of having these external landing pages to the site? .
- Would it be more valuable to move the landing page content to inside of the site?
- Finally, is there any way to truly measure the value these sites are adding through increased Page Rank on our main site?