Q and A: Do funnel domains work for search engines?

QuestionHi Kalena

I have a question about “Funnel Domains” – getting  a domain that is comprised of a search term and forwarding that domain to a web site. Does this method work and how do search engines view them?

Thanks,

Robert

Hi Robert

Nope, that method doesn’t work. Reasons are here.

Oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Q and A: Is it a good idea to use a different domain for each product?

QuestionHi Kalena

In Lesson 3 of SEO 201, there is a suggestion that “if you sell wool socks AND cotton socks, then have a page dedicated to each kind”.

The owner of the website I’m trying to optimize said that she was once told that it’s a good idea to have several domain names for that same purpose. For example, have a separate domain for wool socks and one for cotton socks. What do you think of that idea?

Jena

Dear Jena

I think that’s a terrible idea. You can read up on this issue here but basically, creating multiple sites defeats the whole purpose of trying to attract traffic and promote a single brand. If you have multiple web sites, not only is it confusing to customers, but other sites will be linking back to several sites instead of your main site/brand and that dilutes your link popularity.

Google and other engines will be looking at the number of links your site has pointing to it and if those links are spread across several domains, you will lose trust-rank and therefore won’t rank as highly as you would if all links pointed to your single site.

I understand the desire to rank for several products, but you can easily achieve this on a single domain if you design individual pages for each product and carefully optimize those pages for keywords relating to each. Alternatively, you can use sub-domains for each product which provides the bonus of having each product page sitting at the root level of your site. Google staff actually recommend using sub-domains in this manner.

More information on this issue can be found in these older posts:

Could purchasing and redirecting multiple domains to our main site hurt us from an SEO perspective?

How do we stop our domains from competing with each other for search rankings?

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Q and A: Do regional domains constitute a duplicate content problem?

QuestionDear Kalena…

First of all I find the info on your site extremely useful -  I always look forward towards the newletter! I have been trying to find the time to do the SEO course but finding the time is always a problem! However, its still on my to do list.

I am trying to sort out a problem regarding duplicate content on my sites. We run local sites for each language/country we trade in (e.g. .fr for France and .co.uk for England). Unfortunately whilst growing the business I never had time to research SEO optimisation practices so I ended up with a lot of sites with the same duplicate content in them including title tags, descriptions etc. I had no idea how bad this was of course for organic ranking!

I have now created unique title tags and description for ALL the pages on ALL the sites. I have also changed the content into unique content for the home page and the paternity testing page (our main pages) for each site in English. The only site with complete unique content pages is .com and parts of .co.uk. For the rest of the pages that still have double content I have also put a NO INDEX, FOLLOW code on the pages that have duplicate content so that the spiders will not index the duplicate content pages. I did a FOLLOW as opposed to NO FOLLOW as I still want the internal links in the pages to be picked up – does this make sense ?

Also having made such changes how long does it normally take for Google to refresh its filters and starting ranking the site? The changes are now about a month old however the site is still not ranking.

Also should this not work – do you have any experience with submitting a re-consideration through the webmaster tools? What are the upside and downside of this?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Regards
Kevin

Dear Kevin

Thanks for your coffee donation and I’m glad you like the newsletter. Now, about your tricky problem:

1) First up, take a chill pill. There’s no need to lodge a reinclusion request to Google. According to Google’s Site Status Tool, your main site is being indexed and hasn’t been removed from their datacenter results. A standard indexed page lookup shows 32 pages from your .com site have been indexed by Google, while a backward link lookup reveals at least 77 other sites are linking to yours. If you’ve put NoIndex tags on any dupe pages, you’ve covered yourself.

2) Next, pour yourself a drink and put your feet up. Your .fr site is also being indexed by Google, but there isn’t a dupe content issue because the site is in French, meaning that Googlebot sees the content as being completely different. Your .co.uk site is also being indexed by Google and again, there isn’t a dupe content issue because it looks like you have changed the content enough to ensure it doesn’t trip any duplicate content filters.

3) Now you’re relaxed, login to Google Webmaster Tools and make sure each of your domains are set to their appropriate regional search markets. To do this, click on each domain in turn and choose “Set Geographic Target” from the Tools menu. Your regional domains should already be associated with their geographic locations i.e. .co.uk should already be associated with the UK, meaning that Google will automatically be giving preference to your site in the SERPs shown to searchers in the UK. For your .com site, you can choose whether to associate it with the United States only (recommended as it is your main market), or not to use a regional association at all.

4) Now it’s time to do a little SEO clean up job on your HTML code. Fire or unfriend whoever told you to include all these unecessary META tags in your code:

  • Abstract
  • Rating
  • Author
  • Country
  • Distribution
  • Revisit-after

All these tags are un-supported by the major search engines and I really don’t know why programmers still insist on using them! All they do is clog up your code and contribute to excessive code bloat.

5) Finally, you need to start building up your site’s link popularity and boost your Google PageRank beyond the current 2 out of 10. And by link building, I mean the good old-fashioned type – seeking out quality sites in your industry and submitting your link request manually, NOT participating in free-for-all link schemes or buying text links on low quality link farms.

Good luck!

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Q and A: Should I park my 40 URLs and point them to my main site?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’m a regular reader, but have not “asked Kalena” anything in probably over a year now. I own around 40 URLs, all related to real estate in the Atlanta area. Currently they are sitting in my Hostmonster account, doing nothing. Q: Should I “park” all of them which will point them all to my main URL?

Thanks!
Rob

Dear Rob

Thanks for your question. It really doesn’t make any sense to point 40 domains to a single domain.

In my opinion, the only logical reasons to park one domain to another domain include:

  • Moving an entire site from one domain to another.
  • Pointing identical domains with different regional suffixes to a central domain for targeting purposes (e.g. redirecting site.com.au and site.co.uk to site.com).
  • Pointing several brand-related domains with different suffixes to a central domain for marketing and trademark purposes (e.g. redirecting brand.net and brand.org to brand.com).
  • Pointing misspelled or similar sounding brand-related domains to a central domain for marketing and branding purposes (e.g. redirecting misite.com and maisite.com to mysite.com).
  • Pointing hyphenated domains to a un-hyphenated domain, or vice versa, for marketing and branding purposes (e.g. redirecting my-site.com to mysite.com).

You should think carefully about your motivation for buying the domains in the first place. If some of them meet the criteria above it might be worth parking them to your main domain. But there really is little search engine value in redirecting so many domains, even if the keywords are of a similar theme.

I think you would be better off monetizing the domains using Google AdSense for Domains and making some affiliate income from them. You could still include a text link or image ad promoting your main domain on each of the parked domains, but just be aware that 40 instant incoming links to your main domain may trigger a red flag in Google’s ranking algorithm.

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Q and A: Can you submit individual pages of a web site separately to the search engines?

QuestionDear Kalena…

Can you submit individual pages separately of a website to
the search engines – if so – how? My URL is: http://freewebs.com/jazzlist

Thanks
Cy

Hi Cy

Technically it is possible but you need to understand the way search engines index web sites in order to fully understand why this is often considered the wrong way to approach site submission.

With regards to your own web site http://freewebs.com/jazzlist there would obviously be an argument for individual page submission due to you not having a dedicated domain of your own and as your web site is not located in the root directory of the hosting site, there is little to suggest that submitting http://freewebs.com/index.html would have any bearing on your own web site’s performance.

The argument for submitting to search engines seems to have been around longer than the search engines themselves!

Some say that you need to submit only your homepage, usually index.html or similar and that the search engine will then index all links from this page and over time your site should be completely indexed.

There are variations on this theory the most common is submitting a properly formatted and structured sitemap alone to the search engine of your choice. the search engines then index all links from this sitemap alone. Formats vary but most popular are sitemaps written in xml, this version in particular is favoured by Google.

For further information: Google friendly site map protocols

Others say that you don’t need to submit any pages or sites to any search engines at all, instead you are better to create keyword rich and optimised content that, if written well enough should attract Google and the others along through social bookmarking sites and articles linking to your sites, a lot of people out there prefer this method as it is often considered a more honest approach to site submission.
I know of several websites that have never been submitted to any search engines but if these sites change content or write a new article then Google indexes this within 24 hours, proof indeed that if your content is rich and your site is attractive to the search engines then your site will become more successful based on its own content and merits alone.

The thought that you could submit a single page is a perfectly valid one but before you do this ask yourself this simple question…why do I need to do this?

The answer lies in the hosting and structure of your own website and your choice to follow a free/shared hosting option, this decision may have been made for any of several reasons. The truth is that as long as your site is hosted on a free, shared hosting solution your site will most likely struggle to achieve its full potential as you will no doubt come across issues when trying to optimise this kind of hosting solution.

The advantages and full control offered by a dedicated host/domain solution far outweigh any cost restrictions and in my opinion should always be the way to go.

I appreciate some people and businesses out there want to create a website for little or no outlay but as these are often clearly charging for what they provide perhaps they should consider what their visitors will think and how they will be perceived and judged in relation to their business acumen when the free hosting option is taken instead of creating a professional presence on the web.

Best regards

Andy Watson
Wildcat SEO

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