Q and A: Do we need to optimize multiple sites individually?

QuestionHello Kalena

You were very helpful in answering a previous questions.

I have a client who has about 5 or 6 online dating websites. He wants to set up one website with a new domain and link them to all the other websites, but he wants to optimize only this one website instead of optimizing each individual websites.

My recommendation to him is to optimize each website separately since they all have separate keywords. Do you think this is the correct way to go? Thank you!

Mirna

Dear Mirna

I think what you’re asking is: should your client optimize each site individually or redirect all to a single optimized site? Without knowing the URLs of your client’s sites, it’s difficult to answer this one.

If your client has multiple stand-alone sites that each target a specific market and they can each be logically optimized for unique keywords, then I would agree with you that optimizing the individual sites one-by-one would be the way to go.

On the other hand, if your client has a single target market and each of the existing sites contain similar or duplicate content and are only for lead generation for the main site or company, then I would suggest redirecting them all to a single branded site optimized for your client’s main keywords.

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Q and A: Does the canonicalization of my URL impact my search engine rankings?

QuestionHello Kalena…

I was wondering if you know anything about the www prefix. My hosting company has my site registered with the www and without, as the same for all sites, I believe. Does this affect how the websites are viewed by the search engines? Also, some directories have my site listed without the www even if I have submitted it with. Does this affect how Google for example counts external links to my site? I have asked many people and no one has been able to answer my question.

Mirna

Hi Mirna

Timely question! I was just discussing this issue today on Twitter. Just to clarify, when you talk about your site being listed with and without the www prefix, that’s called the canonicalization of your domain. Basically, it just refers to your preferred URL for a site, whether that’s with the www prefix or without. Matt Cutts goes into more detail about canonicalization in this post.

Search engines can sometimes index both versions of your domain, creating duplicate content headaches for you and also link popularity dilution. For those reasons, I strongly recommend you decide which URL version you are happiest with and implement 301 permanent redirects at the server end to ensure your preferred version is served no matter which version is typed in. You can also set your preferred domain within Google Webmaster Tools.

Loren Baker wrote a post about the canonicalization issue today, so you might find that helpful. I concur with Loren that using the www is a no-brainer.

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The duplicate content penalty (and other fairytales)

The day has escaped my grasp once again and it’s already tomorrow, so just a quick one tonight.

Lots of questions submitters ask me about duplicate content on their sites and how that impacts their visibility in Google. Many are convinced a ranking penalty will be slapped on them by the Google Gods, but this is a myth. I’ve written a post about this over at my blog on SiteProNews so if you’re at all confused about dupe content, check it out.

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