E-Commerce at ECP
11 May 2011 09:15am
Our company has a very successful e-commerce website, however we suffer from being out priced on some of our items but competitors. We dont want to reduce our pricing for image/reputation reasons as we are not viewed as a 'cheap' brand.
So we have decided to build a different branded websites, selling the same products, running from the same DB, but with lower pricing.
What is the best practice for this, to avoid getting penalised by Google i.e. different IP, does the second website have to be on a separate server, content, images, etc?
One very high profile example is the Littlewoods website and the very.co.uk website, where both sites are owned by the same company, selling all most the same products, but in this case they make no attempt to hide the fact that they are from the same company. Both websites even appear on the first page for some search terms.
Any guidelines and white papers anyone can provide would really be appreciated.
Web technology professional at Bitcala.com
11 May 2011 10:04am
Of course, noboy really knows how Google ranks, penalises and rewards pages - that's the point.
However I would have thought that being on a separate domain would be sufficient. Totally separate that is, not subdomain - "allnew.company.co.uk" would not be good.
Many companies use shared or virtual hosting whereby many sites can resolve to the same IP so I wouldn't think that Google would penalise for that.
You could play it safe of course and start a new sever for the project - but have its back-end talk to your old product database.
CEO at Econsultancy
12 May 2011 10:26am
I'd say that as long as your two sites are on different domains then Google will treat them as completely separate irrespective of whether they're on the same server or not. These days, with so much cloud hosting etc going on, I don't think 'where' the server is is of great significance.
As for the duplicate content penalty (i.e. you replicated product content across two domains) I think there is some misunderstanding around this. I don't believe Google 'penalises' sites for duplicate content (as in delisting them etc.) it's just that it's harder to rank if you are duplicating content as Google will look for, and rank, the most authoratitive version (could be the first version, the domain with highest authority etc.). So the duplicate version isn't 'penalised', it just doesn't stand much chance of ranking.
So in your example I think you'd be fine. For starters I doubt the pages will be *exactly* the same even if the product data is the same. There will be contextual content, navigation etc. which is a bit different? And then each page will rank independently despite the content being the same. If both pages are well linked to, and the domains are authoritative generally, then there is no reason why both shouldn't rank well (as with Littlewoods example).
It's worth remembering that there is loads of perfectly legitimate 'duplicate content' all over the web (e.g. press releases) and the same product data often appears on multiple sites (e.g. affiliates).
12 May 2011 10:42am
Hi Will and Ashley,
Many thanks for your replies.
Do you think it will make any difference that the existing websites domain name and the new websies domain name include exactly the same key words?
Existing website = www.discountbathsales.com
New website = www.bobsbathsales.com
'Bathsales' being the common keyword.
12 May 2011 11:10am
In short, no. Technically those are completely different domains. Also (particularly post Panda update) Google is taking less and less notice of keywords being in the domain name. So whilst Google might 'know' that there are similar words in each domain I can't see that making any difference or you getting any 'penalty' even if on the same server/IP range.
What you *should* be careful of, however, is excessive cross-linking between the domains. You must think of the sites as two different sites. If you do loads of keyword-rich cross linking between the sites then Google might well deem that as spammy (which it pretty much is...).
12 May 2011 11:14am
Thanks for your help Ashley! This has helped us in understanding a really grey area - i haven't been able to find any white papers or any authoritative articles on the subject anywhere.
Not sure how common the issue is, but a white paper would have definitely helped - maybe something we can get in the future on the site?
12 May 2011 11:25am
We're just about to publish a mega update / new version of our SEO Best Practice Guide (http://ecly.co/hpiKV2) which will have everything you need to know about SEO (and more... at 300+ pages!).
12 May 2011 11:28am
@Rishi - most welcome. :)
12 May 2011 11:29am
Great, look forward to it!
16 May 2011 10:36am
BTW, just read this https://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=62399&hl=en about geotargeting settings using Google Webmaster Tools.
It does say "If no information is entered in Webmaster Tools, we'll rely largely on the site's country domain (.ca, .de, etc.). If an international domain (.com, .org, .eu, etc) has been used, we'll rely on the IP address. If you change hosting provider for a country domain, there should be no impact. If you change the hosting provider of an international domain to a provider in another country, we recommend using Webmaster Tools to tell us which country your site should be associated with."
So my comment that IP address probably doesn't matter may not be correct IF you have a top level domain and move the country of the hosting provider.
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