Big Site Versus Multiple Domains in One Niche: Who Wins?

Jul 17, 2006 • 5:28 pm | comments (3) by twitter | Filed Under Web Promotion
 

As people learn about web sites and the importance of ranking in search engines, they sometimes think that they can do things quicker than the laborious process of Search Engine Optimization. This is good, because it fosters innovation. A topic that comes up every once in a while in Search Engine Optimization forums has to do with "tricking the search engines." This idea (which I admit I even thought about when I was first learning) has to do with creating multiple sites and hoping to dominate the rankings for a particular keyword search. The problem is that this simply doesn’t work, unless you are dealing with a brand new product or service. For example, lets say you create the world's first "Booglabangly." You could build multiple sites dealing with this new term and probably rank fairly quickly. SEO contests do this on a regular basis.

A recent thread at Cre8asite Forums discusses this topic. A member asks about creating multiple websites to rank for a particular topic:

His strategy is to find a niche and dominate it with many websites. The idea is to create as many websites as possible with various angles to the niche. As a result, when someone (does) search for that niche, most of his websites will show up on the resulting page.
He quotes from a SitePoint Forums thread.

The first response is well thought-out, and states that his experience show that

one monolitihic web site with many topics will acquire rankings for a new keyword quicker than a new site since it's a trusted site already.
Bragadocchio then points out that one way to accomplish the multiple site success might be to
focus on different market segments with some of those sites.
, as the original poster hinted at. The first question also discussed using these multiple sites for interlinking, but Bill wisely states
I'd be wary of too much interlinking between sites. That might send some warning flags to the search engines.

There are many questions to be answered within both threads, since it is hard to determine if the traffic that generated the CJ income was legitimate, organic, paid, etc... Personally, I think the days of ranking multiple sites for a competitive term are long gone, at least if you are talking about organic rankings only. On the other hand, holistic search engine marketing combining SEO and paid search, as well as local or shopping feeds, can yield a plethora of rankings above the fold in many search engines - including paid, free and "wild card" listings (local matches and/or feed results between top paid listings and organic results).

Join the discussions at Cre8asite Forums and Sitepoint Forums.

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Comments:

SEOEgghead

07/18/2006 02:14 am

I wrote that first post -- and I wouldn't suggest linking them in a circular manner at all. My strategy is two-prong. In the markets I cover I create 1 monolithic site with many related topics, as well as several smaller, but more detailed sites for the long-haul targets. It all depends on the scope. Launching a site on news that will blow over in 6 months is a bad idea, obviously. That sort of thing should be a subdirectory on a pre-existing site. I'm currently evaluating the results with subdomains of the monolithic site vs. new domains.

chris boggs

07/18/2006 01:31 pm

Thanks SEOEgghead for the clarification! I am curious to see the results of your testing. ;)

Michael Martinez

07/18/2006 11:19 pm

I use multiple domains for a variety of reasons, but the most important one is that the directories (Yahoo! and DMOZ specifically) have made it almost impossible to get unique, extensive original content on multi-content sites listed. They'll take unique content on a unique domain name with far less grief and justification than if the content is hosted on a multipurpose domain. Yahoo! is particularly bad about that. Another important reason (for me) is that it's easier to brand short URLs than long ones. Eventually, you end up with so much content on a mega site that you have horrendously long URLs. People don't remember them very easily.

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