Google: Wouldn't It Be Annoying If USPS Did Multiple Sites?

Jul 19, 2012 • 9:10 am | comments (28) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

USPSOne of the most common questions I get is, should I build a web site for each location I have a presence in?

If I run a barber chain and I want to rank for barber in each city, should I just make a web site so I can rank well for each city? The answer is maybe, but Google would never tell you to go with that approach.

Google's John Mueller gave one of the best reasons why you shouldn't go with multiple domain names for each location. He said:

Focusing on a single website makes it much easier for our algorithms to understand your site, the services you're providing, and the regions that you service. Splitting that into separate sites for each location that you ship to not only makes it harder for our algorithms, but also for users (imagine if the post office did that).

Yea, can you imagine if the post office did do that? It would be hard to find what you need and make it confusing for the user.

Google strongly recommends you stick with a single site with pages for each location, and a location finder tool.

If that is the approach you should take depends on your strategy.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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07/19/2012 01:16 pm

But sister sites or mini sites is a trend now.

Praveen Sharma

07/19/2012 01:22 pm

Its better to go with a single website for all locations. Either you can create different pages for your different locations or, you can create different sub-domains for different locations. Choose whatever way you feel is best for you.


07/19/2012 01:55 pm

Agree with John's advice; one dynamic site is best. Cuts expenses too that are related to hosting, domain names, etc.


07/19/2012 02:09 pm

Good advice. Different on an international level though of course...


07/19/2012 02:16 pm

It's a misconception in general. USPS website is the place where you can get service. What service can you get from the barber's website ? The only you can get there is general information. Means barber's website is mostly for advertising purpose. Why Google should advert this barber for free ? Welcome to the AdWords. And it will be another story, if the barber's website adds value to the barber's industry. For example a possibility to create new hairstyle on website to try it later in the barber shop. The point is in the value added, not in website structure. That's why e-comm sites are loosing organic traffic from Google. Most of them where built in the days when online shopping by itself was a value. Nowadays it's usual. Bring something new to be ranked well.


07/19/2012 02:41 pm

The real world is more complicated... You have franchises with owners that either disagree or want a competitive edge on the rest of the franchises. The create a new website.... or Google places.... or Google+, pick your poison. Then of course multiply that across the U.S.

Jon Wade

07/19/2012 04:07 pm

And the next question should be, is it better to have a separate page for each location (assuming there are a dozen or so and not hundreds) or individual pages. And if individual pages, to what extent should they share information, is unique information needed on all?

Mike Kalil

07/19/2012 04:49 pm

Yeah, but most businesses don't have locations in almost every city and town, so the argument doesn't really hold up.

Webstats Art

07/19/2012 04:53 pm

Google does not believe this themselves. This is why Adwords is using IP delivery. Large corporations have the funds to do this. It is now an acceptable form of the former black hat cloaking. The larger corporations also have the money to pay for Adwords in every geographical location. Good for google.. but the small companies are going down unless they dream up better ways of selling than just by their website. Of course you might be number #1 for your search terms (but that could be short lived too) so - lets welcome new technology that minimizes the need for google! At least the poorer folk trying to make ends meat will agree with me! If you are not loaded with cash then, you are basically screwed on the internet. What people need to do is get a network of foreign partners in different locations in the world to make a website that includes your products and services. You need to build your own international network so that local search becomes more and more irrelevant. Of course if you only want to sell something to your friends down the road, then google is doing you a service.

Webstats Art

07/19/2012 05:04 pm

Yeh. It is totally different if you have a good product and you want to sell it everywhere in the world. Say goodbye to the original intention of the INTER - net!


07/19/2012 06:56 pm

You talk a lot of pony mate.


07/19/2012 07:02 pm

1 site = all eggs in 1 basket. Many sites = spreads the risk. Google has created this extra spam and in fact google has created most of the spam on the internet. Google is a spam creator. Every update = more spam. Every tweak = more spam. Get links to rank says google = more spam. Don't get links says google = more spam. Build a site for people says google (but do go out and get some links and also be careful not to have content that is thin according to google) = more spam. Google are the spam feeders of the internet... that's the fact of the matter.


07/19/2012 10:14 pm

I can afford this. I own well branded site )


07/19/2012 10:25 pm

So why do what Google says ? Go your own way ... sure if you can go by your own )

Sherrie Carter

07/19/2012 11:27 pm

I agree with focusing on one site abd building credibility. Optimize pages according to cities, and create local citations for each address. Much less time consuming and more effective in my opinion.

Ken Colborn

07/20/2012 12:00 am

Very good advice. We have had good luck with a company that has over 100 stores. Having them on separate sites would be crazy to maintain. We created a page on the site for each location that has information such as address, phone, directions, photos. We also added a Google places page for each location (which was not an easy job). It has all paid off and they now have top rankings for very broad, competitive keywords, even in large cities like San Francisco.


07/20/2012 05:01 am

Personally i feel its better to work with one single website. It is easy to handle a single site ,work also gets done faster. In a way, it is time saving also. Hence, sticking to a single page for each location, and a location finder tool is a good recommendation.


07/20/2012 07:59 am

I doubt it. You have too much time on your hands.


07/20/2012 08:03 am

How does that stop google being the spam churning machine of the internet?


07/20/2012 11:26 am

Yep spot on - why would you trouble yourself with several fresh domains targeting different locations when you could have landing pages created on the original domain. You can quite easily point PPC traffic at those landing pages, plus you will get the benefit of internal linking and create sub folders for each location. Creating a sub domain for each location is an option but again you will be starting from scratch and complicating the issue for your users.


07/20/2012 01:07 pm

Oh, you want to stop Google ? Sorry man, can't help you here ) I don't think Google is "the spam churning machine" and I like in general what Google is doing.


07/20/2012 01:10 pm

ok ))

Gary Lee

07/20/2012 07:58 pm

Matt Cutts is full of BS! I asked him this question 6 years ago and he gave the same BS they are giving today. Matt Cutts suggest that you own multiple websites, he said this himself! He suggested that if they gave every webmaster the option of selecting what countries they want to rank in then webmasters would simply tick them all. So they have no solution other than owing all the TLD's and creating multiple sites. When enough people complained about this they introduced the canonical tag across external domains. In the last few years its been pretty much impossible to rank in the US and UK for the same product. Now we have the Penguin issue and as a results of that almost every medium size business I know of owns multiple sites to safe guard from losing everything in a simple algo update. -------- STOP GOOGLE install adblock plus NOW!


07/26/2012 11:04 am

I maintain almost 150 different sites, and it is very hard. All of them are in the top for mid comp keywords. I also like if it will be enough to just make one mega quality site and rank for the same keywords like the other 150 now. But it is impossible at the times of Panda and Pinguin. If this one falls everthing is falls....


11/16/2012 05:55 pm

Very interesting. Had no idea about IP delivery.


11/16/2012 05:56 pm

I donno. After the EMD update that crushed so many folks with multiple sites w/ similar content, we should probably listen.


11/16/2012 05:57 pm

How are the sites doing after the EMD update?

Gary Lee

11/16/2012 10:26 pm

no, that is for people that built sites with EMD just to get the traffic and pass it off to the highest bidder. It will be a long time before SME companies with locations in multiple countries will be able to rank in each respective place for keywords, the only way forward is multiple sites . GOOGLE FAIL as usual and then when they make that fix work we will all be punished for doing what they originally asked for.

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