Your May 2019 Search Engine Bytes Digest
 by Kristi Hagen

What's better: five separate websites or one super-site?

  • I have a potential client that is thinking of taking 5 separate sites and putting them together to have one 'super site'. I have worries as they cover different areas (some are similar) like pumps, HVAC tools, roof supports, HVAC cleaning and chemicals for engineering use.

    My thoughts are that Google may not give one 'super' domain the same ranks as the separate domains currently enjoy, as my experience tells me that Google does not give ranks on lots of subject areas to one domain. I know that there are exceptions, but the idea worries me because the ‘super’ domain is to be a brand new one, one that has not aged at all.

    Will they be OK using folders (not sub domains) in the new site, or are they likely to lose ranks even if all the 301 redirects are correctly done?

    I understand that the PageRank will still (mostly) be transferred, but I must admit to being worried that they are ‘throwing everything up in the air’ without total certainty about where they will all land.

    Your thoughts and experience much appreciated here.

Answer:

Consolidating all 5 sites into one domain will help concentrate all of their PageRank in one place. Fortunately, you wouldn't be mixing topics that are THAT much different, such as HVAC and Horses for example.

What you'd be losing is the strongest page for each topic area which is the home page on each site; those would then become subpages / subcategories. Time will tell if the PageRank works out to keep the subpages as powerful as they've been or not — that's just guesswork at this point on how it would play out.

In the end, yes, the single site should in theory be more powerful and also reduce work on your end. And yes, you should use subdirectories, not sub-domains for this.

You should also expect rankings to drop in the near term and take a while to (hopefully) recover close to what they were before the merge. We suggest using advertising to drive traffic for a period of at least 90 days to fill the visitor gap while waiting for the rankings to recover enough for organic traffic to resume to previous levels.

Worth noting is that, lately, we've scored some good rankings for low competition keywords very quickly for newly launched domains even thoug...

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