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    Multiple websites for one business?


    Hi, I’m not familiar with SEO or anything related so I wanted to toss a question out to a more knowledgeable bunch. The company that handles our website came to us today and pitched an idea that my coworkers thought was amazing but I’m not sold and feel like they might be taking advantage of our ignorance on the subject of SEO.

    The main thing that they are pitching is purchasing and building an entire new website for our current business. We have a very well branded business in one part of the state but about 8 years ago opened another office across the state that we’re still trying to work up. The businesses are exactly the same, same clientele, same service, prices, etc but the company thinks if we build a new website specific to that location then we’ll rank higher and get better results and traffic on Google for both locations.

    My thinking is, we’re already ranking high on Google for our main location and they’re asking us to pay twice as much as we are now for a new website plus the continuation of keeping both maintained and optimized.. why not just optimize our current page better for both areas? Is my gut feeling of “they’re just trying to get us to pay more money on two websites and more optimization when we only need one” correct here?

    Thank you in advance for your input.
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    I agree


    In the vast majority of cases, I would strongly agree with you. To really give you a positive answer, though, I need to know your business and the kinds of keywords you're trying to rank for.

    Building multiple sites is a tactic that fell out of favor a long time ago, due to changes in how search engines viewed the authority of a site. You're basically starting from scratch to get a domain trusted and ranked again, and for what? To occupy two places on a SERP? To split your effort between two sites?

    This sounds like a horrible idea. Are you #1 for all of your keywords? If not, your SEO firm should push those. Are they having a hard time with targeting localized keywords for two locations? (e.g. "service_name in city_name")? If so, the site probably has a problem with its organization and navigation.

    You can actually get in trouble with Google for operating two domains for the same exact business, especially if the content and/or prices on the two sites are the same.

    What is their justification for needing two sites?
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    I would really question how competent your current SEO is.

    Stick with one site. Look at all the major retailers, they have one site with geographic/store location subsections. It is easier, more effective and more powerful to have one site as long as they are in the same market segment. To split your online focus between two or more same-business sites will be a mistake.

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    • DarrenHaye agrees
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    I agree with SEO_AM, if your site is already doing well then adding a specific page/s to your existing site for your other location would be a more logical option.
    I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. ~Winston Churchill
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    Originally Posted by JoeSteinbeck
    In the vast majority of cases, I would strongly agree with you. To really give you a positive answer, though, I need to know your business and the kinds of keywords you're trying to rank for.

    Building multiple sites is a tactic that fell out of favor a long time ago, due to changes in how search engines viewed the authority of a site. You're basically starting from scratch to get a domain trusted and ranked again, and for what? To occupy two places on a SERP? To split your effort between two sites?

    This sounds like a horrible idea. Are you #1 for all of your keywords? If not, your SEO firm should push those. Are they having a hard time with targeting localized keywords for two locations? (e.g. "service_name in city_name")? If so, the site probably has a problem with its organization and navigation.

    You can actually get in trouble with Google for operating two domains for the same exact business, especially if the content and/or prices on the two sites are the same.

    What is their justification for needing two sites?
    Thank you for the responses. Joe, to answer your questions, we’re a law firm so the keywords would include our practice areas or anything associated (auto accident attorney, auto accident lawyer, truck accident, etc etc). Their justification for this is that we’re ranking good for our main office (usually ranked 4 or 5 for the major keywords) and our other office across the state isn’t ranking as well (usually toward the bottom or maybe on the second page). They said we could continue promoting our main office’s website on anything but just for search reasons build the entire new website for the specific location to get it to rank better geographically. They also said that they’d be writing all new content for the new site but I find it hard to believe that they’re going to take our 100+ pages of content and make it completely different when it’s really just talking about the same exact thing.

    Thanks again for the input, I really appreciate it.
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    I have three relatives within law firms. They have multiple offices with one single site.

    Take a look at the state-wide major law firms you are aware of. How many of them have separate sites for each office? Be honest.

    Once again, your SEO may not know how to run a site with multiple physical locations. Ask them for a list of companies where they have used the same strategy. Then test it with some local searches using their primary keywords. Easy test!!!
    Last edited by SEO_AM; Aug 18th, 2011 at 12:04 PM.
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    Originally Posted by SEO_AM
    I have three relatives within law firms. They have multiple offices with one single site.

    Take a look at the state-wide major law firms you are aware of. How many of them have separate sites for each office? Be honest.

    Once again, your SEO may not know how to run a site with multiple physical locations. Ask them for a list of companies where they have used the same strategy. Then test it with some local searches using their primary keywords. Easy test!!!

    That is a great idea, I'll definitely do that. Thank you!
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    Originally Posted by deathbysushi
    That is a great idea, I'll definitely do that. Thank you!
    Ask them for a contact name at each company and actually call to interview them on the success/failure of their SEO efforts. Checking references on claims from anyone is only prudent. It saves money and more importantly time. After all... time is money (as long as it is billable ).
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    I have a follow-up question. I spoke to a coworker here to tell her my thoughts and she said that because we're optimizing for 2 different specific locations plus our state it's going to be too hard to have all of that optimized in one place. She mentioned it's because of metatags, title pages and headlines. I wasn't sure how to respond because I'm not very educated in the field (nor is she) but would having to put 3 different areas in these metatags and whatnot be a factor we need to think about?

    The good news is, I emailed our website people and asked for some references and the guy called me back and said he might have one in California to show me but wasn't sure if he had any specific attorney and that we were kind of a special case since our other office is pretty far away. I think it's a little crazy that we're the only law firm that has two offices far away from each other when I'm pretty sure the company only deals with attorneys and is fairly big.

    I've reported back to my boss my findings after hearing from them and he's starting to get skeptical (thank goodness!) of the idea so I'm hoping maybe I can move them in another direction if this isn't the best choice. Joe and Darren mentioned maybe organization/navigation problems and adding extra pages that focus on the area, is there anything else recommended that we should look into rather than building a whole new website?

    Thank you again for the help!!
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    Originally Posted by deathbysushi
    I have a follow-up question. I spoke to a coworker here to tell her my thoughts and she said that because we're optimizing for 2 different specific locations plus our state it's going to be too hard to have all of that optimized in one place. She mentioned it's because of metatags, title pages and headlines.

    Thank you again for the help!!
    You should use different pages on your site to target different keywords, that is normal and good practise.
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    Use of META Tags is ancient. The only thing to pay attention to in the META section is the Title Element. Your coworker is dangerously ignorant when it comes to SEO. Is her husband the SEO?
    Last edited by SEO_AM; Aug 18th, 2011 at 04:19 PM.
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    Imagine trying to rank for "keyword city" for 100 different cities. If you try doing that with 100 websites, each of them MUST START FROM SCRATCH to compete for that city.

    However, if you have one website already dominant for a single city it has an enormous head start for city #2. The links that you acquired for city #1 give you power, authority and domain popularity that will immediately apply to city #2.

    By the time you have six cities ranking you will be an immediate force when you attack #7.

    I would place ALL of my money on ONE website.

    Comments on this post

    • SEO_AM agrees : When he say: "... ALL of my money..." Egol is talking about more than $1.
    Last edited by EGOL; Aug 18th, 2011 at 04:57 PM.
    * "It's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain
    * "Free advice isn't worth much. Cheap advice is worth even less." EGOL
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    Its better to focus on one website and turn it into a powerful brand. If you were starting a second website to focus on another business idea, then that's a different story.
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    Originally Posted by deathbysushi

    The good news is, I emailed our website people and asked for some references and the guy called me back and said he might have one in California to show me but wasn't sure if he had any specific attorney and that we were kind of a special case since our other office is pretty far away. I think it's a little crazy that we're the only law firm that has two offices far away from each other when I'm pretty sure the company only deals with attorneys and is fairly big.
    IMO your SEO firm doesn't know how to organize your website. Or may be they are doing this intentionally...

    It takes long time to rank on page #1 for any fresh website and if that much work will be implied to your existing website, it'll help you become authority in your niche.

    As you said your website is ranking on page #2 for other office location so it is easy to get page #1 compare to any fresh website.

    I didn't say any new thing here. I am just on the same wave with other experts. Just share one website that will concretely prove what we are saying : www.clear.com
    Look this page: www.clear.com/coverage

    Perfectly optimized, ranking higher in almost all the cities/states

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