How would you handle this mess?


barry

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Jun 21, 2015
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Hi All,

I have a client who has two websites. It's a frustrating, annoying situation, but they want both sites to be live. There is nothing that I can do about that at this point.

They are a real estate lender, physically located in NJ, but they serve both NYC and NJ. They actually do a lot more biz in NY than NJ. It's a much more important market.

Their old site (which I don't really want to promote because it is out of date, ugly, not mobile responsive, and generally not conversion-friendly at all) has been around a few years and gets a modest amount of organic traffic.

The new site is a much better website, but we are just starting with its SEO and it will take time to catch up.

Now, obviously this is a duplicate content nightmare. But my idea was this - what if I made the old site NJ-centric, and the new site NY-centric, with NY-related content and keywords? How good/bad of an idea is this? Also, since my G+ page has the NJ-based physical address, would it be weird to have it point to a site which is optimized for NY?

Any feedback would be great.

Thanks,
Barry
 
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Given the situation you're facing I think that would make sense. You would need to rewrite all the content to be unique, but having one site NY focused and one NJ focused could work.

Why do they want to have both sites live? What was their reasoning for that request? Also if NY is the more important market then I don't know if I would make the stronger site NJ focused. You might lose business as you're trying to build the new site up.

I don't think I would run two separate sites like this, but if there's a solid reason for it then it could work. Can you share more details?
 

Conor Treacy

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As mentioned, if you rewrite the content, you'll not face a duplicate content type situation.

I'm also with Eric when it comes to the stronger of the two websites should be targeting the NYC area.

I'm not a fan of two websites being live and competing against each other, but if they're dealing with different markets (commercial vs residential) then it may make sense. Give the user what they're looking for.

We have a client that has two websites, one from a previous web designer and then the new one that was built. In his case however we have requested robots blocked and a do not index - they are legitimately changing their domain name, but don't want the forwarding due to bad SEO that had happened in the past.
 

heckler

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What sort of reasons did they give for using 2 websites? Maybe we can help you with objection handling.

To me having the aged domain with a website that doesn't suck would be an ideal situation... domain age is a strong ranking factor.
 

cdawg2610

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Barry -

I run into this a fair amount, and while it's not ideal, and it can work.

You are right with the idea of marketing each to a different section/market with the content that supports that plan. I've had the most success when we are very clear about the marketing plans before we roll this out across two sites. So doing inventory of what exists on both sites, and then planning out what site will target what searcher.

I've always called it the "picking of keyword teams". There's a set of keywords for whatever the vertical is (area, type, other) and the marketing plan has to start with assigning the keywords to the different sites.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I would start out by letting them know there's a separate charge for handling another website. If you've already done that, I would just SEO both the way you mentioned, targeting different areas, making sure that the duplicate content is taken care of as mentioned by the two above me :)
 

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