Categories: Crawling, indexing & ranking :

How do you tell google that your sites are related?

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How do you tell google that your sites are related? Wood Mill 2/18/14 10:55 AM
I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 

We have three sites for our company. Our main site, thewoodmillofmaine.com and two sites dedicated to two lines of specific product. How do we let google know that they are all really one company? 

For example it would be nice if our google maps listing could show all three sites. 
Another example would be that it would be nice if the menu on our main site could link directly out to our additional sites without google thinking that visitors are bouncing right back off our site, when in reality they are looking for more content.



How do you tell google that your sites are related? cristina 2/18/14 11:13 AM
About Google Maps listings try the Google Places help forum.
About showing Google that three sites are related, and if you want them treated more like the same site, you might try sub-domains instead of separate domains if you wish.
In general Google is quite good at figuring out if sites are related, from similarities in content, interlinking, etc.

Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? Matt Storms 2/18/14 11:13 AM
Build everything under 1 site and then build out the brands in different folders. 
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? Robbo 2/18/14 11:16 AM
Hi

Generally, if the three sites are so closely related not just in terms of ownership but indexable content and target audience, you should seriously and carefully consider the potential benefits of integrating them and having a single site.

Google will easily recognize that your sites are "related" but Google does not wish to see all three sites popping up in search results together for typical relevant searches.   If ythey allowed that, you can guess what all the big corporations would attempt to do.

If you decide that you and your customers really do need three separate sites, you should be careful how you link them together.  You need to avoid any suspicion of site being there to provide "unnatural" links to the other.
   So you may need to include a signal to google [ rel="nofollow" ] in the links.





Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? Robbo 2/18/14 11:21 AM


As far as I know there is no set procedure for telling Google that the sites are related - it's so obvious that there is no need for it in your case.


Check things like:  phone numbers, postal address, zip codes,  domain registration, etc etc.

Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? Wood Mill 2/18/14 11:26 AM
Just as a comparison, our situation would be just like that of Sears and Craftsman. Our additional websites are dedicated to a brand. Does anyone know how sears went about handling this situation?
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? KORPG Kevin 2/18/14 11:29 AM
I would bring those brands into the main domain as subdomains

So your structure would be:

www.company.tld -> main domain for the entire company
brand1.company.tld -> "branded" subdomain for a given brand product.
brand2.company.tld -> another "branded" subdomain for a given brand product.

That way Google knows they're all interrelated and you gain the benefits of them all acting together for the benefit of the main corporate domain.
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? Wood Mill 2/18/14 11:33 AM
Why would it be obvious? It is quite obvious that it is needed in the case of a google maps listing, where all three sites should be displayed as they are all very relevant to our customers.
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? cristina 2/18/14 11:37 AM
About listings in Google Maps the best place to ask is the Google Places help forum.

Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? Matt Storms 2/18/14 11:48 AM
Kevin,

Hate to disagree with you but subdomains are the kiss of death. Wood, can you put them in a subfolder?
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? KORPG Kevin 2/18/14 11:51 AM
That's a pretty bold and generic statement Matt. So naturally I'm going to disagree.

If done properly with some logical reasoning behind the subdomains (such as brand separation) there shouldn't be any issue.
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? cristina 2/18/14 12:03 PM
About sub-domains and sub-folders, I think it depends. If the content needs to be compartmentalised, sub-domains might be better for usability, it indicates to people that the content is related, but there are also differences. It gives more flexibility for things like robots.txt, seeing stats in server access logs and Webmaster Tools, etc.
It might depend on the number of sub-domains and their names. If there are many sub-domains with names made of keywords, that would look a bit desperate, but if there is a small number of sub-domains with a logical structure, there is no reason for it to be bad.
Of course it depends on content, usability, etc.
Sub-folders might be better at consolidating pagerank,  but if they create the impression that things are related when they are not that much, sub-domains might be better for usability.
At the end of the day, it is not that dramatic either way. If it does not turn well one way, there is the option of trying the other way and redirecting status 301. We keep talking about sites as if they are as solid as the ancient pyramids, but they are the most flexible structure possible.
So keep the URL structure as open to updating it as possible, if there are multiple choices.

Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? Matt Storms 2/18/14 12:47 PM
I played the subdomain game. I had 457 of them. They never did anything good. I tried, I really did. I worked at it. If you put everything on the main domain you will have better growth and value. 
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? Wood Mill 2/18/14 12:49 PM
I really think it would be benificial if google would give the option to list all of the websites that are owned by a company in one place. There is no reason not to.
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? KORPG Kevin 2/18/14 12:52 PM
I played the subdomain game. I had 457 of them.

That's probably the root issue right there. 
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? Matt Storms 2/18/14 1:16 PM
Hey at least I admit it. Now we both know why that company went under. 
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? cristina 2/18/14 3:49 PM
@Wood Mill, did you notice drops in search results? It is not clear what the actual problem is.
About listings on Google Maps, the place to ask about it is the Google Places help forum, or look at the Google Places support center https://support.google.com/places/?hl=en

Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? KORPG Kevin 2/18/14 6:59 PM
Honesty... always the best policy.
Hindsight... that thing that makes honesty so damn smug.

:)
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? JohnMu 2/19/14 7:16 AM
Hi Wood Mill

When you have a handful of sites like that, I wouldn't worry about Google -- we'll figure it out on our own. Think about what makes the most sense for your users and implement that. There can be some advantages either way, but I imagine the biggest effect will be outside of search. Sometimes it can even make sense to duplicate some content across 2-3 sites, which is also fine (if you want to be careful, you could use a rel=canonical to point to your preferred version, but even that generally isn't critical in a case like this). 

Obviously, it's very different when you have a larger number of sites, both from a technical as well as potentially from a web-spam point of view. Duplicate content (assuming that's a worry here) is very common on the Internet, rest assured that this won't be the last time that we'll have to deal with it, and we've become exceedingly efficient at it. 

Cheers
John
Re: How do you tell google that your sites are related? wesiwyg 2/19/14 7:27 AM
We recently had 2 domains that ranked very well for one particular term - on Feb 13th, our main site lost its rank in favour of our second site which is like a "pocket" version of the main site.  What's the likelihood the rank drop was due to this?  It certainly is a good reason not to run multiple sites.