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2 sites for one business...

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2 sites for one business... d-l-h 3/27/13 11:33 AM
We have a small electrical contracting business. In the past, we had two sides to our business and had a separate website and url for each. One for generators and one for electrical. We decided to go entirely into generators and mostly phase out the electrical side of the business, although we will still be doing some electrical for some of our customers. My question is, what to do with the electrical website. If we redo it for generators, we would have 2 websites for the same purpose.

How does Google see this, so I can make the best decision as to what to do with this website/url?

Re: 2 sites for one business... jim.jaggers 3/27/13 12:01 PM
It depends on the search profile of those two websites; that is what kinds of queries they show up for and how they rank.  And on what kinds of services you intend to provide in the future.

If you are largely doing away with all of the electrical services you can probably work with your hosting service to have the URL removed from its DNS.  If you plan to continue some of the services, but want to keep them separate from your generator services, you could pare down the website.  If you want to integrate the continued service with the generator side of the business you could transfer the page content from the electrical to generator sites and use redirects to keep the search value of the original site.

If Google search is an important source of customers for your business, consider hiring someone to guide you through the process.  There are many pitfalls.
Re: 2 sites for one business... d-l-h 3/27/13 12:10 PM
Thank you. Google search is very important to our business. Can't afford to hire someone to manage this, though, we are only a small local company.

Over time, the search queries have become pretty similar for both of our sites.

I am trying to decide if I am better to just do away with this second site but it comes up well in search results and I hate to just throw it away. If it replicates much of the content of our other site, will that be penalized? Or they will split page rank and both be demoted in results?

Re: 2 sites for one business... jim.jaggers 3/27/13 12:19 PM
Hit the webmaster forums.  You will be particularly interested in discussion of 301 redirects.  Start googling and researching the process of transferring the ranking of one website to another.  You definitely don't want to create websites with duplicate content (google that too).!forum/webmasters

I would wait until you understand the basics before asking questions in the forum, just lurk for now.  Once you understand the process you will be able to ask more pointed questions and the answers will make more sense to you.
Re: 2 sites for one business... d-l-h 3/27/13 5:45 PM
I guess I sound like a n00b   :-)

I do try to keep up with the webmasters forum and Googles best practices but it's difficult to find someone with the same question as I have and it's difficult to find information from Google that is clear. I understand the issue of spammers taking advantage of it if Google gets too specific, but I'm not great at reading between the lines.

It sounds like you are saying it may be worth it to keep the second site?

Do I need to make sure there is no duplicate content at all? Is it a mistake to link each site to the other? I don't want to pass pagerank between them.
Re: 2 sites for one business... jim.jaggers 3/28/13 7:40 AM
The broad process is pretty straight forward.  You'll need advice about the specifics of the implementation and some understanding of internet protocols to understand the answers.

1. Don't make any duplicate content
2. Cross-linking is questionable
3. If you have good rank for some terms on the electric page and you'd like to transfer that to the generator page the way to do that is to 301 redirect electric pages to generator pages, after which you retire the electric page
4. There are ranking strategies that would use both sites.  I think it's easier to consolidate that rank to one site, unless you have a non-ranking reason to have two sites
Re: 2 sites for one business... d-l-h 3/28/13 1:52 PM
Thank you, that is really helpful!