Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Scott Clark on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, August 8, 2019).

Ranking is bad with some keyword cannibalization

Scenario: Brand.com with multiple product TLDs. Product1.com, product2.com, etc. Ranking is bad. Some keyword cannibalization is clear.

We are considering advising client to merge all of these product sites to their brand.com TLD as subfolders to concentrate their SEO effort.

MY QUESTION: how much is Google`s entity graph mitigating this issue. Is there markup we can use to achieve a sort of "sameas" effect between these productx.com sites and brand.com site?

EDIT: We have organization schema on several of the sites.
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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Anders Stensønes: Add 301 redirects from the productx sites to the
  • Scott Clark: I`m not sure you understood my question. That is how we would do the migration if migration is indeed required. Thank you.
  • Anders Stensønes: Ah, sorry. Don’t have any exact numbers, but would definitely advise in consolidating on one domain.

    Don’t know if could be used (SameAs). So might be better to advice a merge(?)
  • Stockbridge Truslow: Your product schema should reference the "brand" or "manufacturer" regardless of whether you opt for same domain or leaving them split. So long as those are set up and named properly, it should match up.
  • Scott Clark: it`s a good idea. We do have org/sub-org markup on some of these, but I don`t see any evidence it matters.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: Is it REALLY a sub organization? Brands and products typically aren`t so if they are "Products" with a "Brand" on a Product based web site produced by the "Brand" - then that`s a different message/signal that you`re sending. Accuracy and consistency is key here....

    Also... Google likes other citations outside of your circle of sites for verification too. Having the "brand" posting about it`s different "products" on social media and whatnot is one way of getting that rolling. Other sites talking about the brand and the products together helps as well.
  • Scott Clark: The suborgs are only used in actual sub-org scenarios. There are websites in different worldwide regions. The idea for adding the same organization to all of the product subrands has not been fully deployed and is a good idea.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: Webstie markup has several ways to link it to the same "organization" too. So you can indicate the web site is produced by the brand.
  • Scott Clark: Great idea! We have used the organization/suborg but never seen any improvements in presentation. Not sure what we`re doign wrong.
  • Michael Stricker: I’d prefer brand Domain with subdomains for products and some cross-Domain Canonicalization of Brand site products pages to pp in subdomains. Less maintenance. Cross-Domain Analytics Tracking. And brand references in Product subdomains canon to brand domain pp.
    Product pp get Product Schema.
    Brand pp get Org Schema. Differentiate content, link sources, and plenty of appropriate 3rd-party citations to product pp. I’d also see if the brand is noteworthy in a news/history/PR way, and if so, find a sympathetic Wikipedia editor to build out some of the best authority available for the org. Somebody in the group must know an editor.
  • Scott Clark: me too. Not a choice I have. People pay a price for not involving SEO pros early.
  • Michael Stricker: just had this chat today with a CEO who lost 80% of their links to a redesign & new domain name w/o redirects or reclamation.
  • Scott Clark: with this client I recovered links from CNN, Nytimes, msnbc, latimes, 3. Govs and 12. Edu in a single afternoon. Other issues so serious this did not move the needle.
  • Scott Clark: they`ll probably run out of patience and sack me lol.
  • Richard Hearne: First thing I would do is check to see if Google has indexed each of those products as entities in the KG. Then next issue will be if those entities are associated with your Brand. If the answer to any/all of this is no then you can start by building a schema graph for each of the products and the Brand, and ensuring that the structured data and content of the various sites aligns and can be interpreted correctly. Last step will be to try to get all those entities picked up in Google`s KG. There are many known ways to improve chances of getting Google to index your entities, e.g. having articles in Wikipedia, data points in WikiData etc.

    As to the overall question of maintaining separate TLDs for Brand and Products - I`m not sure that Google`s KG is affecting or mitigating any problems with organic ranking. Very hard to say without digging a whole lot into some data.

    In general, you`re probably heading the right direction by amalgamating everything on a single domain, but surely there will be some edge cases where this might not result in positive outcomes.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, August 8, 2019).

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