Romantic Depot operates six, soon to be seven adult stores offering sex toys and lingerie, in the New York City area. Their flagship stores are in Manhattan and the Bronx. They’ve been around for sometime and over the years their website aged along with other businesses seeking to help drive local foot traffic.
With the move to mobile devices in full demonstration the old RomanticDepot.com site was not responsive. This lead the owner of the chain to build a new site that was mobile friendly and it lead to Ultimate SEO‘s involvement overseeing the process of migrating to this new site without hurting the site’s strong local SEO presence.
Romantic Depot does have an impressive keyword positioning presence in the New York City area. Even nationally they are on page 2 of results for “sex shop“. The goal was to ensure a smooth transition to the mobile site while maintaining the SEO that had been built over the years.
The new site was largely a 1 to 1 ratio. The html static page manhattan.html went now to /manhattan/ on the WordPress site. We placed in any one off redirects, a redirect that took any url that ended in .html and would return it without the html and a redirect for the index.html homepage to come back with the WordPress homepage at /
Backlinks are the life blood of a sit’s ranking and it was important to ensure that those would be maintained with relevant content as well. Using SEMRush.com we collected all of the backlinks and their existing targets and ensured those had rules as well. While the site’s backlinks were in the tens of thousands it quick came down to a few hundred target urls that needed to be accounted for to maintain SEO.
Most of the work involved in preparing for the migration was speed performance in nature. The new site when tested on GTMetrix.com was loading in 12.6 seconds with over 400 http requests. We targeted a 3 second load and through Cloudflare.com we were able to utilize a CDN that brought the site closer to users as well as offered other benefits. Cloudflare alone brough the site load time to about 7 seconds.
We further limited content that could be on other pages for those other pages such as Google maps to the location homepages. Instituting lazy load ended up being the primary aspect of speeding up the site. Image optimization was also completed and a move to PHP7.3 from 5.6. Merging CSS and JS files also worked to reduce the requests.
With our work to provide a faster site complete the migration was completed and load times on the site are under 3 seconds for mobile users.
The problem that arises from multiple domain strategies is the segmentation of resources and confusion it can cause to Google Analytics. An easy eample of this is the bounce rate and pageviews metrics are actually hurt on the primary domain.
Consider this… a person searches romantic depot on Google. The first result is their site, likely the person is going to want to know what items might be at the store. Once the page loads they find the link to the store, maybe even before the page loads. Clicking that link they are now taken to a new domain.
That visitors actions would have counted as a bounced visitor. See when someone goes to your site and immediately leaves for another site that signals to Google that what was on that original site wasn’t what the searcher wanted. To prevent future searchers from going to a site that people leave directly after going to it they might increase the position of other sites to try and correct for this in the future. That ultimately means the top spot position for the keyword is being hampered by the site’s structure.
Further Google sees that a person wasn’t even interested enough in the site to look at a second page, they just left. In realty the second site is part of the same overall topic or brand its just that Google doesn’t necessarily understand that. An artificially inflated bounce rate and lower page views are all that the first site is getting and the second site is losing out as well as most of the marketing is surrounding the first site’s address…backlinks, social mentions and such.
The illustration above shows our page views of the main root domain. Guess when on the graph the romanticdepotsuperstore.com site was rolled into the main domains … late July. The thing is, the traffic isn’t any greater its just not split up anymore. The homepage link to the store is now going to a subfolder of the same domain, its helping by acting as another page view rather than hurting the site as a bounce.
The keywords and authority of this additional site were better utilized under the main domain RomanticDepot.com and this site was migrated to a subfolder /store as a separate WordPress site.
Thats important the site was migrated as a separate site under the original. This was done for multiple reason and it creates its own set of unique challenges but we’ll discuss that later in a future post.
The consolidation of the sites further helps with SEO because after we migrated we put into place redirects from the store’s domain to its new home within the subfolder. That means all the backlinks now combine to help one site. Lets consider the following illustration…
Domain A: DA 30 Backlinks: 10,000 Referring Domains: 1,000
Domain B: DA 30 Backlinks: 9,000 Referring Domains: 900
Competitor: DA 35 Backlinks: 13,000 Referring Domains: 1,300
Lets assume everything else is the same…we’d expect then that Competitor will rank higher on Google Search. But if we combine Domain A ad Domain B.
Domain AB: DA 40 Backlinks: 19,000 Referring Domains: 1,900
Everything else still the same….Domain AB will now rank higher than the Competitor.
In PBNs 2019 Part 1 we discussed some logistics of organization on a high level concerning Cloudflare, Spreadsheets and above all randomness. In this the second part of our private blog network series we’ll focus on expired domains and the assessing of their value.
First, we will look at Domain Authority but before we do lets note Domain Authority in and of itself is worthless. It IS NOT used by Google. It is made by a company called Moz and it is their best guest how Google interrupts the content on a site based on a lot of factors but not all the factors and not in the same ratio. Why do we use it then? Google doesn’t have to tell us their formula for ranking a site in their results…in fact to do so would likely be a disservice to everyone involved. So based on observation and conjecture Moz provides us with an imperfect rating called Domain Authority. It is though in the end a made up number that is flawed. It was so flawed that DA 2.0 came out in March 2019 where many sites saw their rating plummet. Search results didn’t change … why would they when they are not connected to DA. Now thats out of the way…
We should start with https://expireddomains.net its a good site that has aggregated the domains being deleted from multiple registrars and it provides some base metrics that we can use to qualify domains for a closer look. There are millions of deleted domain names and we need someway to filter them down to something you can work with.
Why do we care about expired domains? Your PBN is attempting to mlmic organically earned backlinks. In the real world backlinks would likely come from sites that have their own backlink profiles and no two organic sites would likely have the same backlink profile. Buying a new domain name will come with 0 backlinks. Buying a used one will likely include some backlinks therefore giving your PBN its power. Think of these like telephone numbers…and you want someone to call you…you wont want to use the old number of someone who didn’t have any friends, but if you get a popular person’s old number then your phone is more likely to ring. Sure they are after the former owner ( or site in our case ) but if you can answer their questions and keep them happy they may keep calling. Same with expired domains.
Another site that focuses on expired domains is domcop.com. They are expensive and I’ve never used them because I can do all the work it does pretty swiftly and save the 100 dollars a month. Sure they have a cheaper plan but you cant do anything with it. Access to the expired section and archived section isn’t included …. making it relatively worthless. Back to expireddomains.net its free. Once we log in we can choose filters to sort down to the domains we want. Some of the filters I always put into play are:
Search and gain these results….
Now most of these values are worthless to me. They are cached results usually and not exactly accurate. SO I use the clip board icon to export the top 200 sites that made it through our filters. I sort these results though first by Domain Pop or DP in the graph. Use the clip board to export just the domain names to your clip board.
With these export names in order of domain pop I paste the results into a speed-sheet for safe keeping. And then I use a program called Domain Detailer. You can download it … its an application on PC. You can buy credits and each domain name looked up takes a credit. But you get a ton for your money. Ive probably spent 80 bucks on these credits and looked up over a hundred thousand domains in this tool. The metrics reported are more accurate than expireddomains.net metrics.
From Domain Detailer I paste the domain names I have selected and click “Add From Text Box” with credits the program will build you a spreadsheet with metrics that should be semi self explanatory. The metrics I focus on are Moz DA, Majestic Domains, Majestic TF and the categories. Backlinks are often off and its good that we have two sources … Moz and Majestics counts … if either has some I believe the higher one.
When I find a domain that has a mix of these metrics that seems above the group I move to the final phase.
I open SEMRush.com and search that domain name and verify that the domain pop is as good as I expected. I then check the anchor text and if the anchor text is consistent with the keywords I’d like to be pulling in I then say … its time to buy.
Remember to use a registrar that offers free private registration and shop around they are not all the same price.
We’ll talk soon about PBNs and the onsite things that you’ll need to consider when building the site up. You also may decide that you just want to help a specific site out and skip building a PBN site and 301 redirect all backlinks to the main domain…we’ll cover that as well in Part 3.
Read too many blogs explaining the art of disavowing backlinks based on the referring site’s link metrics and now just ready to pull out your hair? Before you do you may benefit from getting back to the important stuff…the basics:
So I feel like its everyone’s dream to be a media conglomerate, why buy one newspaper when you can buy 100s? Well, SEO and the internet are one big community…so in the analogy … why build multiple newspapers in the same city? No one would do that and it’s about the same with the internet or at least it should be…but everyone wants to have multiple top ranking domains.
There is only two ways this could work out…
Thats really about it. You’re likely going to have room to grow in the sector you are in for sometime and you wont have the funds to buy up a fourth of the world’s T-shirt makers so focus on your one domain. Why? Well…changing the names to protect the guilty. I had a client who insisted on multiple domains we’ll say they were a tour company that ran guided tours of Liberty Island in NYC. Its a weird niche just cause you don’t have to have a guided tour to see the Island but because of the demand and popularity several companies sprout up and sale tickets to a national park property. Its easy money with online sales being where its at … but if you have 5 competitors sites you figure well lets add two more so now there are 7 sites and your competition adds 2 sites thats 15 now plus your 3 …. so we now have 18 sites all competing for the same audience and the same experience. Did you know that it’s really hard to rank up to the top 3 spots with one site? So now to benefit from what you’ve done you need to rank up 3 times that and fight off 15 instead of 5 other sites. We didn’t even have a second page until now in search results and someone has to be on it.
So thing about your multiple domains, assign keywords to one … then move to the next domain … don’t assign the same keywords and the same role to that site, you’re just competing with yourself. Also you’re diluting your search traffic maybe combined you have 30% of the traffic but Google doesn’t see that, it sees 15% here and 10% at this second domain and only 5% at the last site. Say a competitor has a site thats at 16% his one site will out rank your three because you’ve split up all your efforts and resources. Thats the problem with the Multi Domain Strategy.
I like to think I don’t do that. I have UltimateSEO.org and its SEO. I have CLoud502.com and it is cloud computing and I have data502.com and its Data Analysis. Related? Of course but very different. A person googling “AWS servers” isn’t going to click on a site about SEO. You find niches for the domains and target the audience and keywords for those domains.
So in the end, before you grow to more than one domain ask yourself if this new domain will have a different audience than the first. If not and if you can argue the same keywords fit both sites, you need one site.
So don’t eat yourself up with Multiple Domains. I’ll be posting in the next day about my addition of UltimateSEO.net .. how I intend NOT to canabalize this site.
Ultimate SEO has gotten a little more ultimate. We continuing to offer our SEO information and topical articles and plan to expand into indepth discussions of stuff at the most minute details. Great for those of us who love metrics and but our metrics are only as good as the tools we can access. SEO tools are plentiful and almost all are expensive. The best tools focus on one aspect of SEO and do that well but effective SEO campaigns are holistic and can’t neglect other foundational tool categories. Having the best backlink tool won’t make the best SEO Site Audit. It takes multple tools, often overlapping and many cost hundreds of dollars a month. Thats why we’re launching UltimateSEO.net
SEO Tools are abundant but hard to find interestingly enough. At Ultimate SEO We’re offering more than one scan tool for page auditing. In the image below there is a scan auditing tool in the blue and yellow header and a separate unrelated scan auditing tool on the page. We encourage you to use both. Additionally from the Tools drop down you can take advantage of a dozen more SEO tools. We’ll work to continue to expand the sites tools and we will NOT charge for these tools.
In addition to these tools SEO Panel is an open source tool that will allow users to track metrics and issues over the course of months and years allowing sites to see trends. SEO Panel is also FREE but it does require registration at THAT site. SEO Panel is available at https://panel.ultimateSEO.org
CSV File Merger
Keyword List Multiplier
Structured Data Tool
Analytics Spam Tool
Bulk URL Checker
RSS Feed Creator
What’s My SEO Score (Page Auditor #3)
We also have an in-depth SEO tool available to our listers and visitors.
SEO Articles and case studies will be published and pieced together to create guides specific to topics of interest.
Forums and discussions between fellow SEO professionals are available and hosted at the site.
SEO Support Desk allows registered users to enter a support request .