The only validation for having two identical websites is for tracking purposes, but that is not a good enough reason. Sometimes when an online advertiser doesn’t have access to a company’s existing website (ex: www.yourbusiness.com) they set up an identical site with a different domain (ex: www.yourbusiness.net). The advertiser then creates ads on the new website while the original website still exists. Although this allows the advertiser the ability to track all of the traffic to the site they are advertising, there are more disadvantages than advantages to this system.
Here are three reasons why businesses should not have two identical websites.
OK, so I’m going to sound like a hippy here but…have you ever heard of karma? Well, to have good search engine optimization, SEO, karma, your site has to build mojo. As a business, your SEO karma has to be good to be on the first page of Google. To be good means you need lots of mojo. Therefore, you want to build the most amount of mojo possible for your site. If you have two websites, then you have to work twice as hard to get twice as much mojo!
Sites are ranked in a particular order on Google for a number of reasons. All of them resulting in mojo. Mojo is built through everything from how many other sites link to yours, how people interact with your site, how your site pages are formatted, how many people like your facebook page to how pretty your site looks. It is a not a black and white thing…it’s a big rainbow of stuff. Like mojo. The more colors you have the better your mojo. And the mojo you build sticks with your site (with the domain you cultivate it for), so why would you pay an advertiser to build mojo for a site they own and you don’t, a site that isn’t your main website? The mojo all needs to go to one website, where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. Otherwise, when you stop advertising your mojo just goes away.
Operating a website requires a lot of time and attention. If a company wants their website to be visited, then they have to take the time and effort to maintain a valuable website with high quality content. Most businesses cannot meet this standard with one website, let alone two. Furthermore, updating is rather difficult when you have two websites to update constantly, and businesses can fall behind in this area easily.
When one website is pulling content from the other, making the two sites identical, it may make updating the sites less time consuming. This solution seems like it’s solving the maintenance and confusion problems (we’ll talk about that next) but it actually does you more harm than good. Google subtracts mojo points for replicate content, it awards mojo points for original content. Google doesn’t know you own both sites and just set one up for marketing purposes, it just knows there are two of the exact same thing online. So one of those sites is a copycat and it doesn’t matter which one, they both get “F’s”. Mojo fail.
“Creating a duplicate of your website will cause one of them to be penalized for having duplicate content,” Nemanja Aleksic said from Clone a WordPress Website. “This means that, as far as Google is concerned, your website does not exist.”
Search engines do not understand the purpose of two identical websites and therefore automatically selects one website, usually the one that is older with more traffic and activity. However, sometimes the second website comes up behind the first one and knocks it off of the rankings. (Why Your Business Should Not Have Multiple Websites)
People are extremely wary online interactions. When they come across both of your company’s websites, they will not take the time to figure out the reason why they are identical, or not identical. This not only confuses visitors but it will turn them away if they believe your company and your website has the potential to be fake or carry viruses.
Some companies will have two identical websites in design but not in content. They may do this because of ease and time restraint but it is still frowned upon. Even if your website is beautiful it can be unfunctional. Visitors do not understand why they are seeing two similar websites, so they will just go someplace else. Inconsistency creates discomfort in potential clients, which results in bad mojo.
“Having multiple company websites may confuse visitors as they are not sure which of the many websites is the “official” website,” according to Why Your Business Should Not Have Multiple Websites by OutReach. “This can be a major factor in converting visitors to customers due to the potential loss of trust and possible business. People searching online may not have a high level of patience for making this determination.”
All I’m saying is this – don’t let someone tell you they’re painting rainbows when you know rainbows are made not painted. And if you’re confused or even slightly alarmed by the promises made by the advertisers get a second opinion before you move forward. If you’re reading this you probably fall into that category. So call an expert you trust and ask for their option. If you don’t have an expert you trust give me a call, I’m full of opinions, you may not love them all but I’ll listen and let you know. 573-447-1836. Peace and happy mojo to you and your SEO.