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Splitting Up Site: New Domain or Sub Domain?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by thefarang, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. thefarang

    thefarang Newbie

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    I was hoping someone here might have some advice on splitting up a website.


    The back story is that I have a website that has outgrown its original focus. The site started out as a niche dating site and community. It worked at the time because in the early days many of the women were concerned about being on a dating website. Sure, they wanted to meet guys but they were concerned about online dating. So the founder of the site decided to add blogging and forums and turned it into a niche community with a lot of dating functionality (i.e. sending kisses, etc).


    The monetization strategy was to put restrictions on the dating features unless they had a paid membership.


    Fast forward nearly a decade and now the site is struggling a bit. It's having difficulty attracting and keeping members (men and women) who joined mostly for the community because they don't want to "Like" or share content from a site that has online dating overtones. And the dating features haven't kept pace with other dating sites so many of the women are hopping over to dedicated dating websites (I guess they got over their shyness, LOL).


    So, it seems like the solution here would be to split the site into a dating site and a community site. I'm thinking we remove all of the dating type features from the forum software and offer 100% full access free membership in the community and purchase a dating site script and port all of the users over to the dating site so it'll have about 100,000 members on launch.


    Now, the question is, what is the domain strategy for this? I'm thinking that these are the viable options.


    Make the dating site a sub-domain of the community site. For instance:


    Community Domain = NICHEBUDDIES.COM
    Dating Domain = DATING.NICHEBUDDIES.COM

    We're entertaining this idea because we get a lot of the brand equity and some of the domain authority from the original domain. The downside is that it still leaves the two sites connected which somewhat dilutes what we're trying to accomplish.


    Another way to go would be to find a new domain that references the community site domain.


    NICHEBUDDIESDATING.COM

    This also allows us to keep the brand equity but clearly separates the dating from the community. But it is a new domain which means none of the community site's domain authority would be carried over.

    The third option would be to use a totally new dating-friendly domain.


    NICHEDATING.COM


    This one we're considering because now we can get a keyword focused domain which would help SEO rankings a bit. One of the cons of this approach is that many people won't know who the new domain is so if they start getting emails or find their info on the new domain it could cause some freaking out.


    Anyway, thoughts? Advice? Anybody done anything like this before?
     
  2. Seankearns

    Seankearns Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I thought no juice or domain authority was passed from the site to subdomains meaning seo-wise it makes no difference. Am I wrong?
     
  3. thefarang

    thefarang Newbie

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    I hear differing opinions. I've heard zero link juice is passed and I've also heard some people say that it may pass some authority.

    Here's one example of what I've read about it:

    From WebSEO Analytics

    We would fall into that relatively few sub-domains group. The dating would be one sub domain and I think we might have 3 or 4 others, mostly for stuff like CDN, a staging environment, etc.
     
  4. Cleverchristopher

    Cleverchristopher Registered Member

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    Occupation:
    Professional SEO
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    Seattle
    I have been building real estate sites for years, I have gone down every road:
    sub.domains
    sub directories site.com/cityname
    and new domains - cityhomes.com and cityhomes.net
    After years in the game I am a firm believer in building from a top level domain, clean no hyphen only .com or .net (with .com being twice as good as .net)
    I have never seen any authority pass thru using sub domains or directories
    For example - I started with a PR5 site with a few years good Google history - built sub sites for several cities and saw zero benefit.
    At the same time I built top domain sites for each city citynamehomes.com and the long term outcome was much better with the individual sites.

    I did the same thing with a bunch of water heater sites. I built multiple sets covering every city in the Dallas Metro area. The top level individual sites did much better than the sub.domain sites.

    Furthermore - if you are going to do a lot of black hat SEO and any of the sub.domain sites get tagged or flagged the whole thing is in trouble.

    We must invest a lot of time into our sites - I would rather have a few thousand hour into a top level site than get that invested in a sub.domain.
    CC
     
  5. thefarang

    thefarang Newbie

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    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I was sort of leaning in that direction but it's always good to hear from people who have been there and done it before.