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To Split or Not to Split: Should I split one website into multiple?

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization' started by egonitron, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. #1
    I have a website that's been around for over 13 years built on Wordpress. Let's say it's about video games (it's not but it will serve as an analogy.) It's a news and reviews website - not a store or business. Revenue is all from ads. DA 61, for reference on age/size/popularity.

    tl;dr: Is it OK to split an old website into multiple new ones (splitting off a new niche from the old general site), copy over the posts related to the new niche, and 301 redirect the old posts to the new ones on the new sites?​

    Explanation: Traffic has been dropping steadily over the past few years, and we're trying to figure out what's going on.

    This started off as a general enthusiast blog talking about "video games" as an enthusiast interested in a certain type of game. Over time it started getting diffused - we started talking about other types of games, even more boring ones, still focused on the consumer.

    Then we started talking about how to develop video games, then about the future of video games (like VR for example) or the technology behind developing games or how to sell them, etc.

    So I think the site has become too diffused and is unable to keep up with the big, well-funded websites in the industry.
    What we're wanting to do is split this website into three or four to focus better on what each user wants. Here's my current plan based on our analogy:
    1. Website 1 (the original site): Go back to writing about video games from an enthusiast and consumer perspective, allowing for more flexibility (not only enthusiast-focused).
    2. Website 2 (new): Writing about the future of video games from a consumer perspective (VR, AR, etc.)
    3. Website 3 (new): Writing about the future of video games from an industry perspective (tech specifics, development, marketing, etc.)
    4. Website 4 (new): Writing about the traditional and future industry as a whole, which would also be a source of organic traffic to drive people the business' services - let's call it web development for the indie video game industry.
    So my question is:
    1. Should we create these three new websites and all new content, letting the old content sit on the old site (keeping in mind our limited resources), or
    2. Copy over the relevant content from Website 1 to each new site and 301 the old posts to the new ones on the new websites?
    I feel like ultimately this is going to be a better user experience, help us understand our audiences better, and be clearer for search engines to decide what the sites are actually about, but I'm worried about the SEO impact involved here.

    Thank you for your help!
    SEMrush
     
    egonitron, Oct 2, 2019 IP
    SEMrush
  2. GlowHost-Sales

    GlowHost-Sales Member

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    #2
    If you are planning 2 different batches of the keywords for each web site then it worth to split them and target efforts in two ways. If you plan to use the same keywords that is better to have one web site.
     
    GlowHost-Sales, Oct 2, 2019 IP
  3. egonitron

    egonitron Well-Known Member

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    #3
    Thanks - I guess my bigger question is, is it OK to actually remove the articles from the first website, place them on the brand new one, then redirect the old post to the new ones?
     
    egonitron, Oct 2, 2019 IP
  4. mrb1129

    mrb1129 Well-Known Member

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    #4
    Say if you do split!! And republish the posts. Then how do you know that they are going to end up differently then now?

    And over the course of time its natural that post or posts will loose interest. You said your site is 13 years old. So, an article which is more than 10 years old is bound to get less and less traffic over time. Unless you make updates and upgrades to keep up. Instead doing something drastic my suggestion will be that know what interest's your audience. What your competitors are doing, what type of articles they are getting ranked. Compare it to your site. See what's the difference is and then decide.
     
    mrb1129, Oct 2, 2019 IP
  5. seocorporation

    seocorporation Active Member

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    #5
    Again saying this from my experience. I started with selling SEO services so the domain with which I started my company had the word "SEO" in it. Then we branched out in social media services, then website development and then mobile app development ( ios app and android).

    I did the same thing you you are thinking to do. I split the website in 3. Though I have a team of developers, designers, writers and SEO experts still that experiment failed miserably. I lost a a lot of money in a year.

    Remember when you started, Internet was growing and getting momentum was easy. Not it will not be so easy for your new domain. Your old doamin will become weak due to loss of content and you might loss your DA ( fractionally) if those removed pages have backlinks.
    Your current pages rank because you have a high domain authority but the new domains will have no authority. Even redirecting the pages will not help much.

    Nokia started as a paper company and became a mobile company after going in rubber production but they did not change their names. Or even Apple started with computers and went into iphone, ipad etc. They din't change their names with every product.
    What I suggest that keep your domain and create separate sections( folders) or sub-domains and keep on adding content. Aim big and aim to be #1 in that niche with one single domain. This will improve your DA more and more and help your new posts rank well easily.

    But if you split it in many parts, managing all the domains, content production and making them rank will be a nightmare and expensive.
     
    seocorporation, Oct 2, 2019 IP
  6. guru16

    guru16 Well-Known Member

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    #6
    Update with some new interesting articles that are relevant to today do a PR campaign some social marketing etc no need to reinvent the wheel you don't want to lose your DA or worst case get blacklisted because googelbot decided your trying to spam the search engines. seems like your old traffic may be going some where else find a new traffic source join a bunch of what ever your business is about groups on facebook engage with the users of said groups be smart about it obv don't join and then just spam your link.
     
    guru16, Oct 2, 2019 IP
  7. mrb1129

    mrb1129 Well-Known Member

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    #7
    Why would anybody care about DA?

    And secondly putting everything in sub-domain will be horrible. It will be like starting with new domains. OP will have to do all the SEO work from scratch if he or she wishes to put in sub-domains.
     
    mrb1129, Oct 3, 2019 IP
  8. seocorporation

    seocorporation Active Member

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    #8
    Of course, he should care about DA. Do you think you will take a new domain having zero DA and make it rank higher than someone who has higher DA. His new posts performs well on search engines and attract traffic because his DA is high and that is the reason he gets ads ( due to high traffic and authority). Post the same text on a new domain with less DA and you will see why DA matters.

    Putting it in sub-domain was just a suggestion because he is thinking to start work on new domains but the best way to keep it the way it is and keep on promoting, improvising.
     
    seocorporation, Oct 3, 2019 IP
  9. mrb1129

    mrb1129 Well-Known Member

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    #9
    I just don't understand why would you care so much about a third part metrics. Which has no effect on the SERP's whatsoever. And not to mention it is highly inaccurate and imaginary. The way you are posting I can see you are clearly obsessed with DA. Any real SEO who works in the field would know what I am saying.
     
    mrb1129, Oct 3, 2019 IP
  10. GlowHost-Sales

    GlowHost-Sales Member

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    #10
    Why don't have new (edited at least) versions of the articles be posted on the new source?
     
    GlowHost-Sales, Oct 4, 2019 IP
  11. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    #11
    I suppose it's one way to completely kill off traffic. You need to find out why your traffic is declining and where your traffic mostly came from. In my book splitting a large, working site into several small sites is like saying: Nothing else is working, might as well just do this one last thing and if this doesn't work I'll call it quits. My advice: don't split your site.
     
    qwikad.com, Oct 5, 2019 IP
    mrb1129 likes this.
  12. mrb1129

    mrb1129 Well-Known Member

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    #12
    Exactly, without being sure a move like that is not wise.
     
    mrb1129, Oct 5, 2019 IP
  13. ElscottHavoc

    ElscottHavoc Well-Known Member

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    #13
    Where does the majority of your current traffic come from? Is it mostly organic search results?
    I would shy away from completely dividing the site up, especially if the content has some relevancy. If you're categorizing the content well enough, people will consume the particular categories that interest them and ignore the others. And as long as your other niche is related, there is certain to be opportunities for cross over through suggesting related posts.

    If the majority of your traffic is coming from search engines already, then splitting the content off probably isn't going to help you anyways because traffic is coming to individual landing pages. What happens after the traffic arrives can give you some insights, though.

    I feel like what you probably need to do is revamp your content and bring it up to speed. A fairly tedious process, but just start going through your posts 1 by 1 and rereading them, updating them, and potentially combining some of it that might work well to be combined to create more thorough information. Meanwhile, you can use this opportunity to start building links in the content to new content and old content as you refamiliarize yourself with what has been posted to our site.
     
    ElscottHavoc, Oct 10, 2019 IP