The world is changing and The Yellow Pages and other types of business listings services have found that the web is not very friendly to the printed telephone directory of old. I suspect that their revenue along with their business model for shipping the Yellow Pages has all but vanished.
What has resulted is a rush to convert these types of old media companies into modern webs agencies. Only one problem, unlike a static ad a website actually requires professional skills to make it work properly or even have a shot at working. The result has been a slew of bad advice for businesses when it comes to launching a website and doing search engine marketing. The most common and perhaps the most damaging is recommending to business to create more than one website when they have a single brand, single focus, and definable office locations; for example Lawyers / Attorneys and Plastic Surgeons . The result of the duplicated website is typically results in an irrecoverable or long term penalty from Google , Yahoo or Bing. So when business asks me - Should I have more than one website? The answer is an absolute no. ( At least not an index able website but that is a topic of another page).
I know there are marketing companies out there that will tell you it’s ok to have multiple websites and in fact sometimes they get away with it. That is until Google catches up, when that happens the results can be damaging to your overall SEO marketing efforts. Here is an example of a typical keyword fluxuation after duplicating websites or using spammy SEO efforts.
I hid the clients name and keywords for obvious reasons.
So you will notice some growth and some drops in keywords ranking with the test case I posted.
So you will notice some growth and some drops in keywords ranking with this test case. However, the seo keyword data points to be worried about are the massive keyword drops down and the excessive keyword swings up. This is typical red flag which should be treated as your canary in a cage so to speak. In the not too distant future you can count on the Google algorithm to take the business website to the proverbial tool shed. The good news here is the Google penalty can be minimized if caught early.
So what caused this Google Penalty?
1. 3rd party SEO efforts that targeted 10 Keywords instead of the 1000 the client normally goes after – a lack of diversity to a duplicated website
2. Launching and 301 of a duplicated website with like (Not exact content) yet used the same brand name.
3. Setting up of duplicated G+ and you tube accounts that intern affected the rich search snippets and places listings the client had. (Think Schema.org)