Creating a link farm, or a collection of web sites for the sole purpose of pointing to one another to boost search engine rankings, is a well-know (and widely discredited) search engine spammer trick. But some businesses have legitimate reasons for maintaining multiple sites and multiple domains. A brand-owner may want to have separate sites for individual products, for example. A merchant offering widely divergent products may want to operate different specialized storefronts. These are just a few examples of sites that can get inadvertently hit with spam penalties—not for doing something wrong, but for straying into a gray area where search engines might look askance at their tactics.
In today's SearchDay article, Avoiding Search Engine Woes with Multiple Domains and Websites, guest writer Grant Crowell covers a recent Search Engine Strategies panel that explored these issues and offered solutions to potential problems. A longer version of this story for Search Engine Watch members goes into more detail about situations that can inadvertently trigger spam penalties, such as inappropriate cross linking between sites, using global templates, and geo-locating blunders, along with solutions to these and other problems. Click here to learn more about becoming a member.