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Does selling the same product on three different domains look spammy?

Does selling the same product on three different domains look spammy? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from Josh K. in Dallas. Josh asks, I manage three websites that sell the same products across three domains. Each site has a different selling approach, price structure, target audience, et cetera. Does Google see this as spammy or black hat? Boy, this is one of those occasions when I really kind of wish I could ask some follow up questions. On one hand, if the domains are radically different layout, different selling approach, different structure, like essentially completely different. And especially the fact that you said it’s only three domains, that might not be so bad. Clearly if it were 300 domains, or 3,000 domains, you can quickly get to a fairly large number of domains that can be crowding up the search results and creating a bad user experience by the time you get to a relatively medium size number of sites. The thing that was interesting about the question is you said it’s the same products, as in identical. So it’s a little weird if you’re selling identical products across three domains. If you were selling like men’s sweaters on one, and women’s sweaters on another, and shoes on a third. I’ve said before there’s no real problem with having different domains for each product. And a small number of domains, two, three, four, for very normally separable reasons can make perfect sense. But it is a little strange to sell the same products. So if they’re really identical that starts to look a little bit strange. And especially if you start to get more than three domains, I would be a lot more interested to hear more about what products it is that you’re selling. So those are some of the criteria the we would look at. Definitely, I found that if you have one domain you’ve got the time to build it up, to build a reputation for that domain. In my experience, when someone has 50 or 100 domains, they tend not to put as much work, as much love, into each individual domain. And whether they intend to or not, that tends to show after awhile. People have the temptation to auto generate content. Or they just try to syndicate a bunch of feeds. And then you land on one domain versus another domain. And it really looks incredibly cookie cutter comparing the two domains. And that’s when users start to complain. So those are a few of the things to consider whenever you’re thinking about going from just one domain to whether to go to multiple domains or not.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: