SEO Fight Club - Episode 19 - Link Structures - 05-29-2019
Hello, everyone. Sorry about the technical issues this morning. I kicked off the broadcast from the wrong account. So again, just screaming Pro over here, but wanted to welcome everyone. Today's episode is about linking structures, and we have a lot of cool information for you, including a theoretical link structure I always dreamed about doing in online retail.
And so I'm going to go over that, and then it'll no longer haunt me alone. It can haunt you guys as well. And maybe somebody is in a situation that they can pull it off, and that would be amazing. So with that, I'll hand it over to Kyle, who is going to pilot today, and we'll get on with the show. Can you see my screen?
Are the slides up? No, not yet. I just see you. What do I need to do to do that? There should be a little green.
Got it. Let me know when you got it. Oh, now we got it. Okie dokes. So episode 19 URL Structure who.
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The sky group is great, and it's just sad that there's a limit. But Ted and I are working on that solution right now. And actually, we're kind of hoping that we're at the home stretch of getting that done. So we've got a new platform so that more than 600 people can join and actually get even more use out of it than just a Skype group. SEO this week that's put together by Clint.
And Clint goes through hundreds and hundreds of articles that are published that week on SEO and gleans out the best ones. Clint, what can people expect on the SEO this week? This week we had Jason Brown from SERPWoo. He walked us through how he built those niche research posts that he was doing 50% SERPWoo, 50% of his own stuff, but it's still good information nonetheless. And then we also looked at a new use for GSA search engine ranker.
So if you have that thing sitting on your computer collecting desk, go check that out. Awesome. Always quality, always fun. All right, this week's topic bomb URL structure. So we're talking about the age old questions of how do I set up my site, how do I set up my site's URL structure.
We're going to look at some local SEO structure considerations, and Clint's going to take care of that. I'm going to talk about virtual silos and structuring. And then Ted, as he alluded to, has his ecom dream URL structure, which actually kind of goes into some interlinking. And yeah, so here we go. One location, one service.
That one's pretty obvious. If you are a local business and you have one location and just one service, you don't have any URL structure issues. However, if you're one location and multi service. That's where things get a little tricky. And Clint, I'll let you take it.
So what I do is I have that location page and I use the service pages as support. As it says there in the notes and the slide, the location mentions the services themselves, but it does not link down, which is different from what you're going to see with Kyle and his reverse silo, which I think he just flipped my sitemaps over and called it a reverse I. And then the URL structure, you see that on there at the bottom? I use those as sub pages for the location page. So everything's supporting that location page because you're going for obviously ranking in organic and your maps, and that kind of supports both.
So that's why I do it in that particular order for one location, multiple services. And so for a concrete, if somebody's a plumber or their client is a plumber, the idea is that they're in Dallas and they're only in Dallas. So this is the structure you do. You have domain.com slash, Dallas slash, and then each of the services would have that URL structure. Right.
Kind of plumbing type services. An even better example would be roofing, because there's roofing repair, roofing replacement, roofing, and then there's another one that is really good. So repair, replacement, and we'll say installation are the same individual services, but they're all from that location. That's how I would structure that. Okay.
And the arrows that you have, are those links between those pages? Yeah, google the drive wouldn't let me do both. But basically, service one links to service two and three. Service two links to one and three. So they're all interlinked together.
So if I land on the service repair, but I need a replacement, I have a way to get to the replacement. And then I go to my conversion page, which is that location page designed to only do one thing, is to get the phone call. That's another reason why there's no links on there. So I give my users less options to do. I want you to either come to my page and give me a phone call or leave, because if you're going to leave anyway, then you're no use to me.
And if you call me, then I can convert you in the sale. So that's the purpose of that got you in this situation. So do the outside services, if you will, service one and service three. Do they daisy chain? Do they link to each other?
Is that how you set it up? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. One links to two and three.
Two links to one and three, three links to one and two. And you do that? Yeah. And then I can build backlinks to all three, and it'll ultimately rank all three of those pages. But also do the location page, which is really in this silo or this visualization that location page is the money page.
That's the one I want to protect. So if I break a service page, no big deal. I get rid of one, and I still have the other two, and I can rebuild a new one versus if I break that money page, now I got to start all over again. Would there be a situation with a plumber or roofer, if you will, that's only in one location, that that location page is their home page? It could be.
Do you think it's better to actually have a Dallas page, even if they're only in Dallas? I prefer to have the Dallas, but the search results kind of tell me that. So if I know it's one location and the owner is, like 100% positive he's only going to ever have one location and doesn't care, he's not going to build and the domains the home pages are, what's, ranking on Google, then I'll just use that as the location page you can build. Personally, I always like that as my guide. What is Google ranking?
And there's really no difficulty in having a location page and a home page kind of that are set up very similar to this. Yeah, not at all. Especially if Google's going to if they're going to favor one or the other, why make the work harder for yourself by choosing an internal page when they're showing clearly that they want to rank home pages? Do you guys try to tune the web page for AdWords pay per click, or do you do separate landing pages for pay per click than organic SEO?
That's a tricky one. The reason it's tricky is because Derek Booth kind of taught me how to do PPC, and then I use his model combined with mine, which is run PPC first, make sure there's traffic there, and then get the optimization score up. The quality score, I'm pretty sure it's gone now up for the page, which in turn helps the SEO part. You know what I mean? It's kind of a hybrid, I guess, of what you're asking.
Yeah, I always, always like using PPC to enhance my SEO rather than having a separate thing. 1 second. While I take notifications off, tell Maria we said hi. Hey, Maria. Maria, by the way, you guys know Maria?
No, you maybe you've met her online, but she knows what she's doing.
All right. Yeah, I was just saying when it comes to I always like to send traffic into my site. I dislike sending it to a landing page that's on an island. And as Clint mentioned, I totally believe in Derek Booth's methods, where in AdWords you can test things so much more quickly than you can in SEO as to what will convert. So it's always a great idea to run an AdWords campaign where you can figure out what resonates with people, what do they actually want to convert on, and then build an SEO strategy out of that.
It's also easier if you're one of those guys that sell leads and you're providing SEO, but you sell it as leads. The hard part is now you have to provide leads so you can do it faster with PTC and kind of COVID yourself versus the real long play that SEO is.
All right, so now we've got multi location, multi service. This is the one I think that always comes up because nobody is just in know, they're always in Dallas and Houston and then like some Odball thing like up in Portland or that they're, they're usually kind of closer, but then there's always or they want to get out into more locations and they have multiple services. So it's not just a reverse of the other thing where you've got one service and multiple locations now because you could just do that with the other screen, but now you've got multiple locations and multiple services. And Clint, this is what you like to do. Yeah, one is if you send all your backlinks to that Locations page, it's going to boost all your locations straight up.
And then two on the Locations page, as in the first example, those are all mentioning the services, but really the purpose is generating the phone call. So I don't cloud that up at all. The service pages are all interlinked as before in the previous example, but the location pages are not. They're orphaned out and set for their own thing. One for relevancy georevancy for the maps is primarily the main purpose of doing that.
The domain is there, it says State City, but technically you don't really have to do that. You can just go city if you want know, if you're only in Texas, for example, then obviously you're only going to do those. But thinking in advance of growth, state might be a good opportunity in case they go from Texas to New Mexico, for example, and they want to bring some people in from there because they're an El Paso based business, but they want to serve on the other side of Las Cruces or whatever.
So that's why I choose the state. Kind of the default, you don't really have to and then the services, I keep those all separate as well. The bonus of this is if you do internal blogging or how to articles or whatever in order to generate some more long tail just to show that you're doing something and boost traffic up, et cetera, you can send all of those links to those three service pages from the internal and go to that Locations page. And that Locations page is now by default, your most important link collection site. And as you add a new location one after the other after the other, they already pop.
So they're almost ranking right off the bat on their own. And if you're using pop quora or templates to make these pages, once you figure out how to rank one location with on page. The rest of it is pretty easy, and this is actually a really easy process to follow. Very nice. Quick question.
So you've got domain.com locations. You're literally saying that's what that URL is. It actually says locations. And then on that page, you're listing the locations that you have. Is that correct?
Exactly. Yeah, all of the locations that will be there. So whether it's two or 50 or whatever, I put them all on there. But over on the Services side, domain.com Services, that's just a placeholder. Each of those would be the actual service, right?
Yeah. So roofing. Roof repair, roof installation. Would you do anything in this situation where, I mean, the services are all static, so they're always going to be roof repair. You wouldn't ever do like, roof repair, Dallas, because you're taking care of the locations on the other side, right?
Correct. And you're mentioning the services on the Locations page as well. So you have relevancy pushing location geolocation pushing Location and relevancy. So you're kind of combined. Can you run that by me again?
When you say you're putting services on the Locations page, what does that look like? Well, it's more of a content. So let's say Location One is doing all they do is repair and installation. So I'll mention those two services on that page without linking to the service page. Okay.
Because I don't want to send the juice backwards. Right. I'm building all that power behind that one, the main Locations page there in the center, and it's ranking the location one, two, and three pages without having to risk those. So I don't have to worry about updates. I haven't been hit by an update.
Knock on wood. I got to find some since 2009, and that's when I was using some crazy stuff. But when you implement this, you have a protection. So even if Google changes the rules, they're not really going to change on page. They might damage what goes on with that Locations page.
And maybe I have to remake it and redirect the links or something like that. But for the most part, it's going to be a safe, structured silo that I don't have to worry about Google updates on the Locations page itself. That also is not linking to any of the service pages. Right. You're just kind of listing them and then on each specific location, if they have specific services, they do.
That's going to be on there. But there's really no links going from anything that says Location to anything that says Service, correct? Correct.
You'll see that in the schema like location one. The Schema will have it provides a service, and that's referencing maybe a Wikidata listing or something like that. But inside of the actual content on the page, nothing links backwards. Got you. Very cool.
Why don't we pause for a second just in case there are any questions that came up on this or the last slide before we move on. Yeah. There's one from Christopher. He says, Is it a fact that site Miami Rooferservices ranks worse than roofingserviceservices? So he's talking about breaking up one big slug into a multi folder slug.
So Miami being one folder and Roofing Services being another, which is kind of optimal.
I don't know that I've really seen a difference. I've been able to rank both. The problem with the first instance is you're kind of locked into that now, so that's always going to be your roofing services page for that city, whereas doing it the other way. What he's got there is essentially Domain Location Services, and then the other one is just Domain Location Service combined.
Honestly, if that Miami Roofer Services, the first example might link to the Miami page location page, but I think it's just a cleaner, more easier to manage a site to do it. The second which which way did he say was the fact? And actually, that might be the answer. The answer is no. But which one is he leaning towards?
The flat structure or the folder structure? The folder structure is what he's leaning towards. Okay. What I found with folders is that between using the slug that way or chopping it up, is it's basically six and one half dozen? Where I found problems with folders are when you have folders that aren't part of the search, where you can end up with your Delights ted, where you've got a Delights folder and nobody's searching Delights.
And so you've got something in the URL structure that isn't relevant to the search. That's where I think you run into troubles using that method. That makes sense. So another question. If you have multiple locations, then do you connect the three services to all of the different location pages?
And I think you do that via a Locations page in the middle, like you have there. But what do you think? Yeah, I kind of see there's another one in there, too. Do you link directly from the service pages to the location pages? You can.
I do it kind of as a buffer. So if I'm testing something and I trash a service page, I'm not trashing all my location pages right behind it, but it's certainly doable. There's no reason not to do it. You just have to be a little bit more safer and make new buffer content. Protect the service pages now.
All right, another question. Is the locations page a hub page? Do you have any content on that page, or do you just use it for linking to the other page? Welcome to XYZ Roofing. If you need services, we serve these following areas, and right down the line is the addresses and maps.
All right. So Lee asks if I'm a roofer in Dallas, but I serve the suburbs as well. Would you have location pages for each suburb?
You can typically I would only do that if you have a map. I would just mention the suburbs inside of that location page and that's typically enough. Just put those in H two S, wrap them in H two S, and use a styling St. Louis look like headings, and that should be good enough. Anyone with anchor text.
Now, what about sufficiently large cities like Seattle, where people might only have neighborhood service areas like a Ballard Locksmith? Yeah, Ballard or Pioneer Square, that kind of thing. You can do the same thing. We've targeted both, but we've done it in locksmith. And from what I'm seeing, what we see with our locksmith up in Seattle, it's mainly the Seattle page is what's ranking in all of those little individual neighborhoods just because we're mentioning those neighborhoods inside of that page at the same time.
And again, it's also something you can manipulate with you're doing like some maps work if you know how to mess with Google, the maps maker and manipulate with your anchor text and combining Kyle stuff with the H two S and your anchor text works really well to get my technical problem. It went out. Did I go out? Am I here? You're still with us?
Is Clint still with I think I think we just ran out of question there. So should we continue? Sure. All right, next thing we're looking at, this is from me. This is a reverse silo concept.
The idea here is really the integration of your primary keyword, your secondary keywords, and then supporting keywords and how they kind of play together within a structure. So looking at this, and by the way, this would totally work within Clint structures as well. This isn't geared necessarily towards local, though, so that's why you would need to kind of figure that one out yourself on how to do that. Exactly. But this is a general kind of structure setup, and especially for the first slide that Clint had, as you said, it's basically the same thing.
The arrows are links is the idea. So that's the linking structure between these two things. So in this example, our target page, the keyword that we're going after here is Private Air Charter. Other terms that are related to that could be secondary terms of that. You can see those by looking at the related searches in the SERPs would be like Private Air Charter service charter, cost, rental price, all of those terms are going on that page is the idea here.
And this is how you can then rank for multiple keywords. Or you always get those questions like, well, I'm only looking at one keyword, but how do I rank for 100? Well, this is how that is done. If you properly optimize for Private Air Charter, you win its secondaries and ones that are super important to you, that's what would turn into H two S and H three S or at least go into body text. Within this structure, though, what we've got from the target page is one link out going to a supporting article.
This is my silo, this is Pages or Posts and it doesn't matter on my site that I've chosen to support this target page. And the important point with this is that they don't have a dependent URL structure. They can live anywhere on the site. It's not a parent child set up where this is the child of that. It doesn't necessarily need a category slug from a post.
It can literally live wherever. We're doing these links within body content from the target page I'm linking only to one of these supporting articles. And within those supporting articles you can see that article one just links to article two. Article two links to one and three. Article three links to two and then they all link to that target page and that linking is happening in the body content.
One small difference from what Clint was talking about, I don't daisy chain them and that's a personal preference but that's really your call on how you want to do it. One of the reasons that I do this is that I want to send links into these supporting articles. And you can see that the example topics here like buy a seat on a private jet. Like how would you do that? That's a how to or what are the best online services or charter booking services?
How do I actually do this in the first place? That's good content. Those are things that people might want to read. There are also things that people might want to organically link to. The idea is that here on this target page I've got a form or some sort of engine that I'm using to actually sell tickets or get people to rent or buy or whatever I might be doing.
Nobody's going to link to that. They're going to tell you to pound stand because who links to something where somebody is selling something? But when you've got this set up people can link into all these different supporting articles and it doesn't matter which one. They juice up the silo each other and then they also then juice up this target page. And that's what we're trying to accomplish here.
So whatever your strategy for link building might be, you like to build stacks, you like PBNs, you like whatevers, you do guest post outreach, you do white hat PR, whatever you might like to call it. And you're going to do an infographic. Well your infographic would be article one, you're going to do a video series. Well that's great, that's articles two and three. You're going to do maps and you're going to embed a map.
That's great. That can go into article four and you're going to do driving directions or something like that. That's great. That's where all that content can sit. And you can see that that content is linking to each other and linking to the target page.
So we're creating relevant things. We're creating good things that people want to read, real ways to get links and you can get in it. And with the link structure, you're keeping it contained here. The articles or pages if you will, that you're supporting aren't going to link out to any other pages. What's really great about this technique too, is that if you're just starting a project, you're just getting into a website, you can use existing content, you don't have to create new content.
Often sites have a very lengthy blog area that they're really not doing anything productive with. You can then go in and basically do your own niche edits to your own site to set up these types of structures. And then if you've done, these are things that people might actually want to read and rank. If you can get them to rank on their own, that's more that's ranking that's relevant to your target page. That's more possibilities for conversions because usually the stuff in the supporting post is long tail enough.
You're going to lightly optimize these things and they're long tail enough that they can rank on their own, usually with just a title, a meta title on an H. One. The other thing I'd point out is that I'm not pounding down the idea of private air charter in the supporting posts and topics. Obviously we're getting around it, but I'm trying really not to get those terms in there. I've already optimized the target page for that.
I'm not necessarily trying to get that content, those other pages to rank for private air charter, but you can see that different ways of saying it private jet, charter jet and more how to's informational type stuff, non transactional type stuff.
That's basically it in a nutshell. Any questions on that?
Yeah, we got a few here. So one question is simply asking, are folders good for SERP breadcrumbs?
I have no idea. Are folders good for syrup breadcrumbs?
I think they're asking about whether or not there should be a relation between the breadcrumbs on the site and the URL folder structure. And I don't think that's a requirement personally because I think the breadcrumbs are marked up on each individual page. Right, and that's what shows up in the SERPs. Yeah, exactly. Automated systems typically use the URL structure to create this, but you can certainly manipulate it with the schema.
You can write out the schema for the breadcrumbs. And I think the modern best practice for that is that the breadcrumbs are dynamic because people will often put the facets, the sorts and filters into the breadcrumbs with a little close Xbox and then you can eliminate those sorts and filters by closing the breadcrumb. So I'd say in a modern context, it's more complex than just the URL structure for modern breadcrumbs. How would you use this structure for an affiliate site? Any thought on that, Kyle?
I don't really think it makes a difference what type of site it is. Your target page is the one you're trying to get to rank for a particular primary keyword, and then that's that. Then you're kind of building out from there, finding your supporting content. So target page might be a category and instead of articles, you have supporting products. Yeah, that's a great way to do it in that sense, for sure.
And I'll go more into the online retail space with mine, give you a lot of ideas where you can cherry pick parts of the overall big picture or go for the gold with the big picture.
So Christopher says that he misunderstood silos has more to do with link out structure versus folder structure. I think it's kind of a bit of everything. We're talking about your URL composition, we're talking about how you organize the information on pages, and then again, how you cross link those pages with your navigation. And then we have arrows up here for how your backlinks come into the website. So I think it's a bit of everything.
And we touch on different pieces. Yeah, for sure. And also there are two real main differences. In a silo, you've got a physical silo and a virtual silo. In this example is a virtual silo.
A physical silo is that parent child relationship where you do have the parent URL and then the children underneath that. I personally don't like that and don't use it. And this is what I use. Okay. And it looks like some of these other questions we addressed earlier.
So for the sake of keeping things moving, we'll keep going. If you feel we didn't address it earlier, rephrase the question again and we'll try to answer it. Sound good? Sounds good. All right, Ted.
All right. So I had this haunting dream for years. I did online retail for over 17 years for a large online retailer. And at our high point, we were all of page one and half of page two for over 50,000 target keywords. Going into Black Friday, we would typically target on the order of quarter of a million keywords.
And it was an epic problem of scale being a large online retailer. So we constantly had challenges like product A was cannibalizing category C and blog post D was cannibalizing product A. And we had all of those standard things. And I always said to myself, geez, if we could just break it out based on how Google does cannibalization, that structure would be the ultimate online retail linking structure. And so what I'm going to do is that theoretical concept, I have never successfully pulled it all off, but I have done all of the pieces independently.
And so my dream has been to pull off this whole structure and to see how it does. And so I'm going to walk you through the dream. Okay, so the first thing is that this idea requires a cross site shopping cart. That means your shopping cart needs to follow you from one. Domain to the next.
And the other thing that you would want to do for the dream is to have one backend content management system that manages all the domains. So you're not going to do this with WordPress. You're going to have to build a custom solution to make this a cost effective workflow. But with that, I'll tell you how this works. So you can see we have our home page and I use Sears because I know they're hurting.
So Sears, here's some free advice for your online retail to start pulling the organic traffic. And then I want to break out categories into category domain names. So Sears Jewelry, Sears Apparel, Sears Automotive, and a large online retailer will typically have dozens, if not a few hundred categories. So that's a large network when you break up your department store into actual departments by domain name. And then all the product pages you can see are all still undersears.com.
So all of your products are unique on the main brand domain. And then we break out the blog into its own domain. So Sears blog, and Sears is already doing this. They don't want their blog on their brand and so they've already broken it out. And so a lot of people have done that and we're doing that here too.
And so all of your editorial content, your holiday gift guides, your complete the look, your buyers pick, item reviews, those are all going in the blog. And when we break them all out this way, they don't cannibalize each other. These different types of pages can rank independently of each other for the same keywords. They'll be side by side competitors in the SERPs instead of cannibalizing each other. And then that last column is pay per click landing pages, which typically have to be tuned very differently than your store product pages.
And oftentimes they will target very different keywords than what the product pages are tuned for anyway. And so we'd want to break out those tuned individual landing pages for pay per click is a separate structure. Ted, quick question. On the Sears.com product pages functionally, how does that work? Would there still be category pages on that site?
They would be in the navigation, but they would be technically off site. You'd be going to a different domain name, but on the back end you would have your web servers handling all of this. They would just be handing off the session to Sears jewelry and the cart would follow. You'd still have your cart on those different domain names, but then you would go back to Sears.com for the product. Got you.
So when you're on Sears.com, you would see categories, but that's kind of faux navigation within the site because you click on that and say for this jewelry you end up on Sears.com. The user doesn't really know that they're just going to what they think is the category page. But then when they click on a product, they come back to Sears.com. Yeah. And you'd have the look and feel all be uniform.
All that would change is just the domain name and the URL. For all practical purposes, it would feel like one big site. Makes sense. Now, let there be no doubt, there is a lot of custom development in making that happen. That is not a small ask, that is a very big ask to make cannibalization go away.
Ted, for Sears sale, for the landing pages, we're letting those index. Right. So we don't mind that they're in a sense fighting with our products that exist on Sears.com. Yeah, exactly. Because they won't cannibalize breaking them out into a different domain name.
They compete in the SERPs, but they don't cannibalize in the SERPs. Right. Next page? Yes, please. So we set up our navigation to basically be the same as usual.
So our home page links to our categories, our categories link to the products, and you see they all say top navigation, so it's implied that the products will link to the other categories and so forth. So that's business as usual, except our categories and our products no longer cannibalize each other. So somebody asked, what do I mean by cannibalize? Google typically will only let a top level domain have about two search results. In the organic search results.
There are a few occasions where there are different, but those tend to be when there's quality problems, then Google will let more appear. But typically at the high end you'll see two things from a domain rank for a keyword, and then the rest get filtered. And if those two things happen to be categories, then all of your products can exist for that same keyword. So you'll see people who will have problems saying, oh, I have this sterling silver Amethyst bracelet product page, but my blog mentioned it and now my blog URL took the place of that product placement for the keyword. That is the cannibalization.
Your blog page ate your product page in the search results, and we want to avoid that. We would much rather have the blog post and the product page be side by side in the search results, competing with rankings, rather than usurping each other out of the search result. And that's what's referred to as cannibalization.
Sounds good. Next slide. Next slide. So we now have our blog, same way our home page is linking to our blog that has all of our holiday gift guides coming up for the approaching holiday. But then our blog is saying nice things about our products and categories.
So all of our reviews and everything are linking back into those product and category pages. So that's another link structure. And again, we've broken the cannibalization so that the products, the gift guides and the categories can all be side by side for the exact same keywords. They're not usurping each other out of the keywords. Now, if you can imagine having those categories broken out to dozens or hundreds of categories, that's a huge, massive network of sites to cross link from, that's gigantic.
So if you hit the next slide, all right, so we have our pay per click landing pages also on a different domain name. And those pay per click landing pages are trying to funnel people into products and categories because that's what you do your pay per click for. And so we want those custom landing pages to be sitemapped because those are orphan pages, but they oftentimes will target keywords that your blog, your product pages and your category pages can't target by themselves. And so by doing it this way, you have all these pages that have this massive reach in terms of keywords targeted and then we can start to apply them in the next slide towards our promotion calendar. We just got 30,000 units of X and we want to site wide footer the network, these hundreds of domains, these landing pages, sitewide footer all that page rank to that promotion calendar of we need to sell what we're deep in right now while it's time sensitive.
We're in the season for selling that product, so those summertime flip flops don't sell in winter. We need to footer link the flip flops now, otherwise we're going to have to hold on to them until next year. We probably should added like a heman GIF as he powers up. Yeah, exactly. And so by doing this, we've broken the concept of cannibalization.
And oftentimes products will appear in 510, 15 even more categories. And so what we could end up having is one store that can dominate a large slice of page one and that's where you typically get your best traffic, is not ranking well with one search result, but getting a large piece of page one. And so when I was in online retail, we would do this with 15 domains and we would break it up by different markets, different categories of goods, different intent for shopping, and we would end up taking all of page one. And so this was kind of the dream. But the problem was we still cannibalized.
Like ultimately the infighting within the organization would be such that people would be like, no, we want one authority domain, we don't want 15 domains, we want one big one. And so they switched to one big one because of the infighting. And we went from being all of page one and half of page two to being two links. We gave it all up to be the big authority site, and it killed us organically. And then they're like, well, we'll break it out with subdomains.
So we'll be store one brand, store two brand.com, and blog brand. But the filtering didn't fix. It is all filtered based on the top level domain. It was all filtered based on brand. And so we still had the limit of two filtering and the cannibalization kicked in cross subdomains.
So most websites trying to get around cannibalization with subdomains are going to fail at it because I don't think Google will recognize the different subdomains for most of those cases. And so I always dreamed of this structure because it would be one of those things where I could watch my commissions grow so I could be the highest paid employee in the company. And in online retail, when you're getting paid in organic commissions, they don't like you being the highest paid person in the company. They take offense at that. And you always know that when that happens, you're going to have to renegotiate your deal.
And this type of link structure, I knew if I could pull it off, it would be a renegotiation event. So just a little bit of warning if you go after those commissions. But I do think it's powerful if you can do it. The problem is, in a place like Sears or a place like the retailer I was at, there is so much infighting, you'll never get it to happen. You have to get the engineering team to be able to do the cross site shopping cart.
That's a big project. You have to get your pay per click team to be on board with these new structures and the new CMS. And the pay per click team is probably going to want to steal the organic rankings where there's no competition and you're never going to get them to do it. By making this linking structure, you're basically making the SEO, the CEO of the company, of all the marketing, and it's probably never going to happen in an existing store. The place where this structure has hope is if you're starting a store tomorrow and it's a Blue Sky project and you're doing design from now, you don't have any legacy design and you could build it the way you want it, then the dream structure has total value.
And again, I've used parts of this all over the place. And there are companies like Wayfair that have hundreds of stores and they're doing similar things where all those stores are managed with one CMS and one backend. So there are companies doing pieces of it, but this is always the dream.
Ted, that was going to be my question. Not everybody's Sears. I mean, we do have listeners that do have sites that are this large, but most people don't. Do you think this type of thing could be effective for a site that's really only going to have ten products? No, it doesn't make much sense for a ten product site, but if you're an online retailer that maybe has three dozen categories and 100 to 2000 products, this makes total sense.
The only trick is getting that cross site shopping cart to work. If you can solve that engineering problem, then you can really have some huge advantage of just eliminating the concept of cannibalization altogether. Having one store but a large network of cross linking sites, it could be a big deal.
Very cool. All right, any untouched questions?
I'm going to stop sharing. People can see my beautiful face. Somebody was asking, which parts was I able to do? I basically did all the parts, just not all at once. So as the company was shooting itself in the foot by saying, don't be 15 domains, be one authority domain, as like, no, break out the blog.
Let's do custom landing pages. So basically, in response to every time the company was doing the wrong thing, I would try to do the right thing with another part of the puzzle. Hey, Jen, how do I stop being the presenters on that pin? Oh, 1 second. Let me see if I can figure that out.
Stop presenting. There you go. Oh, God, he's hideous. Make him small.
Yeah. The question was, it seems like it's a challenge to do the cross store shopping carton. Yeah, that's a big ask. And there are a few places that have store platforms that can manage across multiple domains. It's not a common feature, but it is one that you would need to pull off the SEO dream.
So let's see structured data on category pages. Absolutely. Obviously you'd want to put in your pricing, your color swatches, your aggregate ratings. Put all of that in there and there's category markup that tells how many categories or how many products are in the category and your relnext and prev markup.
Yeah. Splitting one question is, would you recommend splitting up the blog into separate domains to avoid cannibalization? The blog topic I've touched on in the past, I called them synergy sites, and the way I view that is it ends up being a cluster of useful resources. So if you were a store selling high end poker tables, you would want to be able to have these synergy sites that are related to the product you sell. So one synergy site might be a website about the different rules of poker games and card games in general.
So you have all of that information, and on that site you advertise your poker tables. But another synergy site might be your Man Cave blog, where you talk about all the different things that are in the setting of a high end poker table. Your popcorn machine, your jukebox, your entertainment system, the cool barware that you want to have. So that Man Cave Blog is another synergy site around it. You don't put all of that in your store.
You create those into separate websites that can cross link and can market the product you ultimately sell. Because when you're selling a high end poker table, you're not selling a folding table, you're selling a lifestyle. And that's why people pay the high end price. And so you need those synergy sites in the blog to complete the look, the gift guide. You're selling a lifestyle.
You're meeting that need.
How do you recommend to do this? If it's a shopify store, sorry, you're out of luck. You cannot do this with shopify. You might be able to do a piece or two of Know. Break out the blog onto WordPress is a different blog.
Break out a different domain for your pay per click. Landing pages. You won't be able to do the whole thing. You won't be able to break out the categories, but you can do some of the pieces with your shopify store.
I would not use subdomains. Somebody's asking if they do break up their blog, should they use an alternate domain or a subdomain? Subdomains don't get you around the cannibalization. You need a completely different domain name to avoid the cannibalization.
One question is, how will Google see this? There are examples in the wild, so like I mentioned Wayfair, and there are plenty of examples of people breaking out their blogs into separate domains. My dream structure is basically taking it to the ultimate Extreme for online e commerce. So some of this is already out there. At the end of the day, I can't tell you what Google's going to do if you do take it to an extreme.
I have no know it's it seems white hat to me, but then again, any extreme is probably a bad idea at some point. Well, you think about it, it's not really an extreme, is it? You're using one domain for your home page and your product pages. You have another domain for your categories. You have your blog on another domain, and your PPC is running on another.
So what is that, four or five domains tops? It's not a PBN. Two is that they're all quality, so you're not putting out a whole bunch of crap. So I don't see how Google would consider it a PBN, because you got one site that's selling products. One site is listing categories and direct funneling traffic to the appropriate page to answer the SERP.
And you have another site which is the blog that's providing information for your customers to promote the product. And then the landing Pages is landing pages. Yeah, I don't see how that could be in any way confused with a PBN. But that doesn't mean that Google's going to like it when you take all of Page one and half of Page, do they let Yelp do that? So Yelp, home Advisor, thumbtack.
And those are all partially owned by Google. So I say ecom platform recommendations. There's this notion that if you buy off the shelf, you'll always have the latest, greatest features. And the problem with that is that nothing beats custom. So granted, you won't have the latest, greatest features if you go the custom route, but when you buy an off the shelf platform, it'll be 60% of what you need, and you'll always have 60% of what you need unless you do custom development to the off the shelf platform.
So you got to pick your poison, and sometimes your situation will dictate what platform you have to go with. And don't sweat it if you have to go with one. But just note that at the largest scales, the biggest online retailers are all going custom. So eventually they get tired of having 60% of their needs met and they just are willing to pay for custom stores. And when you get to that point, if you build your shopping cart in a way that it can be cross domains, then you can do some really cool tricks with organic SEO.
And if you're just starting out, WooCommerce is the easiest big commerce. I wasn't really a fan of and magento I like for larger and you know, Shopify looks great when you're bootstrapping, but the second you need to do custom development, it gets pretty pricey because it's all in ruby. Magento is kind of the same way. You have to do a lot of custom development at some point.
And yeah, for a small shop with 30 products, shopify is good. It's tricky doing the SEO for Shopify, it's kind of what it is. But there are some plugins for Shopify SEO that mitigate a little bit, and I think that's it on questions?
Oh, I think you're muted, Kyle. Good ones.
Sounds good. Thanks so much, guys. Yeah, thank you, everyone. All right, talk to you later. Bye.