Ask Yoast:

Related sites sharing pages: what to consider?

Many of our readers manage multiple sites, in all kinds of different configurations and setups. It’s certainly viable, for example, to manage two or several sites to support the same business. In that case, you might save some time linking between the pages of these sites. Your sites could share the shop pages, and posts relevant for both sites might be reused. If you give some thought to what content you want to rank, and which of these sites is most important, this can be effective.

But, what if one of your sites isn’t well optimized and contains thin content? Is it still OK if such a site shares pages with a well-optimized website, or will the latter suffer lower rankings by association?

Craig Hamilton Parker emailed us, wondering the same thing:

I have two websites on the same server. They’re on different topics, but need to share some pages, such as the shop and events page and related topics on the two sites. One site is well optimized using Yoast. The other isn’t well optimized and has a few thin pages. Is it safe to link between the sites without using rel=nofollow?

Watch the video or read the transcript for my answer!

Handling sites that share pages

“Yes, it’s safe. In fact, if they have the same pages on both sides, I would pick one – the well-optimized one- and canonicalize the other one to the well-optimized one, so you do not create duplicate content.

You want to show to Google that you’re aware that you have two pages
that are basically the same thing and show them which one they should index. But overall there’s not really that much wrong with having that.

It’s just better to figure out yourselves which ones you want in the search engines and which ones you don’t want in the search engines. If you want both of them in the search engines, you’ll have to give them different content. Good luck.”

Ask Yoast series

Check out our must read articles about Duplicate content

  • Canonical URLs tell search engines that similar pages are actually the same. Learn when and how to set a URL as rel=canonical in this guide.

  • Fix your duplicate content by doing a duplicate content check. We'll tell you what to look for, plus, some free duplicate content checkers.

  • If two posts are optimized for the same keywords, you might suffer from keyword cannibalization. Find out what that is and how to fix it!