Two Sites Ranking for the Same Brand and Primary Keyword

We have two sites currently ranking on page 1, SiteA and SiteB. Engagement with the first site is stronger and is where most of the marketing efforts take place. Would it be more worthwhile to:

a) kill the site with lower engagement and migrate anything unique to the other, or
b) fine tune the focus of each site (ie. SiteB would be more for corporate advocacy and SiteA would be the transactional/informational site.)

We feel that having both could be diluting the brand and creating confusion with users, as some of the content starts to become the same on both sites and there is no difference in the goal: to have someone fill out an application. Love to hear some opinions on this…

If you can see a good way to distinguish between the two sites and their audiences, so they have a different purpose and a different target market, that might be a sensible thing to do. On the other hand, if there is going to be a lot of overlap whichever way you cut it, it’s likely that it will be confusing for people and you are just spreading your Googlejuice more thinly than you need to, in which case the best plan would probably be to close down the less well used site and redirect each page to the most appropriate page on the more popular site.

Thanks, Stevie D. Taking the corporate approach vs informational is the way we were thinking, however the conversion point will just take you to the form on the other site. So if that’s the case, then why not just make one site the best it can be with a well thought out section on the brand, right? The only thing we really have going now is that both sites take up page 1 real estate.

Here’s the thing that makes this a little more challenging…the EMD domain has a unnatural link penalty against it, which we have been working to rectify. So in this case, the branded domain gets less traction, but is clean in Google’s eyes. Would you say a fair way to handle this would be to kill the EMD domain and move that entire site design and pages over to the branded domain, but without a 301 so that no unwanted links come with it? Or, should we work to get the penalty lifted and then move everything over to the branded domain with redirects (or vice versa)?

If both sites were clean penalty-wise, which would be the likely candidate to survive? The EMD or branded domain? These are questions that keep me awake at night.

[font=calibri]If you close down one domain and don’t put redirects on (as you have suggested) then anyone trying to access your site on that domain is going to hit a brick wall … you really don’t want that.

I’m not clear whether the EMD is the one that is more popular, but if it is then any penalty you may be being hit with clearly isn’t causing too much of a problem! Only if one domain is dead in the water and seeing a negligible amount of traffic is it sensible to abandon it – far better to clean things up and keep hold of what traffic you can![/font]