Danger! Multiple domain names, 1 site - why it is bad
September 2nd, 2007
I’ve been on an hiatus from writing here, so I thought I might break the trend by talking about the practice of creating multiple websites to ‘corner the market’ - jealously guarding your url to ensure no-one uses a variation.
An example might be registering mysite.com, and then being seduced by the offer (godaddy does this regularly) to register variants of your new domain name (eg .biz, .net, .org) at a ’special discount’ - they don’t offer fries just yet, but domain sellers really are the masters of the up-sell.
I consider registering more than one domain a bit pointless
The days of people memorising and typing a url into a browser are pretty much over - except for a few notable and brilliant exceptions with catchy names like utheguru.com, oyoy.eu and other less successful or well known sites such as google and youtube most people get to a site the new-fangled way - by following links or doing a search. So, really in essence, you’re probably paying extra for not much benefit.
Furthermore, the practice can have insidious side effects - you can actually shoot yourself in the foot.
Multiple domains = Multiple sources of links
When presented with duplicate content, google often seems to pick one page as the ‘original’ and consign the others as unimportant copies, and they don’t rank well.
You could end up with a situation where google chooses a page from each of your site copies as the ‘original’ and you end up with search traffic spread between all four.
Registering Multiple domains for the same site can actually be bad for business
Links to your sites naturally tend to come with traffic - and a lot of traffic generally comes from search… so… you’ll also end up with your incoming links spread between all the copies of your site.
In such a circumstance, the meaning of synergy (the parts are greater than the whole) does NOT apply. You end up with four sites with a quarter of the links they should have rather than one strong site that aggregates all the power of the incoming links in one place - end result? You don’t rank as well as you could.
How to use your multiple domains ‘the right way’
Best practice is to use something called a 301 redirect - rather than having 4 actual copies of your site all competing with each other, a 301 redirect seamlessly redirects clients (and google) to the ‘main’ url you want to rank well. If you google “how to do a 301 redirect’ you should be on your way to understanding that a bit better.
Entry Filed under: SEO Discussions