One question we often get asked is “Should I obtain multiple domains to rank for more keywords?” The short answer is no. Here’s why:
1. Search engines don’t like it. When you have more than one domain pointing to the same website, it looks like you have duplicate content. Because search engines try to provide users with a variety of good content from different sources, some of your content can get bumped in search results in favor of content from other sites. To combat this issue, you would need to have unique content for each website—quite a bit of extra work.
2. Multiple domains can lead to devaluation. From a search engine’s vantage point, it looks like you are providing duplicate content. Because of this, they will often present the canonical (or default) domain and devalue the other copies. This will be done for each page that is a duplicate, regardless of whether the canonical version is from the same domain or not. If this happens, search engines can decide that your site has inadequate linking, which will cause them to devalue your domains.
3. If your store is a physical location, having more than one domain can confuse your visitors. Additionally, since you would need to have the same business location on each domain, you could begin to look spammy to search engines.
4. You can create branding issues. Since you will want to have unique content for your sites, how will you brand them? Will you use the same pricing? What names will be used on the site? Will one site be more high-end while the other has more of a bargain feel? Keeping up with that amount of content can be costly, chaotic, and incredibly time consuming.
5. A multiple domain strategy dilutes your domains. With one domain, all inbound links go to the same site, indicating to search engines the authority and/or popularity of the site (i.e. the site’s inbound link value). When you have to split inbound links between multiple URLs, each URL receives only a percentage of the inbound links, diluting each URL’s inbound link value. Plus it’s just much easier to promote one website!
6. Ranking for multiple domains will involve much more SEO work. Remember how hard you worked to get your main site to rank? It will be even more work to get your other domains and sites to rank, since they don’t have authority or a history already established.
That said, there is a case to be made for purchasing multiple domains. If you are worried about your competition using keyword-rich domain variations similar to yours to help them improve their SEO rankings, it might be worth it to purchase domains similar to yours and have them redirect to your main domain using a 301 redirect. That said, it won’t help your SEO, and you won’t be able to block out all domain variations from your competitors, so a better strategy for good rankings would be fresh, quality content and good links.
Need help getting your website noticed? Our Boston SEO experts can help you stand out in search results with a solid content and SEO strategy. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get noticed.