The struggle to dominate search engine results is competitive. It can be painfully slow to get where you want to be, so it’s easy to become desperate. It’s this desperation that drives some people to resort to ‘black hat’ SEO techniques or tactics that don’t do them any good. One of these is buying multiple domains.
Many businesses resort to buying multiple domains for a variety of reasons tied to SEO, hoping their strategy will either help them rank higher or at least prevent the competition from pushing them too low. While there are effective ways to use multiple domains, too many people do so incorrectly and only end up shooting themselves in the foot.
What are the problems with multiple domains?
There are glaring traps you can easily fall into when attempting to drive more traffic to your site using the multiple domain strategy. They include:
Google does not like duplicate content and will penalise any sites thought to contain content copied from another site. Businesses that own multiple domains may make the mistake of including the same content across both websites. When your sites are crawled, they are treated as separate entities, so whatever content is found on the other website will be considered duplicate content. This means it will definitely be penalised in SERPs, which is the opposite of what you want.
If you own multiple domains, you may end up running links to two or more, directing the user to the same content. In such a scenario, each site will receive credit for only 50% of the inbound links. This is certainly not good for SEO, as inbound links are an important factor for ranking in SERPs.
When your separate websites are crawled, Analytics will automatically select a preferred version of every crawled page. The problem is that these may not always be on the same website. Naturally, that means your rankings in SERPs can be affected negatively.
Tactics that will do you no good
Firstly, we’ll look at the wrong ways you might be going about the multiple domain business and then talk about how to make it work.
It is any brand’s dream to dominate the first page of search results, so no matter where users click, they’ll end up on your website. While this has indeed happened, this tactic may not be worth your resources for a few simple reasons.
To start with, it’s not a good idea for a brick and mortar store with only one physical location. This is because having multiple websites will only confuse customers and visitors, which is the last thing you want. In a certain sense, it might even be considered spam-like. Plus, you have to consider that Google is not a fan of single businesses having multiple sites, because it does not reap good results.
Another issue is that you’ll have to deal with branding issues with both sites. This is a concern, since you cannot publish duplicate content, unless you want to hurt your SEO. Besides the resources you will have to plough into creating content for a new website, the risk and chaos you’ll be inviting by trying to brand two separate sites is really not worth it.
A business may decide to buy a couple of domains because they are concerned about the competition buying up keyword oriented domains, causing their own website to be pushed down the rankings.
At first glance, it seems like a good strategy, but the problem is that you won’t see any difference in your SEO at all. Furthermore, how many domain names do you think you’ll be able to buy? There’s a very slim chance you’ll be able to think of all the variations your competition may come up with, but are you really willing to pay the cost of maintaining all those domains?
What you should be doing instead
Although you can lose out if you use multiple domains incorrectly, a multiple domains plan can be a powerful long-term strategy when properly implemented. However, it is not something that is well-suited to everyone. Before you even consider opting for a multiple domain strategy, you have to consider who it might be more beneficial for.
If you’re a business with more than one brand, the strategy will be great for you, especially since you won’t have to deal with the chaos and risk of dividing a single brand, as mentioned above. You will already have a clear direction for all of your brands and it will be easier to generate content for each of them.
Another scenario is if a business creates a microsite to narrow their focus down to a particular niche. If you do this, you can get both your main website and microsite to rank for the same keywords.
You can decide to create a new domain, buy one that has expired, or even an existing one. On buying an expired domain, web experts suggest buyers always check out factors like domain authority, page authority, and link profile, so they know that the domain they’re buying is worth it.
You can also take advantage of the multiple domain strategy if you own more than one website with good link equity, which is the amount of power your links have. If your site has really good link equity or you can afford to significantly raise the link equity of a site, you’re good to go. In such a case, you can build a microsite entirely from scratch. However, you must bear in mind that building a microsite means you will have to create new content for it.
It will take time of course, but this can be an effective strategy if you build the site correctly. The microsite shouldn’t simply be about your products and services, but should also offer great value to visitors. For instance, if you sell hair products, you might want to create a lifestyle blog with a focus on hair. Essentially, your microsite must be able to fill a gap.
Another option is to take advantage of an existing site by using 301 redirects to preserve link juice. You’ll want to use 301 redirects and not 302, because you’ll be passing on almost all the ranking power of the old link to the new one.
That’s a great deal of rewards to reap without having to build a new site with fresh content. So, if you have the money to spend, go right ahead and buy a domain on an affordable web hosting plan that ranks for your target keyword.
Meanwhile, note that it’s unlikely you’ll get as much link juice passed to your site from a purchased domain. You’ll still get some of that link juice, but it won’t be as much, particularly if you don’t use any content from the purchased site.
To conclude, take your time to analyse the pros and cons before jumping right in and buying multiple domains.