use multiple domain names?
Why use multiple domain names?
It's quite common for a site to be referenced by more than one
domain name. In fact, most sites are referenced by at least two:
a www version and a non-www version. These are usually set up to
reference the index page on a site and produce the same results
for a searcher.
It could, however, be argued that these are these same domain names.
So the question remains: why would someone want to have more than
one unique domain name for a single site?
Search engines - First, let's take a brief look
at search engines. In the past, it was a very common spamming technique
to purchase dozens, hundreds or in some really gross cases, thousands
of domain names, all referencing exactly the same site. These were
all submitted to the search engines, and many of them were indexed
and blindly added to the results. This is how many questionable
sites used to get top search results very quickly and inexpensively.
The search engines have apparently caught onto this technique.
At the very least, it has become common knowledge that this kind
of spamming is not tolerated (sometimes common knowledge can be
just as effective a deterrent as actual enforcement). I know that
in the past it was normal to find many sites of different domain
names but identical content in search engine results; today it's
far more rare.
In fact, the top search engine, Google, bases it's ranking scheme
on quality of links. What this translates to is you must get popular
(higher ranking) sites to link to your site to raise your ranking.
Thus, it's a better strategy to get as many links to a SINGLE domain
name than to many different domain names.
With this in mind, it's now considered best by most search engine
optimization specialists (at least those that know what they are
doing) to only list a single domain with the search engines, perhaps
with the www and non-www version but nothing else.
Multiple entry points - One technique that I use
on my own site with great success is to have multiple entry points,
each it's own domain name. Let's consider a mythical site in order
to illustrate how this works.
The site is about homemaking, and thus the main domain is "homemaking.com".
Underneath this are sections about sewing, housecleaning and cooking.
You might use "homemaking.com" for link exchanges and
search engine submissions, then create three additional domains:
"sewing.com", "housecleaning.com" and "cooking.com"
(although if you actually managed to purchase those domain names
you could resell them for quite a chunk of change).
Each of these domains would use a 301 redirect (this informs any
search engine that the page has permanently moved to a new location)
to a specific page on the site.
Those three domains would then be used in different themed marketing
campaigns. You might submit an article to a cooking site, for instance,
which referencing cooking.com. For a newsletter about cleaning,
you would use housecleaning.com. Each domain name is merely a shortcut
to the master domain, but it is much more targeted than "homemaking.com".
Protection - If you own a business, it's a great idea to think
of some of the derivations of your site name and purchase those
as well. Thus, if you had a company named "xyz", you might
also purchase "xyzsucks" and "ihatexyz" as well.
You may as well direct these to your site, but be sure to include
301 redirects, as you definitely do not want them in search engine
Typos - Sometimes people misspell things, and domain names are
no exception. Knowing this, you can get some respectable traffic
by purchasing common misspellings for your domain name. Just remember
to use the 301 redirect method so these misspellings are not listed
in the search engines.
Other TLD's (Top Level Domains) - If possible,
it's a good idea to get the .com, .net and .org version of your
domain at a minimum. I tend to get the .us (or whatever country
is appropriate), .info and .biz versions as well. This ensures that
no matter what people type they will get to your domain. Of course,
remember to 301 redirect these domains so they don't get listed.
For branding purposes, it's essential to get the other TLD's if
you can. If you don't you may be embarrassed to find some pornographic
or casino site has purchased your name with a different TLD. The
white house site (whitehouse.gov) is a classic example: the .com
version has nothing to do with the white house (if you type this
URL, be sure your kids are not present).
Other TLD's with different content - In a slight
alteration of the above method, I have purchased the additional
TLD's, but made each one slightly different. To use the above housecleaning
example, housecleaning.com might be a page about housecleaning in
general, housecleaning.us might index articles specific to the United
States, and housecleaning.biz may include information related to
housecleaning businesses. Each of these is just a page or two, and
links back to the main housecleaning.com domain.
If you use this method, be sure it's honest and sincere. Do NOT
do this to spam search engines (in fact, to be perfectly safe, set
your metatags to stop robots from indexing those pages). These are
not intended for search engines - these pages are intended for focused
Regional content - If your site has regional content,
you might purchase specific domain names to focus on that content.
For example, if you had a stamp collection site, you could purchase
"my-stamps.to" for Tonga related stamps, "my-stamps.us"
for United States stamps and so on. You could also keep it simpler
and purchase "my-tonga-stamps.com" for your general site,
"my-english-stamps.com" for your English stamps and so
on. These should also use 301 redirects to keep the specific domain
names from being indexed.
Uses for the .NAME TLD - You might even consider
purchase the .name TLD for your senior managers. Put up simple web
sites about them, with links to your main site. These SHOULD be
indexed in the search engines, as you want people to find them if
they are looking for information about your personnel.
Don't forget email - Remember you can get email
on each and every one of the domains that your purchase. In fact,
this is a great reason to purchase additional domain names - people
can send you email by different means. So be sure to set up the
email for each and every domain to go to a general, "catch-all"
account. It's a good idea, though, to heavily spam-filter this account
as it can collect a huge amount of junk.
Subdomains - This is a great way to get much of
the benefit of the above listed techniques without purchasing additional
domain names. It does require a little more control of your DNS
entries, however, as most ISPs and web hosts will not be willing
to do these kinds of things for you.
In this case, you could define "housekeeping.com" as
the primary domain, then "cleaning.housekeeping.com",
"sewing.housekeeping.com" and "cooking.housekeeping.com"
as the subdomains. You should continue to use 301 redirects to keep
the search engines from indexing these pages.
Renewals - Don't forget to renew all of these
domains each year. At least examine each one when renewal time comes
and consciously decide whether or not you need the domain. Don't
let them expire without your knowledge. Someone else may then benefit
from your hard work.
Other people's mistakes - Sometimes you might
find that the domain you want is not available. In this case, take
a look at the WHOIS record and see when it expires. Set up a reminder
for 30 days from this date and every week or so thereafter. On those
days, try and purchase the domain. Quite often, (especially these
days) you may be surprised to find the domain has become available.
Other TLD systems - Companies such as new.net
are offering many more pseudo-TLDs such as .SHOP and .XXX to the
general public. I would avoid these new systems like the plague.
These are at best bad ideas and at worst scams. They are attempts
to supercede the official internet standard TLD system by companies
with questionable motivations. They all require browser plug-ins
or other customizations to work, and some of them come piggy-backed
with spyware and other malicious applications.
These alternate TLDs do not get indexed in search engines, and
they may conflict with future TLDs added in the official domain
name structure (and thus become useless). On top of that, they are
In my opinion, it is critical that the internet domain name structure
remain under the control of a central governing body. While this
body (currently ICANN) is not operating as desired by the majority,
it's still much better being under one umbrella than splintering
this all over the place.
Straight TCP/IP address - I am always surprised
to come across a site which is listed in search engines, ezines
and other promotions as a straight TCP/IP address. This is not only
tacky and a sign of a spammer, it's not very intelligent as well.
If you do this and move your site (changing it's IP), you will lose
all of the traffic that you have so painfully gained.
Conclusions - The point is that owning more than
one domain has many uses, although it is no longer of much value
from a search engine optimization viewpoint. Instead, you can use
the other domain names to fulfill other types of marketing and to
attract people from specific markets to your site.
About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is
the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at http://www.internet-tips.net
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