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SEO Website Audit

2 Domains, 1 Website

May 14, 2008
Dear Jill,

I have a client who has 2 domain names: and pointing at the same IP address. Is it bad SEO to have multiple domain names for the same site? And will this negatively impact search engine results for each?


++Jill's Response++

Hi Patrick,

Two domains for one website is not in and of itself a bad thing. I have tons of domains for my one website. But problems can arise if your additional domain is simply a parked alias of your main domain and it somehow gets indexed by the search engines. Even this is not really a problem, but it's best to allow only your main domain to be indexed so as not to inadvertently trip any duplicate content filters.

You may already be doing this, but if not, what you want to do is set up a 301-permanent-redirect from the additional domain to your main domain. This will ensure that all visitors end up at the correct site, and that only your main domain gets indexed by the search engines. It will also help to pass to the main domain any link popularity that the additional domain may have accumulated.

Hope this helps!


Post Comment

 Anonymous said:
Hi Jill,

What if Patrick's domains had unique content with some cross linking between the two?

 Jill said:
Hi Patrick,

You mean what if he had 2 completely different websites? (Rather than 1 website with two domains.)

Certainly nothing wrong with that assuming they're providing different information. And certainly nothing wrong with cross-linking them where it makes sense to do so either.

It's completely normal and natural for companies to have more than one website for various reasons.

Now, if you're talking about two websites that are basically the same, but with just minor changes, that's not a very good idea, nor is it necessary. One should suffice (which is what the search engines would believe as well).

 Hetal Patel said:
I have a site and has 18 subdomains, obvious subdomains point to the same ip address.
I list the products on based on category and categories assigned to the subdomains
Some of the category assigne more then 2 subdomains.

So product listing of that category is duplicate when u go through category..of subdomain.

some of the Categories of this two subdomain is same,
So my question is that does google consider Product pages of the same category spam or google will index. or any other impact.

If anyone can answer
Thank You
Hetal Patel
 Wyn Snow said:
Is there a way to do a 301 redirect without having hosting for a domain?

I have several clients with more than one domain name, and the secondary/other domains are forwarded to the main domain through the registrar (Bulk Register). I've been told that this is exactly the situation that can create an SEO problem of duplicate indexed content.

 Jill said:
@Hetal Patel

Google won't see it as spam, but it IS duplicate content so it may not all get indexed, or some of it may not be found in the main search results.

@Wyn Snow

There are ways to redirect via the .htaccess file, but it does depend on what sort of access they have. Take a look at our 301-redirect forum at the High Rankings Forum. There's more info there and also some techie gurus who can explain exactly how to do it if necessary.
 Shawn said:
When I set up my 301, the 301 only redirect the people who land on my index page right? what if people land on my deeper page? let say, will the 301 redirect those people to the other domain as well?

 Jill said:
@Shawn, it depends on how you set it up. The typical .htaccess 301 redirect will redirect every page on your old site to its equivalent counter-part on the new site.

For anyone who wants more info on using redirects, please visit the High Rankings 301-redirect forum.
 Paul Friedman said:
Are there penalties in the case of two unique domains with one or two meaningful cross links on the same site? The Main domain is hosted and the second domain resides on a subdirectory of the main domain. The hosting service permits this even proving php code for redirecting the second domain
 Jill said:
You can meaningfully link however you want without penalties. The key is "meaningful."
 Denny said:
Perfect timing Jill!
I have a long url domain to my main site and have found a short memorable domain I want to use to lead to the same content on the main site.

Reading the posts, it seems doing a 301 redirect is all it takes. Is that right? The secondary domain will be used only for "remembering" mostly from my blog (with nearly identical domain) to the site
 Jill said:

Generally, that's all it takes but sometimes Google's aging delay throws a monkey wrench into the works. If your current domain has built up a lot of trust and authority, then the redirect to a new domain should most likely go smoothly.

But it sounds like you're keeping the main domain and just redirecting the new, shorter one, is that right? If that's the case, you'll be fine, yes.
 SpostareDuro said:
just wanted to thank you for that answer. i had recently wondered the same thing.
 Jill said:
@SpotareDuro You're welcome!
 Hetal Patel said:
Thanks Jil

That's what I am thinking some of the pages has been indexed and some of not.
 Denny said:
Thanks Jill,
Yes the new "short" domain is just sooo memorable, wheras the original site domain is long, but being full of keywords that match the site name, it works very well in Googles eyes even though it has been up for a month a #5 and a #18 for the main two very competitive keywords!

Anyway, the new short site will contain no content, just re-direct to the original. So aging shouldn't be a problem should it?

Should I just have my host, host them both on the same account IP then with a permenant 301 re-direct?
 Jill said:
Denny, the aging delay doesn't matter for the new, short domain because you're just going to redirect it anyway.

So yes, just have your host 301 redirect the short one to the long one and you'll be fine.
 Mahmoud said:
Hello there,
If I have two sites and, both has good ranking and many pages indexed 10th of thousands indexed pages.
If I made a subdomain from ( that points to, how can I do it, safely without loosing any of indexed pages or ranking? what's the safest scenario for SEO?
 High Rankings Forum said:
Hi Mahmoud,

There's not enough info in your question to provide you with a sufficient answer. Please head over to the High Rankings Forum and post there for help with this.

 Mahmoud said:
hey Jill thanks,
Well I tried but I cant make a new topic since i'm a new user.
my question is that I have two old websites .. both has a good number of indexed pages and good ranking but there is one bigger than the other. I want to make a subdomain on the big site, that redirects to the other smaller site.
how can I do it safely, is using 301 will do?? can I redirect subdomains to other domains? thanks
 Jill said:
Yes you can. I don't really get why you would want to, but you can pretty much redirect anything to anything else.
 Mahmoud said:
thanks for replying and I know that I can, bu my question is that it wont affect my SER? or indexed pages? how can I manage to make only the old site to be indexed, and I need to do that cause I'm gathering all my websites under one domain but at the same time I don't wanna loose the old sites domain and popularity.
 Jill said:
301-redirecting the old to the new should do the trick, but there could be some time in between for the reindexing and 301s to take effect with the engines. They don't always pass the link popularity righ taway.
 Julz said:
I have one main domain indexed with Google and I have three domains using rediret 301 to the same site, how do I get the three domains on 301 recognised on search engines if I can't index them on Google because of the duplicate content problem?
 Jill said:
Julz, the idea of using the 301 redirect is so that the additional domains DON'T get indexed. If you want them indexed, then remove the 301's and make them completely unique.
 dobbel said:
Timely topic; as I am unexperienced in SEO etc and am dealing with this very issue and still haven't found the better solution for the pickle I am in.

Btw. I have registered on the forum this morning, but am not getting the confirmation email. Not in unwanted messages either. Tried confirm again. Nothing.

I am working on a site for a friend with a personal domain for her small business site (#1 in google via her name) site is static html on a host without option to 301 or htaccess.

Decision is made to go to better host, supporting dynamic sites to have a nicer site and more options.

Now there is a second domain name as a business also. Main purpose is to secure the name and allowing the email of a business newsletter to be separate from direct client email.

I thought it would be OK both domain names point to the same website. My bad or not?

The new site is designed and up at the new host, can be reached via the new business domain name (DNS)>

But, now that I am thinking about redirecting the older domain name ... I am worried about search engine ranking etc for the personal domain name.

Questions ...

Q) Is it OK to have one domain name point to the server via DNS and have the other via domain forwarding?

Q) Would it be better if the existing personal domain name is the one hosted via DNS ... and the new business name forwards?

I'm thinking the latter would be better for search engines. Right?

Unless there are other things to consider and better options out there.

Hoping your insight can help guide me.

My thought right now is, that I should, create a new site at the new host, so it can be found via DNS (registrar into webserver requires the same domain name on the root of the server). Once that's done have DNS propagate the personal domain from old location to new.
Which should secure the page ranking & search results? Right?

Then put refresh pages up for the old static hosted HTML pages, in case those show up somewhere or there is an old bookmark.

Then after that do a 301 on the new host from the business domain name folder.
Then consider domain forwarding via registrar for the business name to the personal domain.

Am I still making sense?

Looking forward to your response.

 Jill said:
FD, imo, it doesn't matter which domain you use, but I would recommend 301-redirecting one to the other, one way or another.

That's really all that matters.
 Dobbel said:
Thanks, Jill, for the fast response.

I think I'll just recreate the site, so that the personal domain points to the new site via DNS. I think my friend will like that better. Then 301 the business site domain name, as that one hasn't had any traffic anyhow.

Just to play it safer with her original google ranking.

The issue still is I can't 301 from the old old host.

Is it safe to use a refresh with 0? For major search engines?

Thanks again,
 Jill said:
The only safe redirect is via a 301, not a meta refresh.
 JayJay said:
i have my main domain that i have had for 3 years. it is a real estate site. the site has a page on it that has a map where you can start searching properties. what i wanted to do is have several domain names (around 20) land on that same page. ie,,, ect. All the new domains would land on the same mapping page on my main site. Can I do this with out Google penalizing me for it?
 Jill Whalen said:
JayJay, sure you can do it, just redirect via 301 them all to the one you want.

There's no SEO benefit to it, however. You should probably ask this in the High Rankings Forum (or do a search there as I'm sure we've covered the topic many times).

Click the link in my name to get there quickly!
 John said:
Is this a bad thing then . I have 2 websites. My main one and another wenbsite that only displays my homepage. Should i do this or not. Please help

Many thanks and kind regards
 Jill said:
John, as the post states, it's typically not going to be helpful for you. I'd go with the 301-redirect and leave it at that.
 quiche said:
Thanks for the clearification... different domains with different content seems to be the best solution therefore.
 Anonymous said:
Okay so I have one website and two domain names. The first domain name does not rank me very well in google cause of its name. Now I used on the second domain name a better choice of words for searching. I added it to google. Do you guys think that it will work for me? I noticed that it works for many people if in you domain name you use the the key words that you can be found easily.
 Jill Whalen said:
It's doubtful it will help. The reason your first domain isn't doing well is highly unlikely due to its domain name.
 Mike said:
I really need some peace of advise here since I got into this situation not intentionally.
I have a domain A that is pointed to certain IP address and there is no content what so ever on this domain.
Several months later similar domain name B is pointed to same IP address and we started building content and domain B is actually an active website. We started link building and some SEO work on it and after 3 months we've accidentally noticed that domain A is also pointing to this same IP address and when you try to open domain A it displays the same website as domain B.
Now after 3 months of SEO work and link building for domain B we don't see any results what so ever for this domain, but domain A has some nice rankings which is really weird for me!??! It seems that Google recognizes domain A as the actual website , but the actual website and the link building is for domain B!
I'd like domain B to be recognized as the main domain and to rank for the specific keywords and not domain A! What is the solution here? How can I change that?
Is redirect 301 appropriate here or should I just point domain A somewhere else..?
Thanks in advance
 Jill Whalen said:
Yes 301 is definitely the right choice--no question about it.
 Mike said:
Thanks Jill, but before we do 301 should I setup domain A to go to Page not found 404 ?
 Jill Whalen said:
No. You set A to redirect via a 301 to B. No need for a 404 since it will be a 301. They can only have one http header response as far as I know. (Or at least only should have one.)
 Mike said:
This might be a stupid question, but I'll go ahead with it :)
If I do the 301 redirect can I use this domain for another website at some later point, let's say after 3-4 months ?
Thanks in advance
 Jill Whalen said:
Yes Mike, you can.
 Mike said:
Thank you very much Jill .... and one last question ... Domain "A" as of right now is pointed to a different IP ( parked ). Can I pointed back to the same IP as domain B and implement the redirect 301 ?
Thank again
 Jill Whalen said:
You can redirect any domain to any other domain, so I would say yes. But you might want to check in over at our High Rankings Forum at the 301-redirect category to make sure that your situation isn't unusual.
 Mike said:
Hey Jill, I've redirected the domain A with 301 , but is there any way to find out if Google will "transfer" the rankings from domain A to domain B ?
 Jill Whalen said:
They will but it can take months. Eventually you would see back links that point to the redirected domain show up in the link profile for the redirected TO domain.
 Thai said:
Is there any way to track which domain the user entered to get to the site?

For example, I have 2 domains pointing to the same server. \
-----------------Main Site /

Is there a way to track what user came from what url?
 Jill Whalen said:
@Thai, it depends on what you mean by "pointing." If the domains are not redirected but just parked aliases, then I believe you would be able to know which domain they got to. But if one is 301-redirected to the other, I don't believe you can.

You might try posting this in the forum in our 301-redirect forum as linked in a comment above. There are others there who would likely know the definitive answer.
 Jon said:
Hi , I have a similar question - My client has two sites - A & B.
Both these sites actually sit on the same hosting space and share the exact same files, but because they have two domains pointing to it, both these sites are getting indexed seperately.

The problem is that the google rankings and links etc are being shared between the two because both are indexed. I tried using a 301 redirect to point site A to site B but because the two sites share the same space it won't work.

Is there another option that can be done here? Thanks!
 Jill Whalen said:
Jon you have one site with 2 domains. There is a way to redirect. See our 301 redirect category on the forum for instructions.
 Alex said:
Many companies buy all the domain extension for their company name, ie the .com, .us . net, etc

Instead of just doing 301s to the main website, is there any way one can extract some value from these domains? Perhaps have landing pages for these domains with basic information (which can be promoted) and links to the main site?
 Julie said:
Hi I was wondering if this is ok to do. I have a towel site and I would like to make custom pages hosted on this domain for my other domains I purchased. Like this:

I make a page can I point to this page? If people search "nice towels" will the search engines pick up on the domain or the actual page first? I would like to do the same thing for my other types of towels.

Thank you this site is so helpful.
 Jill Whalen said:
Julie, if by "point" you mean 301 redirect, then no, the site doesn't exist. But you don't need a keyword rich domain, just having nice-towels in the URL would be fine (and even that isn't necessary).
 Julie said:
Ok so search engines mostly index based on the plain text in the web document correct? Does what you said pretty much mean domain names and url's are not in the priority?

Why the big fuss over prime domains then? Is it a scam?

Done bombarding you with questions. Thanks again for the gracious help and quick reply :)
 Jill Whalen said:
Julie please do a search on this site and forum for keyword domains and keyword URLs. Lots of info on them.
 Max said:
Hi, I want to use the and .com versions of the same main domain name for the same business and business type. I.e and but I will host two completely different sites with different content and SEO on my reseller hosting package but with the intention of attracting customers for the same products. Is this a problem?
 Jill Whalen said:
Max, probably not a problem.
 Paulo Sopa said:
regarding 301 redirects, i did this from an existing domain to a new one with exactly same content. Should i delete old domain contents? or leave it and get 2 domains with the same content? thanks!
 Elle said:
Hi Jill,
I just found your thread & don't know if you're still posting but here goes. I'm hoping you can help me understand something I'm muddy on. Getting ready to create another [new] website but this time I bought two domains - (Businessname+Service).com --and-- (Service+City).com

The first being our company name which we mainly want to use for print material & branding. The second being the one which will dominate the keyword searches in Google. I'm not 100% clear though - which is more beneficial please? Is it better to have the keyword rich domain as the main site and redirect the co name domain to it? Thank you in advance!
 Jill Whalen said:
Keyword rich domains are so 2010. Always, always go with your business name.
 manohar said:
Hi Jil,

One of my client has raised a question after seeing the Hummingbird Algorithm update.
Hummingbird should better focus on the meaning behind the words. And also I think it may shows the results differ from city to city, state to state & country to country for different users.

Now the question is, we have one particular website which provide some services in one country. Based upon the services, if we buy multiple domains (keywords) focusing on cities & states in the country. In this multiple domains if we add almost similar content just by changing the states & cities names in the content and contact address.

Will it be any negative effect for main website, by creating this multiple domains with similar content?

Thanks in advance
 Jill Whalen said:
@Manohar, it has nothing to do with hummingbird, but yes, as always, you will see a negative effect from Google if you create duplicate content on multiple domains.