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Many Domains Or One?
Posted 10 June 2005 - 07:18 AM
They have several lines of business which aren't related, eg several chains of restaurants with non-overlapping branding, a training college and they need the usual corporate gumpf ('Join Us!')
ie. They could have corporategroup.com, restaurantChain1.com, restaurantChain2.com trainingCollege.com, etc, *or* they could have corporategroup.com and use corporategroup.com/restaurantChain1/, corporategroup.com/restaurantChain2/, corporategroup.com/trainingCollege/ etc
This seems to my mind to justify several domains on branding grounds. Obviously the main differentiator is cost - while the cost of domain names and hosting for the extra domains is trivial, the cost of the extra seo is fairly significant.
I was wondering if anyone has any metrics for use in this decision, or have you used more of a gut comparison of strength of branding requirements vs the cost of seo?
All thoughts welcome
Posted 10 June 2005 - 07:37 AM
I've also used a third way that you didin't mention, which is to have one main corporate domain name, and then split off the separate brands as subdomains. eg corporategroup.com for the main, then restaurant1.corporategroup.com, restaurant2.corporategroup.com
I'm seeing a lot more of the last version recently, and quite frankly it makes a lot of sense. It's kind of the best of both worlds since you can get the branding in there, yet still maintain everything on a single domain/server. But the search engines (at this point) appear to be treating these subdomains as completely separate domains for the most part.
Posted 10 June 2005 - 07:53 AM
The other alternative that occurred to me is to buy all the restaurant1.com, etc and have them repoint to corporategroup.com/restaurant1/ This lets us use restaurant1.com in offline advertising and a limited amount of online advertising but minimise the SEO to a single domain.
Actually, that sounds better and better...
The only downside is the redirects are so ugly - I always hate it when I type in one url and get redirected to something completely different! Admittedly thats usually when I am redirected to something like geocities... <g>
Posted 10 June 2005 - 08:21 AM
Posted 10 June 2005 - 08:30 AM
If the target markets are very different, they may not want to put it in people's faces that they're all related. Not in a deceptive way -- there's a difference between lying to people and simply not emphasizing certain facts.
For instance, if Restaurant1="Taco City" and Restaurant2= "Boffo Burgers" it may not make a big difference for site visitors to see a URL that shows they're both owned by FabFastFoodCorp.
On the other hand, if Restaurant3="La Ristorante Elegante", an extremely upscale dining establishment, they may not want it in the potential customer's face that it's actually a division of FabFastFoodCorp, who also own "Taco City" and "Boffo Burgers". That would, in essence be co-branding the site for both La Ristorante Elegante and FabFastFoodCorp (and all it's "downmarket" properties), which might not be the best idea from a branding standpoint.
I mean, if McDonald's decided to open a line of expensive upscale steak-and-seafood restaurants, I doubt if they'd host the website as either a subdirectory or a subdomain of mcdonalds.com; they'd put it on its own URL, and probably with minimal to no mention of McDonald's anywhere on there.
It comes down to how the clients want to approach the branding, I think.
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