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SEO Website Audit

Multiple Keyword-rich Domains

May 27, 2009
Jill,

I have a series (15) of keyword domains (3 to 5 years old) that are related to my site. Currently most of them are mirrors with just a slight content differential.

My million-dollar question is: What should I do with the other domains, some of which rank well for the specific keyword of their domain names?

George


++Jill's Response++

Hi George,

I'm not a fan of the multiple-domain strategy for SEO, nor is Google. My recommendation would be to 301-redirect all of your domains to your main website. This would carry over any link popularity the additional domains may have picked up over the years and help your main site. Because keywords in domains are not much of a factor, the redirection is all they're good for, in my opinion.

You might be interested to know that my stance on this subject hasn't changed over the years as evidenced by the numerous articles and posts I've made on the subject.

Hope this helps!

Jill
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Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, a Boston SEO Services company.

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 Patrick Cowan said:
Actually key words in domains are now important Google and Bing will index you faster and give priority to domains with key words related to the search query.Of course you still need content that is related to the key words.The reason this has changed is because the net is now so crowded and full of spam sites that the major search engines need a little more to go on when searching for content.Do some research on keyword generic domains and why they are becoming valuable.All the major companies are buying keyword domains related to the product or service they provide.toys are us owns toys.com Disney owns movies.com yes they get high type in traffic but most importantly it's the keywords.If you type in a search query you will find the domain with those keywords are ranked high on the page if they have a decent web site.
 Jill Whalen said:
But Patrick, that wasn't the question.

This question was asking whether they should have multiple domains for one business. A whole bunch of keyworded domains alone are not going to provide extra business for you.
 Rich said:
It will if you treat each one of those domain names as individuals and each one of those keyword-rich domains rank highly on the serps for their own targetted search terms
 Dave Francis said:
From my only (5) years of experience being a webmaster and experimenting with various SEO techniques, I'd have to agree with Rich. Multiple domains of the same company that link to each other with keywords and keyword rich content will definitely help raise a domain rank, especially with Google. Keywords are very important, especially for small online web stores.
 Alan Bleiweiss said:
I think it depends on the situation. If the content is only marginally unique, not actually a refined niche, Jill is most definitely right. All the time spend putting content into unique domains could have been spent regularly adding fresh content to the primary domain and the boost in value for that would have been a better use of the time and content. The main site would have ranked for those phrases, and the whole site would have benefited.

As far as the "keyword in the domain" approach, all you'd need is a sub-folder within the main domain where the sub-folder's name was that keyword phrase, and even that's not life-threatening if you properly optimize the site and work the inbound anchor text to that content.

I only use a multiple-domain approach when there's truly an opportunity for refined focus but only then when there's a significant amount of content directly related to and strongly supporting the primary focus of a niche site.
 Adam J. Humphreys said:
I agree the 301 redirect for this scenario is ideal. Having multiple domains for the same site is really only good for redirects. Having a bunch of inbound links from those other domain landing pages could work well, but in the long run I think it could be counter productive. If it was multiple domains about multiple different things then it makes sense to spread it out. It all depends on what the focus is.
 David McDougal said:
I agree with the 301 redirects. I think the key thing said was that "they are mirrors of each other with just a slight content differential." So, if the content is that similar, then 301'ing the other sites to the primary site should not affect it very much at all. Heck, even recreate the differential content on the new site, and then 301 the old sites to the new pages to keep the keyword rich content and all the links.

My bigger concern would be what happens, when google modifies the algorythm (cause they never do that), and starts seeing these are mirror sites. Then, they could get nailed for mirror style spamming, and get delisted, what good are all those mirror sites then.

We did this for a client that has a high number of sites also, and we redirect the specific sites to specific pages, and silo out the pages so that the URI is keyword rich to the redirected domain. This has allowed them with very little content to maintain a PR2 and growing. The site is only 18 months old with under 200 incoming links. We are also starting to push domains that have ALL the keywords in their URIs out of the top 5 for highly targeted 2-3 word keywords with this strategy also.
 Jill Whalen said:
David if I understand you correctly what you're saying doesn't make sense. Once you redirect a URL it essentially no longer exists in the eyes of the search engines. So having keywords in the redirected domain would be useless and futile.
 tom said:
I want to build a site which offers multiple products and services. I would like a catchy domain name for long term branding and customer recall. Then I would like to optimize SEO by using URL's that are key word heavy in the title and have different or more key words in their description than what I set up for my main site. I would like to direct all traffic to the main site if it helps SEO. How should I set it up? I don't want to run multiple sites...at least not yet.

Should I set up the key word heavy domains to direct to a specific page within my website? Should I use 301 redirect for all domains to the main site? Or should I not use new domain names and just add the key words to the secondary pages of my site?

Example: Photography.com (main domain and site name). Let's say one of many services will be "editing photos" for customers. Should I buy "eidtphotography.com if available and register it with specific key words? Or should I just add the key words to the secondary page dedicated to editting such as photography.com/edit?

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