Will redirecting different domain names into the main one be a fantastic idea to get SEO? Here’s what you need to understand before you make that choice.
This week’s Ask An SEO question comes to us from Ellis from”Parts Unknown.” Ellis asks:
“I would like your opinion on having multiple domains point to a site, and if it’s harmful or beneficial from an SEO and Google perspective. I have a customer who is adamant they want 10 distinct domain names all pointing to a single site and we’re interested in the consequences.”
As always, the answer to the SEO query is a definitive” it depends.”
First, let us define the situation and explain some things.
When you state”point multiple domains to one site,” I’m going to presume that you mean”301 or some other type of redirect in the extra domain names to the client’s website.”
And you don’t imply”have the client’s website resolve for each of these domains”
I can tell you now, having one”website” response to multiple domain names only creates multiple sites of replicate content and that is absolutely not valuable for SEO or Google.
When to Redirect Other Domains to Your Principal Domain
So, assuming we’re talking about redirecting these domains to the customer’s domain…
The very first questions We Must answer in this scenario are:
Where did those domains come from in the first location?
Has this client consistently had them (as in, were they the original registrant)?
Have these domains ever had a site of”their own” (or do they now have their particular content/website)?
If any of the domains have ever been standalone sites (that is, with their particular content) or when they had been conducted by individuals aside from your customer, you’re likely to have to check up on the background of each of the domain names.
You will want to pull on a historical backlink profile going back as much as possible, and you’re going to need a fresh backlink profile for each domain, as well.
From the backlink profiles, start looking for things like links of suspicious origin.
Did the prior use of the domain involve purchasing links or are there naughty/undesirable backlinks?
The very last thing you need to do would be 301 a domain with tens of thousands of spam or porn links to some customer’s perfectly good (healthy ) domain name.
If the domain names have any sort of footprint that indicates there were nefarious activities previously, I would not believe 301 redirecting the domains to the client’s domain.
But if the domains in question might have type-in prices, you can 302 redirect them into the customer website.
You’re also going to have to check Google to see if there are any actively ranking pages on each of the domain names.
If there are, is that content directly analogous to your client’s recent content?
There’s no significance in redirecting a domain that ranks for terms related to poodles into a site that has content regarding used cars (or anything related… if the material is not the same, there is no worth from the redirect).
A long long time ago, I got a direct competitor’s domain and 301 diverted the majority of their webpages to pages of mine which contained basically exactly the exact same content.
This meant that the consumers found what they were looking for, albeit on my own website rather than the competition.
And all the high-value hyperlinks that were pointing at the competitor’s site now 301 redirected to mine (and brought with them the value associated with the hyperlinks ).
Related to this, if there are positions on Google for some of the domain names and clicking on (or attempting to click on) some of those results triggers any kind of malware or malicious content warning, don’t redirect that domain name to your client’s website.
If it appears like there are articles on the domain name, but it does not look like what your customer believes should be there (e.g., it’s a site that provides puppies for adoption, but each one of the SERPs seem like it’s a customized soccer jersey website), the existing domain/website is probably hacked.
If it is a hacked website, you may be able to use it but you need to obliterate the whole file system and any databases linked to the website.
I’d probably move the hosting environment anyhow, and I would only visit this effort when there are additional significantly valuable features associated with the domain name (like amazing backlinks, or directly related content/results).
Don’t Have the Client’s Website Simply Resolve for (Answer To) Multiple Domains
You can redirect the other domains to the customer’s primary domain/website, but don’t create X number of identical content websites.
That is definitely bad.
No more”it depends.”
It is bad.
Do Due Diligence about the Domains the Client Wants You to Redirect for Their Site
Backlink background: Is it clean? Anything great there? Anything scary? If it seems like the website was”undesirable” in a past life, consider not redirecting it into the client’s website.
Ahead content: Is it right related (analogous) to your customer’s current website? When it is not directly linked, there’s probably no worth there.
Any proof of the domains being hacked or compromised previously (or now!)? If yes, don’t redirect!
Is There Type-In Value for One of the Domains in Question?
In case an otherwise undesirable domain (because of some of the above reasons) has an amazing type-in possible, you can still do the redirect.
However, make certain you do not pass worth.
So any type of redirect that is known to not pass worth will operate — but still don’t have the client’s website only answer to the additional domain name.
That is still creating a duplicate content website and it is still quite bad.
But if this is just a case of the customer has registered a lot of similar domains, or same name different TLD domains, there isn’t an absolute need or reason to point these at the customer’s website.
The customer can still sit on them without a website attached just to stop others from registering/using similar domains.
In closing, there could be value in this strategy, but it entirely depends on the pool of domains you’re looking at and how they relate to your client’s content.
It is not a slam dunk whatsoever.
Be considerate about the decision with the aforementioned guidance in mind, and I am sure your client will benefit.