As business growth specialists with more than 10 years of experience with search engine optimisation (SEO), we're often asked if there's any benefit to buying a number of keyword-based domain names and automatically redirecting people who visit them to a single, main website. The short answer, in terms of SEO, is no – but that doesn't mean the tactic can't be advantageous in other ways. Let's examine the issue more closely.
The Truth About Domain-forwarding For SEO Purposes
The SEO world is full of myths and one that's been particularly pervasive is the idea that pointing keyword-based domains to a single website can help to boost that website's position in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Sometimes a company will buy a host of different domain names related to its business and use 301 redirects to point these to its main site. Some organisations have even bought domain names relating to their competitors in an attempt to both boost their own site's search rankings and steal their rivals' potential clients.
Aside from the fact that grabbing domains that your competitors may want could antagonise those companies and visitors to those sites, this type of domain-forwarding is just a waste of time and money when it comes to SEO. In fact, purchasing domains that have previously been used by other people could even have a detrimental effect. If you don't point every URL originally used to corresponding pages on your new website, you could end up with error pages being listed in the SERPs. In addition, if the domain name you've bought was previously owned by an organisation that had engaged in spammy SEO tactics, using it could even damage your company's reputation in the eyes of the search engines.
That doesn't mean that buying extra domains and implementing 301 redirects is always a bad move, but you should only do it in certain circumstances.
When Is It Appropriate To Use Multiple Domains?
Here are just a few examples of how using multiple domains could be beneficial for your business:
- Purchasing domains with names directly related to your company means that nobody else can use them. In addition, customers who type the wrong details into their browser bar will still end up on your company's site. If your business is often referred to by its initials or a shorter version of its name, it may be worth buying the relevant domain names, and you also might want to pick up the alternative TLD (top-level domain) versions of your site (such as the .co.uk or .org versions of your .com site).
- Some companies buy domains featuring misspellings of their names so that customers who mistype the address will be redirected to the correct place. However, with many potential clients likely to reach your website via direct links or search engines, this may not be a cost-effective plan.
- Buying foreign versions of your domain name can help you in terms of international SEO. However, you'll need to create fresh content in the appropriate language for each one rather than simply redirecting visitors to your UK site.
Get In Touch With JDR
If you're still not sure whether purchasing additional domains is the best option for your brand, JDR can help. We can also provide you with advice about more effective ways in which to improve your website's performance in the SERPs.