When is it a good time to have multiple domains?

Domain names. If you want a website, you have to have at least one. But what about more than one? When might it be a good idea to have more than one domain?

First, let me clarify we’re talking about more than one domain, not more than one website. I have a few answers to commonly asked questions about domain names.

Will having more than one domain help my SEO?

No. No it really won’t. I don’t care what anyone tells you, owning more than one domain for the same website will not help your SEO. Google and Bing don’t care how many domains you have, they only care how relevant your domain is to your content. Can’t I just duplicate my website and put it on another domain? To this I say NO NO NO NO. This is bad. Very bad when it comes to SEO. You are not only creating your own competition for your keywords, but you are duplicating your content which can absolutely get you dinged in Google and make your rank worse. You don’t need to have a bunch of domains for one website.

My business name is commonly misspelled, should I buy that domain?

Yes! This is a good reason to buy a second domain. If your business name is Younique Flowers and your domain is youniqueflowers.com, then some people will probably want to type in uniqueflowers.com to get to your site. If that domain is available, definitely buy it up and use it. But FORWARD it to your website, so that they ultimately land on the correct domain. Don’t duplicate your site. (Am I clear on duplicating your site?)

What if I’m offering my business in English and another language? Should I buy my domain in another language?

Nope! Keep all your content, both English and Spanish, on your domain and use /en or /es to separate the content into various languages. That way, your domain has authority for both languages, instead of two separate sites trying to build that authority.

What if I want to keep my competitors from buying similar domains?

Yes! Our domain is sumydesigns.com, but if you go to any of these domains: sumydesigns.co, sumydesigns.net, or sumydesigns.org you will also get to our site. We found someone had set up shop with a VERY similar domain to ours, offering the same services. It was really frustrating to find that and there was nothing we could do. So we bought up as many others as we could find to keep them out of poachers hands.

What if I’m opening a second location of my business? Should it have it’s own domain?

Nope! Just add a page to your current site that represents that location. Something like mybusinessdomain.com/newlocation. Don’t create your own competition for your keywords. You can usually split up your website just fine for multiple locations.

What if I want to target a new keyword phrase? Shouldn’t I buy the domain that uses that phrase?

No! This is the most commonly asked questions. I offer XYZ service, and I want to target people who want to buy XYZ service in another city, so I should buy both xyzservice.com and xyzservicenewyork.com right? No! Google knows where you are, they know what you offer. Don’t create another website that competes with the one you already have. Creating your own competition is never a good idea. You can target that keyword right on your own domain instead, by adding a page for xyzservice.com/newyork. See how easy that was?

What is my business name is long? Can I buy a shorter one? 

Yes! If your business name is something like Paul’s Philosopher’s Friendship Foundation, and you want your domain to be paulsphilosopherfriendshipfoundation.com (which would be a good domain, since it’s your exact business name), but you think it will be too hard to remember or too hard to tell people on the phone, or even too hard to say to people over the phone, then by all means by a shorter one and FORWARD it to your actual domain. You could by paulsphilosopher.com and forward that, or ppff.com and forward that. Whatever works and is available.

There is a time and place for having multiple domains. Do it right! 

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Amy Masson

Amy is co-owner of Sumy Designs, LLC. When not creating websites, she can be found writing restaurant reviews at Lafayette Eats, tweeting at @amymasson, and geeking out about all things WordPress.