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My business offers multiple services… should I have a different domain for each one for SEO?

This question comes up from time to time, so I felt it really needed addressing. I was working with a client who has a business who has two different services. Those services are mostly unrelated and the customers who use one typically don’t use the other. The opinion was that the client should have two domains so they could rank individually for each service due to different audiences.

You don’t need two domains and two websites to rank one business for multiple keywords.

If you have one business in one location, even if it services multiple demographics with different services, then in the vast majority of the cases, the best option is to have one website.

There are many reasons why having two websites is not a great idea. 

  1. It’s harder to maintain two websites.
  2. It costs a lot more to create and manage two websites.
  3. SEO for two websites is also more expensive and takes more time.
  4. Duplicate content on the same websites can hurt your ranking.
  5. Dividing content between the two sites can make both sites too skimpy.
  6. Having two sites for one business can be confusing to your customers.
  7. If the business has one name for multiple services, having two websites will dilute the searches for that business rather than strengthen them.

Case Study

We do a lot of author websites and one thing I notice is that many authors think they should have a new website for each book. The theory is that if they have a book, it should be on it’s own domain to get the best results for any searches for that book. However, what happens is that they spread their efforts across too many platforms. Their author sites typically also have information about the book. Sometimes they use the same content, which can hurt their SEO efforts.

The best case scenario is to have one author website that has a page for each book and then to optimize that page for those searches. Not only is it easier to maintain, it also aggregates a lot of great content all in one site for the best SEO results.

What about buying extra domain names and forwarding them to your site?

If you want to buy a domain name and forward it to a page of your site, there is no problem with that and it won’t hurt your SEO. Having a domain name specific to your service or your new book can be great to use for your online marketing campaigns. Having a forwarded domain will not increase your SEO rankings since there won’t actually be any content on that domain.

It’s important to understand that one website can rank for multiple different keyword searches, and the domain name is just one element of your SEO strategy. Just buying a domain name for each service and duplicating your content onto it is NOT a valid SEO strategy.

Amy Masson

5 Comments

  1. Veronika Boros on March 22, 2018 at 6:40 am

    Hi Amy, thank you for this article it made me think about our business choice we are about to make. I would be curious what the conclusion would be in our case when we are stocktakers and also act as agents selling convenience stores on behalf of our clients. Although the two services are related as we do the stocktakes for independent retailers usually convenience store owners so they use us when they buy or sell a shop. Would it be beneficial to have two separate websites or we should just find a domain name which works for both and go with that? Thank you if you find the time share your opinion. Kind Regards, Veronika

    • Amy Masson on March 22, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Veronika – Will the two businesses have two separate names? Two separate entities? Is it a conflict if people know you are stocktakers and selling stores? If the two services are related and the business will be using the same name, then I’d say one website.

  2. Amitabh Deb Sarma on June 12, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Hi Amy, thank you for the article. It has inspired me to think out of the box.
    1) Currently, we have one website for our existing Advertising services. Here, we source all kinds of designing and promotional projects from a customer and then get them done from relavent outside vendors. Onus is ours.
    2) Recently, we have started another service. That is, to facilitate the far way customers to buy Steel/ Iron from Factories near us. This is called Indenting (not actual trading). Here, we see that the customer gets timely delivery of the steel and other related services from the Factory, when needed.
    Pls suggest me, if we need a different website for our 2nd line of business. Or, we can make a common website for both the business. Pls note that, in both our business, we act as the service provider to our customers.

  3. Ryan on November 18, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Amy,

    I have a small business growing that rents products, repairs products, and sells products new and used. We also have a few locations in different states and we want to grow but we are having a hard time creating a site with the right flow to get a customer to where they want to go and how to do it right for SEO. Right now our site focus’ more on rentals but I need to increase our repairs and sales portion. Do I create the site by product and then location or do we put on the home page the locations and force the customer to choose the location and keep them in a silo. Nobody seems to know the answer to this. :/ Any thoughts?

    • Amy Masson on November 19, 2018 at 8:16 am

      Hi Ryan,

      This is a great question! And what a great service you’re offering! If your equipment rental is specific to location AND you have different equipment at those locations, then I think you definitely need to start by funneling thing into location. Someone going to California isn’t going to want to see what’s available at the location in Orlando. However, if you have the same equipment at all locations, then I don’t think you need to narrow it by location – just list the locations where the equipment is located. It looks like you’re just using a form for reservations, so you could add a checkbox for picking the location right on that form.

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