SEO scrabble tiles

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

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

24 Comments

  1. Steve Edmonds on February 17, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Amy,

    I have a mobile bar cocktail business in Ibiza and I would like to start offering the same services in the UK as well.

    The SEO homepage is currently built solely around Ibiza and is ranked at #1 for most ibiza searches. I don’t want to lose the ranking but I also don’t want people thinking we only offer services in Ibiza.

    What is the best way to get around this?

    Thank you for your help in advance.

    • Amy Masson on February 18, 2023 at 11:30 am

      As long as your UK business uses the same business name, I would create a UK page on your site with specifics about your UK business, and add information in the footer about both locations.

  2. Sam Jensen on February 10, 2023 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Amy,

    I operate a construction company and am a real estate agent. Sometimes our clients that buy homes will choose use to also renovate their home.

    For the purpose of pay per click ads, is it ideal to have two different websites? My concern is that google will be confused whether we are a construction or real estate company and dilute the marketing efforts of getting leads/running traffic to the site. Thank you!

    • Amy Masson on February 10, 2023 at 3:58 pm

      If you target your ads properly and use well constructed landing pages, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.

  3. Ron Hogsett on August 4, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Hi Amy,

    I have a tax and bookkeeping business. I have one website for the tax and bookkeeping business. I am now adding a new services investment advisory services. Because of all the compliance issues, I would like to set up another website just for the investment services. I hear that having two website is not a good Ideal because of SEO ranking a and google might delist you. But, I was hoping if the content is different and the domain is different and the only thing two know that this two websites are own by the same person is my name and address. My emails are difference. Do you think this would still be an issue?

    Thanks

    Ron

  4. Mark on June 6, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Hi Amy,
    I’m a freelance illustrator, curious for your opinion. I have 3 distinctly different styles of art that I draw. My caricature services have paid the bills for years. Meanwhile, my “serious” realistic drawing style is completely opposite, has spiritual vibes, gets my books published. My “comics” style is funny and gets a lot of attention online. I currently have them all under one website roof — my name is my main website domain. But marketing my name on social media feels impossible and unfocused because the styles look so radically different. Plus, social media icons on web-pages — typically only one is allowed for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. What would you do if you were me?

    • Amy Masson on June 16, 2020 at 10:13 am

      Hi Mark,

      Many talented artists like yourself make art that falls into different genres, and my recommendations would be to keep everything together under one website, but break it up into pages by style. That way the people looking for caricatures can find that information while the people looking for your books can find those. The homepage should have easy navigation so that your visitors can immediately get to the content that interests them. However, you are one artist and you are doing different kinds of art, so I think it all belongs on one site.

  5. Christina on May 6, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Amy, my husband is starting a local business as a painter and decorator and I want to combine the THREE(!) websites that I have as a Reiki Teacher, Online Reiki Practitioner and Celebrant. Should we create one website for both of us? Many thanks, Christina and Adriano

    • Amy Masson on May 29, 2020 at 7:57 am

      The painting business should be separate from the Reiki business website since the target audience is probably not the same. People searching for Reiki probably aren’t also looking for painting.

      • Jay on June 4, 2023 at 7:09 pm

        This is exactly opposite to what you have said in your article.

        • Amy Masson on June 5, 2023 at 7:52 am

          There are going to be times when two websites is the right choice.

  6. Love on May 4, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Hi Amy. I’m offering different services such as graphic designs, fashions, vtu and data business just wanna know if all these can be in a website or should I just have different website for each.

    • Amy Masson on May 29, 2020 at 7:58 am

      If you have a different target audience, if the people looking for one service you offer are not the same people looking for the other service you offer, then probably having two sites is best. I’m not sure how fashions and data business go together?

  7. Andre on August 22, 2019 at 3:27 am

    Hi Amy- I am planning on building a website which offers different services which differ quite widely. -Construction, – Data analytics -Waste management, -Renewable energy supply.
    Actually my company is a composition of the above services. I wonder if its a good idea to fit all these services in one website.

    • Amy Masson on August 23, 2019 at 10:04 am

      I can see how construction and waste management fit together under one umbrella, but I don’t see how data analytics ties into any of the rest. Can you give me more details on what you are doing with data analytics?

    • Kevin on September 10, 2019 at 6:57 am

      Hello Amy, I have a Locksmiths business, and I service two different areas (cities)
      Would I be best having two separate (different content websites and url for each site?
      As I’ve been told having this one website with different url name at end of url address eg
      http://www.elite-locksmiths.co.uk/Andover might affect my ranking negatively in my home city?

      • Amy Masson on September 10, 2019 at 7:17 am

        Hi Kevin,

        One website is the best option. You can list your service areas on the site, such as saying “Providing locksmith services to both xxx and yyy cities to better serve you.” Two websites would be creating your own competition for yourself. Not a great idea.

  8. lester on June 30, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Great Article,I have question i have 2 websites 2 different domain names ,but the two websites are one for [DJ services] different keywords and second one for [Party rentals service] different keywords, they are related but different product/services ,Can i link from one page from the DJ service WEBSITE to the party rental WEBSITE ? both websites have different content and pics but both websites are operated by the same local business company,Targeting customers in the same local region.
    Thank you

    • Amy Masson on July 7, 2019 at 8:33 am

      In my opinion, if it’s the same company offering two different services, then it should all be in one website, especially if someone may hire that company for both services for one event. You can always link to any website you want to, but having two websites for the same business dilutes your online presence and makes it harder for people to find you.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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