Marketing with Multiple Domains

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 “From a marketing point of view, when is it advisable to use several domains for a website? Is it advisable at all? Will it dilute the traffic to the point where it becomes irrelevant? Or will it raise the relevance of the site and therefore its audience? Does it work to advertise more than one domain? In which conditions?”

Many web-hosting services allow you to “point” several domains to the same website. You can even “point” a separate domain to a specific section of a website. But is it a good idea? Here are some reasons people use multiple domains, and a good reason not to:

Different domains, same product.
I’ve seen companies offer the same product or service under several domains, seeking to saturate the search engines with multiple listings, all of which bring business to the same company. However, if several domains point to exactly the same webpage, it is possible to be caught for “spamming” the search engines, and your competitors won’t be shy about turning you in. I’ve never seen reputable companies use this approach.

Different domains to sections of an existing site.
On an existing site, pointing traffic to specific domain names within site can get you into trouble. I had a #2 position for a popular keyword that was knocked off the charts completely when a search engine found the same page with another of my domain names. The search engine kept the second domain name at about #25, but my #2 position was gone forever — and I wasn’t even intentionally spamming.

Doorway or gateway pages.
It is common to set up doorway or gateway pages to a website on a different domain name than the actual site. That way, in case the gateway pages are penalized, the search engine won’t boycott the main site. Links on such pages to your sites can increase perceived “popularity” and ranking.

Misspellings and alternative spellings.
It is wise to acquire domain names with common misspellings of your domain name and point them to the same webpage, in case someone makes a typo. If you have a low-traffic site, don’t bother. But if you’re getting popular, do this to protect your brand.

Separate domains to introduce new products.
Separate domain names on separate websites can help products develop their own distinct brand identity. I’ve found this useful.

Separate domains to market different kinds of products.
My friend sells log furniture and folding ladders, but it would be counterproductive to put these on the same website with the same domain; each product line would suffer because customers couldn’t figure out the relationship between the two. Each different field needs its own domain to market it most effectively.

Concentrate traffic under a single domain.
I’ve given you reasons people use different domains. But unless you have a special situation, it’s best to concentrate all your website traffic to come in under the same domain. That way your customers won’t be confused, and links and traffic to your domain will raise your domain’s perceived “popularity” in the search engines, resulting in a higher ranking than otherwise.

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