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Why Would You Have More than One Domain for Your Website?

Published: 16/11/2018
By: larry

Jonathan in New York asks:

I just came across something that I hope you might have some thoughts on. Is it common for real estate photographers to have more than one URL exhibiting the same content? I was updating some SEO stuff on my site when I came across two sites with the same content, some differences, but generally the same. While it’s advantageous, it does sort of feel like cheating. Am I right, or short-sighted?

It's not uncommon for websites to have more than one domain pointing at the website. For example, the following URLs are pointed at the same website:

I wouldn't describe this as "cheating"! It's simply using the technology to get done what you need. The reason there are multiple domains that point to the PFRE blog is that when I first created the PFRE blog, only the .net domain was available. Many years later, a friend saw the .com domain in an auction and got it for me. So I just pointed the .com to the PFRE blog too. This takes care of the case where someone doesn't know that the blog has a .net domain and assumes it's a .com domain. They get to the same place.

As Ryan describes in more detail in the video above, Google and other search engines know that the real website is the .net domain so that's the site that has the real ranking. There are other similar reasons where you need to have multiple domains pointing to the same site but having multiple domains pointing to the same site does not increase the site's ranking.

5 comments on “Why Would You Have More than One Domain for Your Website?”

  1. If you were to think up another domain name that worked for your business, it's a good idea to grab it. Unless you have a good reason for leaving it idle, have it point to your existing site. Larry's example is another great reason. You may also come across the availability of a former competitor's domain name coming up after they have gone out of business. If the domain name you have has words/names that are often misspelled, get those misspellings too. I use a similar tactic on eBay to find some item listings that I often wind up getting cheap. I use "Canon" cameras but somebody may post something with "Cannon". The two "n" spelling is going to get far less traffic in some cases and you can get a better deal. Canon would have done well to get the misspelling, but they didn't. If you are "McNeal Photography", you may want "McNeil Photography" too in case somebody is just told you URL and doesn't know what the spelling might be. With both, they will find you. You may also want "MacNeal", "McNiel" and "MacNeil" come to think of it.

    There is no "cheating". You need to attract business to pay your bills and hopefully pay yourself too. Having multiple domains that all point to your one web site might be a good way to draw people in. You are only being unethical if you get the domain "BobsREPhotography.com" and Bob is a close competitor. I don't think there is a law against it, but Bob might be able to make your life a bit more expensive with lawyers and stuff.

  2. This is smart to do, but the implementation here is incorrect from an SEO perspective. It's really best to redirect/forward those additional TLDs (.com, .net) to one primary site (.com) so that you would never reach the .net one. This can be done via tools provided by your domain registrar (GoDaddy, etc). This makes it easier for Google (and other search engines) to determine which one is your primary domain so they aren't splitting page rank between more than one domain. It's also easier to manage your content because only one site needs to be updated.

  3. Sometimes you may want to run two different sites for geographical reasons. I started with Propertytours.us many years ago and then changed to pdxrealestatephotography.com, Portland is at the top of the state and Realtors down south, 50 miles away may have an aversion to hiring someone from Portland, but Propertytours.us started in the middle. So Realtors in Salem, call Propertytours and Portland, Vancouver call PDX. I am located dead center between. After the first few calls, they just call Bill.

  4. Bill, if you do indeed have two different locations where clients can get to, then I would agree. But if you operate a service area business in which you travel to client locations, then the better approach is to make sure that you mention the areas you serve on a single website. You should also use the search engine tools like GMB (Google My Business) or Bing Places for Business to let the search engines know what areas you service. This way they will serve up the most appropriate content to users in those areas.

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