The adage, “Old Habits Die Hard” rings true for just about every aspect of our lives. In the case of SEO and the internet, it falls under the age old habit of buying multiple keyword-laden domains to try and push your rank.
Why exactly should you break that habit? Well…
The Perpetuated Myth of Multiple Domains
I don’t think there is any real way to tell when the trend of buying multiple domains and pointing them to one website began, but I can tell you research has been done to see whether this strategy is effective for boosting traffic to your website.
Unfortunately, the hard truth is…it isn’t effective in most cases.
Well, for starters purchasing multiple domains doesn’t do what people think it does. It doesn’t increase traffic to your website, and that’s because of how Google works.
A user at the Webmasters Stack Exchange describes this concisely in a post to another user who was asking if it was a good idea to buy a domain based on popular keywords, then redirect that domain to his primary website. This was the answer:
“The redirect will effectively tell Google that URL no longer exists and has moved to your new URL. Plus since the new domain also won’t have any links pointing to it it won’t transfer any link love over either. The only positive it will have is you can use it as a shorter and more recognizable domain name which is good for users.
And just having the keywords in the domain does not automatically rank you #1 (or even well at all) just because it matches the search term. The domain name is just one of many factors affecting how a page is ranked. It’s very, very common to see pages with the exact domain of a search term not rank #1 simply because other pages have much better content.”
So why does this myth persist?
The reasons are endless, but one of the primary ones seems to be that people are afraid a competitor will buy a domain with their business name in it and try all kinds of nefarious things to either hinder traffic to their website or hurt their SEO.
Fortunately, this will not work.
Ranking in Google is built upon having good content, not the domain. Google also wants to avoid giving people an easy advantage, which would be completely possible if they allowed businesses to increase their traffic by simply buying and redirecting a number of domains.
the advantage to multiple domains
I mentioned in the beginning that purchasing domains is ineffective towards SEO in “most cases.” There are several instances where they can be considered useful.
One example is if you want a shorter URL for your website. Long domains names tend to be more difficult to remember for obvious reasons, but if you don’t want to lose the value of an established URL by shortening it, you can purchase a shorter URL and use a 301 redirect to funnel traffic through to that old URL and your website.
Other than that, there really is no advantages, though there is no harm either — so if you want to take the time to keep the dozen URLs you purchased pointed to your main website, you can do so without it actually affecting your SEO.
What do you guys think? Have you ever had any positive or negative experiences with multiple domains affecting your sites SEO?