Many forwarding domains pointing to ONE site - good/bad?

Sure, a lot of people do just go to Google and type in the exact URL they want, but there are also a lot of smart people who understand how the address bar works and who do type addresses in directly. (But just because they’re smart doesn’t mean they’re immune from making typos!)

It’s a common mistake in website design (or any user interface design) to think “I would do it this way, therefore everybody will/should do it this way”. People do things in different ways. There are lots of ways people could arrive at your website. They could type the site name into the Google search page, they could type it into the Google toolbar, they could type it into the address bar of any browser set to auto search, they could select it from their bookmarks, they could use an online bookmarking service, they could call up the history and find it there. Don’t assume that everyone will do things the same way as you - and build your site so that any of those ways they might choose will give them a high chance of success.

Now aside the next scenarios (Stevie’s example of branding specific product with on domain, felgall’s typo domain, the fact you want to protect your business by cutting off domain alternatives to your competitors or by just registering different TLDs of your domain and redirecting them to your main site) I really do not see any real value of registering more domains and simply redirect them, especially if they are just new domains (never developed before, no traffic, no links…nadda).

So apart from the three good reasons that you’ve accepted, you can’t see any reasons … what do you want from us, cake?

A specific marketing campaign is a common reason why businesses register separate domains. For example, Honda ran a huge ad campaign in the UK with the tagline “Power of Dreams” … so if you go to powerofdreams.co.uk, it takes you to honda.co.uk. Now, that kind of marketing might not be appropriate for your business, but it works really well for others.

Popular websites often register multiple versions of the domain name - whether it’s catching typos, or catching different countries’ TLDs, or hyphenated vs run-on. Sure, if you’re looking to set up trapped.com, those probably aren’t big issues for you - but again, for some sites those alternative formations could equate to a significant amount of traffic.

You’re (presumably) in business to do better than the competition. Any advantage you can get over them will help you in that quest. Registering domain names that are specific to them is underhand and is likely to backfire on you, but registering generic word domain names that apply equally well to you and your competitors is sound business sense - wouldn’t you rather people trying those URLs found your site rather than the enemy’s? Again, this might be completely irrelevant for your site, but that doesn’t mean a lot of other people don’t find it a worthwhile tactic.

The main point that needs to be made given that this is the SEO forum is that obtaining additional domain names for your site serves no purpose with respect to SEO. All of the benefits that are to be gained from obtaining additional domain names have nothing whatever to do with search engines

The only effect that additional domains can have with respect to SEO will be negative ones such as having the search engine see the pages as duplicate content or splitting any value the pages have between the different addresses so that neither ranks as high as it could. The only way to avoid the negative SEO effects of additional domain names pointing at the same content is to use 301 redirects so that the search engines will ignore the extra domains.

And what all that does have to do with the question that the OP asked, which is how would that affect google and his rankings? Now yes, give me the cake.

If you 301 redirect all those domains then adding those domains will not affect Google.

If you do not 301 redirect then your Google ranking will be headed for the basement.

That is very true, but isn’t the OP saying that his client wants to buy NEW domains and just forward them? There is no SEO value to that as these new domains will not even have inbound links to help out the main domain (in seo terms).

Perhaps I have got it wrong what the OPs question is, but if the domains are completely new, no history, no inbound links then this will not affect his rankings in positive or negative way as long as the domains remain as the in the moment when he acquired them, i.e. without any inbound links.

Either way I am presuming the domains are new and not dropped ones with inbound links, as the OP never specified that.

We should have multiple domains only when we are projecting our different products and services differently in different campaigns. having small sites for different products with product name as domain would do a good job to capture the keyword based traffic as well we its easy to remember product name than a company name.

Otherwise I am of an opinion that redirecting different domains to one doesn’t help.

There is even less SEO value in pointing them to the same site without using redirects. Doing that would have at best no impact but is far more likely to have a large negative SEO impact.

The only way to get any positive SEO value from new domains is to set them up separately with their own content.

I said to myself I will leave this topic aside and stop responding, but I think Stevie could put a good use of this article by vanessa fox on micro-sites which has also a very good example of how a third site benefited from Hyndai running a similar campaign to what Stevie advises.

Enjoy it.

StevieD

I have been trying to find answers as to whether or not I will be ranked low in SE’s or affected negatively if I engage in this type of marketing. In your posts it sounds like it will not. It does make sense to have multiple domains that contain keywords on what you are trying to market, which then point back to one website. However I do have a couple of questions if you dont mind helping me to answer:

  1. Will it give me more exposure by submitting these domains to search engines / directories?
  2. Will these keyword rich domains be listed under their domain name in the search engines?
  3. Will the search engines at some point in the future realize all those domains are actually pointing to my main site and then penalize me?
  4. Do the different keyword rich domain names have to be hosted with different IP addresses? I read somewhere google may flag this marketing behavior if the domains doing the poiting are all hosted with the same IP address.

I would greatly appreciate your help on answering these question.

The way I see it, these alias domains are purely a marketing tool, giving people a more memorable URL to type in - they are not about search engines. Unless you manage to build a massive number of good links to the alias domain, search engines are only likely to return it on an exact match query - otherwise they will direct people to the actual URL that they will end up at anyway.

Search engines are unlikely to penalise you for it if you do it properly, but at the same time, it is unlikely to help you in search rankings.

Great discussion! I am in a situation where I need to set up multiple alias domains for marketing campaigns. They are all forwarded to the main company website brandname.com via GoDaddy domain forwarding interface.

I understand that the forwarded alias domains will not gain anything as far as SEO goes. My question is: will these forwarded domains hurt our main website’s rankings? If yes, it makes no sense, because anyone who wants to hurt his/her competitors’ rankings could just run wild and set up multiple domains all pointing to the competitors’ sites.

Thanks
Nata

Here is my understanding of the issue:

  • Multiple domains, if set up wrong, are seen as duplicate sites.
  • In the case of duplicate content, search engines tend to ignore all but the copy that appeared first.
  • Hence, the strategy you mentioned wouldn’t work as the competitor’s bogus domains would be ignored.