I don’t want to have to make a completely different website for the second domain, I would rather just redirect it to the main site. Is there a way to do this without the search engines penalizing me? A 301 redirect?
FWIW, it would only be 1 more domain, I am not going to buy up a bunch of them and redirect them all.
[FONT=verdana]Using a 301 re-direct won’t cause any penalties. On the contrary, it is the normal way of dealing with this situation - and it’s one that Google recommends. What’s more, if MyTownElectric.com managed to attact quality links in its own right, then MyCompany.com would get the benefit of those links.
Thank you for your reply. In the thread you linked to, you said “I have seen no evidence that this technique works, and frankly can’t see why it would, but I’ve been wrong before.”. I think (and I am very unsure since I’m a newb to this) that having MyTownElectrician.com would help since people type that directly into Google. If you live in Miami and you are looking for an electrician, you would probably type “miami electrician” into Google. So I would assume that MiamiElectrician.com would rank high for that query.
[FONT=verdana]I’ve just read the thread that TechnoBear mentioned, so I ought to clarify my reply.
My main point was that re-directing a URL in this way won’t invoke a penalty. But that doesn’t mean that it will give you a significant SEO advantage. On the other hand, it might give you an advantage in marketing terms. If a potential visitor sees the name of the town in the URL, they might be more inclined to visit the site, knowing that it’s local. It means that you could advertise the local version of the URL in local media, without confusing anyone who has seen the more generic version elsewhere.
I wouldn’t advise doing this on a large scale. But, MechElec, you specifically said that you would only do it with a single domain. I don’t know if there is a threshold above which it would look suspicious, but, if there is, my guess is that would be quite high.
As I understand it (and I’m no expert here, either, or I wouldn’t have needed to ask ;)), if somebody types MiamiElectrician.com into the address bar, it will redirect to YourMainSite.com, and you’ve benefitted from the traffic. If they type MiamiElectrician into Google, it won’t return MiamiElectrician.com, because that domain has no content on it and the 301 redirect tells Google that all traffic for that domain is to be permanently redirected to YourMainSite.com. At best, I suppose Google might regard it as a sort-of extra incoming link for that text for YourMainSite.com, but the benefit is going to be marginal.
Maybe that’s the reason why people haven’t bought up all the “TownElectrician.com” domains? Same with plumping and everything else? It’s pretty inexpensive and easy to do compared to other SEO, so there has to be a reason why everyone hasn’t done it.