Should I have Mutiple Domains Names

A client comes to me and says “I run a furniture business here on the Irish border. I’m actually thinking of registering a .ie, .uk and the .com, so that way I’ve covered every market, every search engine (google.ie, google.co.uk and google.com) and to save work load I’ll keep the content same on all sites.”

“The more domains I have the more visibility in the search engines I’ll have, and the better it’ll be for my business surely. It’s a win win, happy days.” WRONG!

Unfortunately some people still believe this and are unaware of the dangers. Beware, this approach will create duplicate content issues. Google addresses this issue in it’s guidelines and it’s a no no even if it’s unintentional and you’re not trying to outwit Google.

Here’s the problem – with 3 sites indexed, the individual authority of each site will be lessened and they won’t rank as well as they could or should. Having 3 sites to build links for will split the potential power of the sites and take 3 times as long.

You might also find that Google chooses to index one ‘authority page’ from each of your sites with not every page from every site being listed, and your traffic will be shared between all 3 sites. This is a nightmare scenario and can take alot of time to resolve.

My advice would be to rather than have 3 separate domain names with the same duplicate content, either make sure each site has unique content on it targeted at the particular market place which is probably more work than is needed for small to medium sized businesses or go with the .com particularly if it’s a business that is searched on using regional qualifiers and build up a strong link profile from both Irish and UK sites making sure you include regional qualifiers in page titles and copy.

It would be interesting to here from other webmasters that have targetted both Google.ie and Google.co.uk and whether you’ve gone for a multiple domain name approach and your reasons for and against.



5 Responses to “Should I have Mutiple Domains Names”

  1. Paul AnthonyNo Gravatar Says:

    Michael,

    I came up against this problem before a few years back, with alot of users in the south using ESAT as there homepage.

    The programmers had defaulted the google box on esat’s homepage to Google.ie, meaning a large chunk of ROI traffic was getting pushed towards Google’s i.e. domain – that in combination with Google geo-targetting meant that we were missing some traffic opportunities in the south. With this being a big market for the company (based in the North) – we had to come up with some solution.

    My advice would be to register a .ie and chase different keywords, putting different content on it. For the client in question we linked heavily between the two domains, and ran quirky linkbaity (competitions etc) on the IE, to try and gain traction faster. Google Webmaster tools allows you to target each market for each domain, but this is something I personally feel Google needs to address. We achieved moderate success with this approach, and started to rank for phrases more on the .IE – works particularly well for geographic related phrases. Which you’ve mentioned.

    “Furniture in Monaghan” for example.

    Geo targetting from a user perspective should be optional, and the results set is the same unless you specify you want it to be GEO specific. It would mean sending someone a link to a Google result would be universally the same. Throw google’s approach to personal results, and there’s another spanner in the works.

    I can see what they are doing, but I don’t necessarily agree with it.

  2. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Paul,

    Was the original a .co.uk name?

  3. Paul AnthonyNo Gravatar Says:

    Sorry Michael, fired and forgot on this comment – no – it was a dotcom and an ie.

    BTW subscribe to comments plugin for WP is great. ;o)

  4. DennisNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi, I’m setting up a new site and I want to target the belfast area, are .ie names generally used in the north also, or would it go against me in terms of customers etc? Thanks

  5. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    Hello,

    If you’re targetting Belfast and up here then I’d go for the .co.uk name.
    When you use Google your customers assuming they’re from here will be redirected to Google.co.uk. Down South they’ll be redirected to Google.ie by default.

    .co.uk rather than .ie names are generally used for businesses here.

Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced web developer based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own web design company.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 923383 or use the contact form.

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