The Problem with Multiple Websites and Duplicate Content

There are many valid reasons for registering multiple domain names for a company. You may want to protect your http@company name, or there’s just some other domains that you would like to have. But when it comes down to marketing your website. Its always best to focus your efforts into one main url. That being said, there are legitimate reasons for a business to have multiple websites.

The search engines do not want to see multiple sites with similar or the duplicate content. If you have two websites mirroring each other, this can cause duplicate content problems and generally the search engines will choose one page over the other as more important, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll pick the page that you feel is more important. It is quite easy for search engines and directory editors to spot duplicate content/domains when submitting to DMOZ or other major directories. It will only be a matter of time before the sites are discovered, so you would be better focusing all your energy into one domain rather than having it split up amongst several sites.

When Can you have Multiple Websites/Urls?

If you have diverse products and/or services, then you will be able to effectively and legitimately market two or more urls. Each site must have unique content and focus that main product on that one url. In this case, you would not have the same product and/or service being offered on each site. If you are a clothing company and you want to separate men’s and women’s clothing into different urls, then this should be ok. If you are a software company, and you want to have each software title on a separate url, then this is also acceptable. What you do want to avoid with multiple websites, is having the exact same content on each website. Taking the exact same content, and uploading it onto many different urls, will not really achieve the goal you want.

But other Businesses are doing it

You may have noticed online other companies/businesses that are engaging in multiple websites and unsafe linking practices. Just because it is working for them now, does not mean that it will in the long run. Too many times I have seen one of the websites loose its rankings, and sometimes both if they are going for spammy links. If you are breaking Google’s Website Commandments, there is a change that you could get caught, and that time, money and effort into those site(s) are gone down the drain and you have to start again.

Invest Your Time & Money Wisely!

If you have multiple websites aimed for the same business, this is essentially spreading your time/money and efforts over these websites, when you can be building up one site investing your time and money more wisely. For example, with link building alone, if you have 10 sites that you are marketing with the same products/services, you could have 1000 quality links spread out over 10 sites, or have your one main website with these links. This would help you in the long run with your business keeping the focus to one site. This will help you be able to target the most competitive phrases in your industry that provides the most searches. Also with building up one main site, this helps your main website be that much more stable rather than having a SEO campaign spread out amongst multiple sites.

What to do with the other domain names purchased

If you happened to purchase other domain names, good news you’re not out of luck. What you can do is place a 301 redirect on the other urls redirecting them to your main site. The code “301″ redirect is interpreted as “moved permanently” by the search engines.

Chances are you have seen at one time or another duplicate sites in the search engines. It is just a matter of time before the search engines take out one or both of the urls is taken out. In the long run, it just adds more work for the company and sets them back further to making their online marketing campaign a success.

So if you have multiple urls registered, avoid using mirrored websites for marketing your website. Instead pick one domain, and use a 301 redirect on the other urls. This ensures that someone typing in one of the urls you registered will still find your site.

Wondering what other SEO Marketers have to say on this subject? An additional resource is provided below.

http://www.searchengineguide.com/jill-whalen/additional-domains-for-extra-search-engine-rankings.php