Should I register multiple domains for my website?

It’s a question asked to me by my clients on a regular basis, and the answer is one that’s changed quite a bit as Google’s complex algorithms have evolved. No longer can you fool Google with duplicate content, domain parking or forwarding, or a website that’s just brimming with one way links to your main site – Google knows, and it’s only going to get much smarter.

Domain names don’t carry that much weight today if many SEO experts are to be believed, but I don’t think that’s entirely true. What I’ve found from almost 20 years in the industry is that while the weight carried by a domain name has changed somewhat, but for a new website having the correct web address can be a powerful push in the right direction and almost an instant leg-up. Of course, finding that “right” domain is getting harder and harder by the day, but it’s still possible with a little luck or creativity.

So why do I still believe of the importance of the domain name when many now disagree? Well, I’ll give you a couple of reasons.

Firstly, my own personal search engine presence is carefully optimised for a few keywords (web programmer and web programming to name but two), and to be on page one out of 300 million pages is certainly no mean feat I’m sure you’d agree. But I am. And did I use domain names to get me there? Well, that’s hard to say unequivocally, but having the two domain names with those keywords certainly seemed to help get my site off the ground in the early days. I had an instance presence and built upon it. Today I still use those domains, purely as developmental domains for my clients, but Google has such an in depth understanding of the web these days, it’s even looking at which domains are in the same server cluster, so they still have a little value.

Even so, there’s a bigger reason to own more then one domain. Whatever the positive SEO value of owning domain names that relate to your brand name or target key phrases, avoiding the negative shortfall caused by others is far more important. Do you really want your brand name associated with something that reflects badly on your business? Of course not. And ask yourself if you’d like someone else to purchase your target domain name and then throw millions at marketing it. Just where do you think Google is going to rank you in comparison? Above them? Not likely.

Whatever your opinion on domain names and their value, I’d love to hear it. Feel free to have your say below or drop by to my Facebook page and leave a comment.