Your domain says a lot about you. It’s your address on the internet, the place people go to find you, and a name intrinsically associated with your brand.
But is one domain name enough? It’s easy to overlook once your website is up and running but having multiple domains pointing to one website offers a number of clear advantages over have simply a single address.
Lock down your brand with multiple domain names
First and foremost, you’ll want to secure your brand. If you’re a UK-based business with a local focus, it makes perfect sense that a .co.uk domain would be your first choice. But you may still want to present your company on a global stage, and for that, a .com address points to a domain that people can recognise and trust worldwide.
It’s not just about prestige, though. Think about it this way: if you don’t register your company name with .com, who will? The unfortunate reality is that fraudsters are always looking for ways to exploit legitimate businesses.
In one of our previous articles, we discussed the issues associated with typosquatting; the practice of registering a domain to deny it from other parties. The squatters’ end-goals can vary. Sometimes they simply want to sell the domain at a grossly inflated price; other times, the domain squatting forms part of a more complex scam.
URL hijacking, or “brandjacking”, is a more advanced form of typosquatting. With brandjacking, the squatters register an existing business name with a different domain extension, or perhaps with a slightly different spelling, to fool users into divulging valuable information that can be exploited in subsequent cybercrimes.
In this context, it becomes essential to seek multiple registration of domains for your brand name, even having multiple domain names with slight variations and misspellings. This way, you stay 100% in control of how your brand is perceived and will hopefully prevent anyone else from damaging your reputation through malicious activity.
Multiple domain hosting pulls in type-in traffic
“Type-in traffic” refers to all those users who simply type an address into the URL bar; no search engines, no bookmarks, just a flurry of not always totally coordinated typing.
From typos and misremembered brand names to generic descriptions in the vague hope of a website actually existing, type-in traffic comes from diverse sources and very much encourages the use of multiple domain names.
Maybe a user doesn’t remember your company name, but they do remember a specific product or service you offer. Or maybe they just assume every product will have its own URL. In these circumstances, it’s vital to have the multiple domains for one site in place to hoover up all that type-in traffic.
Ensuring you catch type-in traffic will also help protect you from the typosquatting threats mentioned previously. Google, for example, owns gogle.com and googel.com, and here at Fasthosts, we have fastgosts.co.uk and fasthost.co.uk. You should look to secure all the likely variations of your website by having multiple domain names.
And don't worry if you built your website using free software such as WordPress. Multiple domains usage is now a very common feature provided with WordPress and other similar website building services.
Multiple domain names, SEO, and 301 redirects
At this point, you might be wondering if the multiple registration of domains helps improve SEO? Unfortunately, the short answer is: probably not, or at least not directly.
Of course, having multiple domains pointing to one website usually means more ways for users to find you, and hopefully more traffic. So in the long term, this should help boost your SEO, even if having multiple domains pointing to one website isn’t a direct ranking factor.
Search engines have long since gotten wise to that old SEO tactic of bulk-buying keyword-stuffed domains for a single site. Doing that today could actually end up harming your SEO, since Google punishes sites featuring duplicate content.
This brings us to perhaps a more pressing question: can multiple domain hosting hurt your SEO in any way? Well, the good news is that having multiple domain names shouldn’t damage the SEO ranking of your site, provided they’re set up in a way that meets a search engine’s approval.
301 redirects, on the other hand, are the way to go when linking additional domains to your site. By having one certificate for multiple domains and forwarding everything else via 301 redirects, you ensure that Google only sees one website rather than multiple copies, so you won’t be penalised for duplicate content.
301 redirects also have the advantage of passing the vast majority of a domain’s existing SEO ranking power, or “link equity”, to the site it forwards to. So, in cases where you have existing domains with previously accrued SEO value, there absolutely is a benefit in linking those URLs to your main site. Just remember to do it with 301 redirects.
Multiple domain names in the UK: is a .uk reserved for you?
As the established standard for British businesses, a .co.uk domain is a very popular choice throughout the country. But with the launch of the .uk domain, there’s now a new alternative. Short and simple, .uk is ideal for giving your site a global, fresh feel; and if you already have a UK domain, you could have a .uk specially reserved for you.
The UK family of domains includes .co.uk, .me.uk, and .org.uk. And now, .uk domains have been reserved for owners of equivalent UK web addresses. So why not register a .uk and link it to your existing .co.uk site? Until 10th June 2019, you’ll be the first in line.
Are you thinking about expanding your domain portfolio? When it comes to multiple registration of domains, choosing the right registrar makes a big difference. At Fasthosts, we make it easy to register domains and manage large numbers of them via our convenient and user-friendly control panel.
Alongside great prices, we provide comprehensive customer support for all your domain, email, and web hosting queries. Contact us for more details on how we can help or head over to the Fasthosts blog for more web hosting advice and guides.