On many occasions I have been in conversations with business owners about alternative domain names to the main domain that their website uses. They say that other names are “Good for SEO” or that they are “stopping my competition buying them”.
Are there reasons to buy other domain names or is it just a waste of time and more importantly money?
Top Level Domains
Back in the “old days” there were a limited number of Top Level Domain (TLD’s). The obvious ones were: .com .co.uk .net .org
Then along came the likes of .biz .uk .co .me.uk
In recent years more descriptive names have become available:
.tech .website .domain .host .cloud .company .construction .computer .fashion (to name a very few)
There are now over 1000 TLDs that are available!
So if you’re a Financial Advisor in Derby and your website is currently, financialadvisorsderby.co.uk you need to purchase over a 1000 TLD’s to stop anyone else who is a financial advisor in Derby owning “financialadvisorsderby”
Of course, if you did a competitor could still simply add a couple of hyphens and essentially have the same name – financial-advisors-derby.co.uk
Multiple Domains for SEO
In this scenario the general idea is that domains with keywords that relate to your domain will be found in Google Searches for those keywords and hence drive visitors to your existing website.
So taking the example above again, your website is financialadvisorsderby.co.uk and you decide you want to attract visitors from Nottingham and purchase financialadvisorsnottingham.co.uk. Or you want to target a specific aspect of your business and you buy pensionadvicederby.co.uk.
You then set up a divert from these domains to the existing Derby domain and the way to do the divert is what is called a 301 direct. You tell Google that anyone landing on the new domains is immediately transferred to the Derby domain.
Here comes the catch!
In doing the 301 redirect you have effectively said to Google please ignore these domain, always transfer when anyone lands on them. In doing this you have told Google NOT to add the alternative domains to their index, so domains will never be found in searches.
I.e. this approach does not work!
The only way a domain can be found in the Google index is if it has content i.e. it has pages with words on them. Hence it would become a website in its own right.
Valid Reasons for Alterative Domains
There are some valid reasons for buying alternative domain names. These are:
Shorter name for email
Some company’s domain names, for good reason are quite long. E.g. the website domain is
energyperformanceconsultants.co.uk but they use epcltd.co.uk for email.
Another use for an alternative domain is to create a landing page for other online marketing activities such as Google AdWords. Here a page which is very relevant to the Ad campaign can be used as the target from the advert.
Another good use would be to purchase a simple domain name relating to your business to use at the bottom of a printed flyer. In this way you can track how many people who received the flyer then visited the website.
In conclusion the mass purchase of domain names is ineffective and a waste of money. However, the targeted purchase of a few domain names can be beneficial to your online marketing activities.