Many business owners understandably take a hands-on approach with their online marketing and SEO tactics. When it comes to a local business website, however not everything you’ve heard are indeed best practices.
Often, SEO marketing techniques are misunderstood. One of these often misguided efforts is the practice of creating multiple websites under one business, or hoarding related domain names, which are then redirected to the main site.
Often when speaking to clients, they inform me that they:
a) Already have another website, but want to have more than one.
b) They bought several additional keyword-based domain names that are set to redirect to their main site.
Although the right intentions are there, in truth, these efforts may end up hurting your online presence more than helping.
This scenario is more common than you’d expect, with many local business owners time and time again falling into a false belief; “If I have more online properties, more is better, and if I have more assets to leverage, it will strengthen the main website, and thus, create more rankings and more visibility.”
Before diving into a potential headache of what might be counterproductive online marketing tactics, let’s look at a few reasons why having multiple websites for your local business is a bad idea:
1. Time & Effort
Most business owners are already too busy running their business and don’t have all the time necessary to allocate to building and maintaining one website, let alone two or more. And more often than not, they don’t have the technical knowhow or a webmaster or SEO expert on hand to help them out.
However, when it comes ranking successfully in the local SEO game, your website actually requires a good amount of unique content, quality backlinks, and both technical and non-technical SEO. Unless you’re fully prepared to carry out the maintenance, SEO, link building and more content for both sites, I wouldn’t recommend this approach. Instead, I would recommend focusing on your business first, and keeping time spent on online assets to a minimum, managing only one website, and perhaps even hiring a professional to help manage it for you.
2. Duplicate Content
In the online world duplicate content can be quite a concern. Not only for content targeting your business brand name and contact details, but also for the targeted keywords you will be optimizing your website for.
Search engines like Google will see two sites with similar or duplicate content, will pick one of the sites (more often the older more authoritative site with a history of backlinks) and pay less attention to the 2nd one.
On the other hand, there are particular cases where the secondary site accidentally steals the ranking spotlight and takes away visibility and value from the original site. It may be a constant tug-of-war on which website Google should rank higher.
3. Search Engine Rankings
Let’s assume you find the time and resources to build a second site, create unique non-duplicate content, implement proper SEO, and build quality backlinks.
When you have multiple websites targeting the same industry, geography, and keywords, you will essentially end up competing against yourself, especially if you have the same business name, address and contact info.
Search engines such as Google frown upon businesses having slightly different names but essentially the same service, address, and contact info. And when these similar differences start popping up throughout the internet, both the inconsistencies in business contact info as well as duplicated info on multiple business sites can and will most likely negatively impact your rankings.
Also, in terms of link building per address and local citations, most business listing websites only allow one unique business to be listed. Therefore, trying to build inbound links to multiple websites ultimately ends up limiting you to listing one website or another, strengthening one, while weakening another.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to point all links to one site and receive 100% ‘link juice’ (the authority passed to a site via links from external or internal sources), as opposed to only getting 50%, 25% each?
4. Customer Confusion
Having multiple websites under one business may confuse visitors as they are not sure which of the many websites is the “official” website. This can be a major factor in converting visitors to customers due to the potential loss of trust and possible business. People searching online may not have a high level of patience for making this determination.
5. Are there any Exceptions?
When it comes to local businesses you generally don’t want to have more than one website, but there are a few exceptions to this rule:
– The business services are so different that service segmentation makes sense.
– It is an international business where it might makes sense to have both a .com version as well as a .ca in order to better cater to each demographic.
– Your business is not a local business, but rather an online business such as a blog.
– You actually do have two separate businesses, each with an unique name, address, and contact details.
A Better Approach
First off, don’t buy industry/geography related domains for the sake of creating multiple sites or redirecting the domains to your main site.
If you’ve already purchased these additional domain names, then sure, you could use domain redirection (‘301 redirects’) to the main site. However, this won’t provide much SEO value unless the site has a previous history with preexisting external links pointed to your site. And in most cases your domain is relatively new, so this tactic will be providing no SEO value.
Instead of building multiple sites, and all the work that goes into it, focus your energy, time and resources into a single online entity. Build one main website and build it great.
When you start trying to optimize and leverage more than one entity you begin to spread your efforts too thin. Instead of spending a ton of time, energy, and resources to build a few alright websites that have a bit of authority – why not use that same, if not less, effort to build one high quality and highly authoritative website that will have a much better chance at ranking than the smaller counterparts.
Less stress, fewer headaches, and less work, yet an end result being a higher authority website, with more likelihood to be creating good business results for you.
Want more SEO insights? OutReach Media is a Toronto agency offering professional digital marketing solutions including professional SEO services and and more. Get in touch with us today to consult our team!