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Are multiple domains bad for SEO?

We build websites everyday, and most of our clients have multiple domains. Most get additional domains without even considering it’s impact on search engine optimization.

The truth is, having multiple domains can affect your website rankings on Google, but it really depends on how the domains are set up.

“Why would anyone have more than one domain?”

Well, there are many reasons that a multiple domains would be useful. At Zeal Media, we probably have 10 domains! We even have some keyword domains for sale.

Stop your competition

Some businesses will buy up a particular keyword domain to ensure that their competition doesn’t buy it. eg),,, etc… Though this is an acceptable practice, purchasing the brand domains of a competitor may not only be unethical, it may get you in trouble if it’s a trademark domain.

Protect your brand

Ensure your brand identity is protected by purchasing the other variations of your domain. Having a competitor buy your domain and redirect it to their website could be detrimental to your brand. eg),,,, etc…

A keyword domain

A domain that has keywords in it will rank higher than a domain without. In this case, your company name could be used for marketing, and then it could be redirected to the keyword domain. eg) could be a domain for marketing and would be the main domain.

An email domain

Some customers want a shorter, easy-to-remember domain for email. eg) main domain may be and the email domain may be

Years ago, people would use multiple domains and mirror their website. This used to give them an advantage on search rankings, because there were multiple sites listed. Some websites still do this, but often without their knowledge.

It wasn’t long before Google caught on. A few years back, Google introduced an algorithm to take care of duplicate content, penalizing websites that don’t comply with their standards. When there are multiple domains, the alias domains must be redirected to the main domain to properly comply.

Are there downsides to having multiple domains?

There aren’t really any downsides to owning multiple domains assuming they are set up correctly. You will have to purchase the domains and renew them annually, but other than that, the benefits outweigh the downsides.

How to check if your website is properly redirected

Simply type the name of an alias domain into your browser and hit enter. If the domain doesn’t redirect to your main domain, contact your web designer or web hosting company to fix it. It should be as easy as creating a 301 redirect entry in your .htaccess file.

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