If you have a successful website that attracts lots of consumers, why would you consider having more than one domain?
There can be many reasons for having multiple domains -some businesses do it for geographical or other segmentation purposes. Others launch new domains to focus on niche products that may otherwise get lost in the noise of a large website. For some, operating multiple domains is a good way to increase SERP presence.
Whatever your reason, managing multiple domains presents its own set of challenges. Perhaps chief amongst them is how to approach SEO.
Just like with anything else in marketing, when operating more than one domain, you want simple but effective tactics to optimize your SEO strategy to increase traffic.
Let’s have a look at some of the best ways to do this.
Why Multiple Domain SEO?
For many companies, multiple domains are about segmenting their customers and/or differentiating their brands.
However, the primary reason many organizations consider it is that it offers a path to acquiring more search engine real estate.
With multiple domains and a solid SEO approach, you can show up in more search results and thus have more clicks to your site.
Suppose you operate an online clothing business, for example. You decide to split your business into multiple domains (also known as microsites).
You could divide your site into categories, such as footwear, children’s wear, sportswear, and so on. If you operate office business phone systems, your categories could be products, solutions, pricing, resources, and so on.
With your brands separated on microsites, you have more opportunities to improve overall SERP rankings and see greater traffic.
One thing to note is that a multiple domain SEO strategy is not for everyone. If you’re a new company or have just started focusing on implementing SEO, then it’s not a recommended path due to the work needed: updating each site, creating unique and relevant content, and identifying individual SEO needs. You need to maintain a consistent approach across all sites you have.
Will Multiple Domain SEO Strategy Work?
When considering whether the multiple domain approach is the right choice for you, it’s important that your current SEO strategy for a single site is working. If that’s not the case and you find yourself with an unranked main domain or tough ranking for your priority keywords, don’t expand just yet! Get things right at home first before looking into additional web presence alternatives.
The second thing to consider is the amount of work and investment needed to do good SEO for multiple domains. This is not a “one size fits all” scenario. While you will likely have many common keywords in cross-domain strategy, you’ll also have many words or phrases unique to each domain. Operating multiple domains involves:
- More tech work, including setting sites up and maintaining them.
- More design and UX work.
- Increased content work to ensure each site offers relevant copy.
- Additional marketing efforts with tactics for each domain.
- More costs in areas such as SEO and building backlinks.
- More resources on social media and digital marketing.
- Potentially, more staff to cover all associated tasks.
- Changes to current marketing tactics, such as virtual telemarketing.
How to Do Multiple Domain SEO
1. Domain and Branding
The importance of branding is evident, and that importance extends to any microsites you want to launch. Depending on your approach and business goals, you may want to have the domains of your microsites instantly identifiable as branches of your main brand or site.
To continue the the previous example of a clothing firm, the following may apply:
For example, your original domain may be:
You then create microsites (while retaining the original domain), such as:
And as many segmented microsites as you want.
As well as choosing names for your microsites, you may want to use other identifiable aspects of your brand, such as logos, colors, design aspects, etc.
That said, you may want to introduce unique aspects to each microsite, such as a different color logo for each of your domains (to use a cliché, pink for female clothing, blue for male).
Once you have come up with domain name ideas, you can see if they (or close alternatives) are available to buy. You might not be planning on moving to multiple domains at this point. Still, it makes good business sense to obtain potential domains at an early stage as many opportunists will buy up domain names closely linked to existing brands for the sake of selling them for profit.
2. Content Is King
Once you’ve established what microsites you will use, you need a solid content strategy for each. The content on any microsite is just as important as that on your main site. This is also an area where your SEO strategy is going to be crucial. Any content should be optimized with the proper keywords that are relevant to this microsite.
Back to our online clothing store example, your footwear microsite will have its own list of SEO keywords. While you may have some common keywords such as “fashion,” you’ll also have a list of specific keywords, such as “boots” or “sandals.” Create lists of site-specific keywords (and update them regularly) for your content creation tactics.
As always, avoid keyword stuffing (as it can incur penalties from search engines). Content is not only about ranking high in SERPs, it’s about providing engaging and relevant information to the customers who visit your site. A page of gobbledygook stuffed full of keywords will just lead to high bounce rates and lost clients.
While you will be hoping for a good level of traffic from search engines, don’t forget existing customers and those visiting your main domain or other platforms. This can also include any partners if you’re involved in PRM marketing.
Create links and mentions that introduce and highlight your new microsites and help people find them and understand what they are about. Depending on how many you’re launching at once, you can put the new sites in the headers or footers on each page of your main domain.
If you’re planning to completely segment parts of your brand, consider having a “transition period.” For example, if you have decided only to sell footwear on your http://www.B&Bfootwear.com microsite and plan to no longer sell it on your main site, then have a few weeks or so where visitors to the main site see that you’re branching this part of your business off.
With many businesses now using chatbots for marketing, it’s also worth thinking about including new microsites in your chatbot content.
4. Social Media
Many people will likely engage with your brand via social media, and this can significantly contribute to your SEO results and strategy. If you split off your main brand into microsites, then you should do the same on social media, and create individual presences on any platforms you use, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Be sure to make them distinct and identifiable as being linked to your new microsites. That can mean not including social media links for any new sites on your original domain. Make it very clear to customers what every social media presence represents.
You may also want to establish separate emails and contact details for each microsite, and a free email with custom domain option may be useful here.
5. SEO Optimization
As mentioned, your multiple domain SEO is not one size fits all. You need to approach each microsite as a separate entity and construct individual lists of specific keywords.
That means researching the search terms you need (you may already have a list if you are branching products off from your main domain), looking at what works for competitors, and testing how certain words work.
As highlighted in the content section, merging that list with your content strategy is the key to good SERP results. That involves all your content, from simple product descriptions to any blog pieces you produce.
It’s also worth remembering that SEO, whether it’s for general SEO or local SEO, is not static. You should regularly monitor results and make changes when needed.
When done right, SEO can be the key to online success. Your strategies can cover anything from SEO for affiliate marketing to multiple domain SEO. Ensuring you have a relevant and efficient approach for each microsite you launch is the first step to success.
It’s always worth looking at solutions that can help with your marketing if you move to multiple domains, especially if you’re operating affiliate marketing programs. There are also solutions that can make your SEO optimization easier, and it may be worth investigating them too.