As you know by looking at Google Analytics reports for your websites, there are essentially four ways for potential customers to find your company on the internet:
- Direct Traffic – Someone typing in your direct web domain name or url into their browser
- Referral Traffic – Other sites linking to your site
- Search Traffic – Someone finding you via typing a series of search terms
- Campaigns – Online Ad Campaigns
Each week this month, I’ll write on each of these sources starting with direct traffic.
Many companies purchase additional domains or URL’s with the thought that this would help in directing traffic to their company website. After all, domain names are cheap and every little bit helps in the search game – right? As with many things on the web, it is not quite that simple. Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to multiple domain names:
- Don’t be a Copycat: Google (and other search engines) are smart enough to notice duplicate content so if your other domain names are simply copies of your main website you are actually diluting your search power.
- Do Consider Bad Spellers: It is a good idea to purchase common misspellings or mis-typing variations of your website name.
- Do Protect Your Brand: You should buy all common variations of your brand name (.biz, .net, etc) to guard against future competitors purchasing these domains and creating confusion. If your name and the brand names of your main products are strongly associated with your company/brand you should also purchase those URLs as protection.
- Do Consider International variations: If your customers hail from other countries, make sure you have the country variations of your URL (.uk, .ca, etc.) as well as any common misspellings that may occur in those regions.
- Do Redirect: You must install a “301 redirect” which points that domain to your main website address. Otherwise your address will just come up as an advertising page for Godaddy (or wherever you purchased that url).
- Don’t Bother with Keyword Rich Domains: Remember that someone needs to directly type the URL in the search bar in order to have any benefits. Just owning the domain with a redirect does not earn you any “Google love” since the domain is just a pointer with no content. For example, I have one colleague who introduced herself as Your CFO on the Go. Everyone started calling her by that name so she purchased the URL to redirect to her company site (and used that same language on her main company site). However, purchasing additional URLs like CFOforHire, is unlikely to help at all, since no one will be typing that term in the browser bar. If in doubt, you can purchase and then observe your analytics reports on traffic sources.
Do you use multiple domain names? What has been your experience? Please share in the Comments section below.