Fear Addon Domains? Google’s Spokesman Speaks . . .
What’s your take on addon domains? We’ve been asked this question before.
Are Addon Domains Spam?
Does Google penalize for having several Addon domains to their main website. So if they are self-hosting and you saw 2, 5, or 10 web sites all coming from the same IP address would that be subject to penalty?
What are Addon Domains?
Well first off let’s talk about what Add on domains are, because a lot of people haven’t heard that term before. Suppose I have the site MattCutts.com, an Add on domain might be something that your web host would offer you where it’s basically related.
Maybe it’s all part of a package deal where you could get Matt.Cutts.com and typically an addon domain might have the connotation of being a separate site. So let’s talk through this a little bit.
Suppose I have MattCutts.com. Maybe I also wanted to register Matt-Cutts.com.
My personal advice would be, rather than developing those as separate sites, I would actually make Matt-Cutts.com do a redirect to MattCutts.com.
And the reason is that when you’ve got things that are really, really close, maybe only a – is different, or maybe Matt-Cutts.net, a lot of people expect that to really be the same site.
So if you’re doing an addon domain where you’re registering multiple domains, my advice would be twofold:
- Either first register domains that are really different; so they have different branding, different domain name, you can tell at a glance that they’re really different.
And then develop them as truly independent sites. All sorts of different templates, and layout functionality, that sort of thing,
- Or the other direction you can take is you can go ahead and buy the typos, or the common aliases, or the other things that you think someone might enter when they’re trying to type your domain name, and make that do a 301 redirect to your website.
Mat Cutts on Addon Domains
So this goes a little bit towards the idea of how many sites can I have before I start to look a little bit unusual or artificial or something like that?
And certainly we’ve seen plenty of sites where they might have two or three different domain names. Maybe one is targeted to men’s clothing, one is targeted to women’s clothing, one is related to children’s clothing; you can have all those linked and have them still be separate; and have them be branded a little bit differently; and not have that seem too artificial.
What is the Public Perception?
But think about what if a competitor was looking at your website and they saw a whole ton of links down in the footer down at the bottom, and it really was not that much differentiation between them; same template, same branding. It’s just nothing but keyword stuff domain names.
That can look a little bit worse. so whenever the question comes in about Add-on domains, I would interpret that in a couple ways:
- First I’d say either make the domain names quite separate and develop them. And then as long as you have a very small set of domains it can still make sense to cross link them.
- Or make sure that with all the typos, hyphenated, different TLDs all that sort of stuff, just do a 301 redirect.
Google Often Re-directs
For example Google sometimes gets porn Google, or we go through domain registration where we go through arbitration and get domain names that people registered with Google in them, and Google will take those and just do a 301 redirect.
So that’s kind of a very comprehensive answer to your question. In that if you want to do domain names as sort of a package deal, I would either make them a little bit separate and develop them separately, or if they’re very similar go ahead and do a 301 redirect.
Both can make sense.
The one thing that I would avoid is making a ton of sites where they’re all auto-generated and they all look just a little bit spammy, because you’re not really putting any time or love or attention into individually developing those addon domains.