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Stuffing Keywords into Multiple Domain Names: Why Advice Like This Shows You Which SEO Agencies to Avoid

23 September, 2011

Everyone seems to be jumping on the SEO bandwagon right now. Late adopters with less experience have seen a quick buck to be made and SEO agencies are popping up all over. But how do you tell the difference between SEO analysts who have a thorough, in-depth knowledge of SEO tactics and the experience to understand which are the right ones for you to use, and those who just know a few obvious tactics and are likely to make promises they can’t keep?

I speak to new clients all the time, and am astonished by how many have previously been given bad SEO advice. One of the most obvious signs of an inexperienced SEO agency is one who tells you to buy multiple domain names and stuff as many keywords into them as possible.

For example, a photographer could have the following:

multi domains

The list is endless.

So why is this bad advice?

Let’s rewind about 14 years. When SEO first emerged as an online marketing activity, search engines were not very wise. Keyword stuffing into multiple domain names was a great tactic, as the weight of the domain name was one of the biggest factors for optimising search results.

SEO analysts and business consultants were advising online businesses to buy multiple domains, create multiple sites, and focus each site on a particular keyword: Hey presto, high rankings! There was even software available to make the creation of multiple sites focussing on particular keywords a nice and easy task.

A lot has changed since then, and search engines today are wise to such tactics. Not only do they know who is doing it, they will aggressively pursue these sites and penalise them accordingly.

And why is this good news for me and for you?

  1. The fact that so many SEO companies are still recommending this tactic shows me that while there may be a lot of us about, many agencies are not offering very good advice. The good news for me is that there is less competition. The good news for you is that by getting clued up on SEO, you can spot the charlatans a mile off. Click here to learn the basics.
  2. It means that I have a very good chance of making a big difference to clients who are still using this tactic, as they are more-than-likely currently being penalised or are naturally lower in search results due to the number of satellite websites or multiple domains they have.

Here is my advice if you were considering setting up satellite domains on multiple keywords:

  • Don’t follow the bad advice of keyword stuffing domain names and creating satellite websites purely for SEO purposes. This tactic will lead to a multi-domain Google penalty and will simply dilute your entire presence online. Google sees these as doorway pages.
  • Focus on one domain and make it a great domain, keywords in the domain name are a very small factor these days, user ability, relevance, engagement, freshness are far bigger factors for ranking.
  • If you want to protect your brand or cover misspellings of your domain name, then buying multiple domains is absolutely fine as long as they all point (and take the user directly) to your main domain. For example, if you visit jonnyross.net you will be redirected using a permanent 301 redirect to jonnyross.com.
  • I only wish I had purchased http://www.johnnyross.com CHECK IT OUT!! Note the “h” in Johnny. I don’t have the “h”, so this would have protected my brand. (If the video doesn’t work when you get there, click “Car ads” on the left hand side and play it for fun!)

Let me know your experiences and thoughts on SEO advice, and multiple domain issues!

  • Helen Robinson says:

    I work as an in-house marketer, managing agency relationships, and I’ve often been told by different SEOs that their methods are better or more successful than their rivals. Who is right? And how valuable is ‘experience’ in such a fast paced and changeable environment?

  • jonnyross says:

    @helen thanks for the comment. I think this is a great question, the answer is that your SEO consultant has to be up-to-date with constanct changes.

    However I believe experience is vital, in fact i was involved in a site in 2007 and at the time a competitor of theirs was doing just this ( using the multiple domains and doorway page tactic).

    You can see the blog I wrote to google here, Google The Unfair Playground. This is what a good SEO consultant should be able to do, give examples of experience that are relevant to the topic.

  • Sarah Roberts says:

    I have heard this is a tactic employed by some major online retailers, such as Tesco. Are they not getting in trouble for using such tactics?

  • jonnyross says:

    @sarah, actually there is nothing wrong with multiple domains if done correctly. IF, and I put IF in capitals, you can quantify having a seperate domain for a seperate part of your business than fair enough and in fact google would prefer this. As tesco is traditionally a grocer it would make sense to have a seperate website for tesco finance lets say. But it would not make sense for a small local business to have multiple domain names purely for SEO purposes. So to reiterate if each domain can be unique, not just unique content, but a unique user experience, that is worthy of having a seperate site for then, yes go for it!

    Jonny

  • […] ← Stuffing Keywords into Multiple Domain Names: Why Advice Like This Shows You Which SEO Agenci… Ch-ch-ch-changes on Facebook and More to Come! [Video] […]

  • […] Part 1: Stuffing Keywords into multiple domain names – why advice like this shows you which SE… […]

  • […] can see related posts of mine on this topic Stuffed keywords Part 1 and Stuffed Keywords Part […]

  • Kevin Monell says:

    I have a client that is hiring yellow pages to create duplicate keyword domains. I tried to explain and found this very helpful to pass over to her. Thanks

    1. Helen Robinson says:

      I work as an in-house marketer, managing agency relationships, and I’ve often been told by different SEOs that their methods are better or more successful than their rivals. Who is right? And how valuable is ‘experience’ in such a fast paced and changeable environment?

    2. jonnyross says:

      @helen thanks for the comment. I think this is a great question, the answer is that your SEO consultant has to be up-to-date with constanct changes.

      However I believe experience is vital, in fact i was involved in a site in 2007 and at the time a competitor of theirs was doing just this ( using the multiple domains and doorway page tactic).

      You can see the blog I wrote to google here, Google The Unfair Playground. This is what a good SEO consultant should be able to do, give examples of experience that are relevant to the topic.

    3. Sarah Roberts says:

      I have heard this is a tactic employed by some major online retailers, such as Tesco. Are they not getting in trouble for using such tactics?

    4. jonnyross says:

      @sarah, actually there is nothing wrong with multiple domains if done correctly. IF, and I put IF in capitals, you can quantify having a seperate domain for a seperate part of your business than fair enough and in fact google would prefer this. As tesco is traditionally a grocer it would make sense to have a seperate website for tesco finance lets say. But it would not make sense for a small local business to have multiple domain names purely for SEO purposes. So to reiterate if each domain can be unique, not just unique content, but a unique user experience, that is worthy of having a seperate site for then, yes go for it!

      Jonny

    5. […] ← Stuffing Keywords into Multiple Domain Names: Why Advice Like This Shows You Which SEO Agenci… Ch-ch-ch-changes on Facebook and More to Come! [Video] […]

    6. […] Part 1: Stuffing Keywords into multiple domain names – why advice like this shows you which SE… […]

    7. […] can see related posts of mine on this topic Stuffed keywords Part 1 and Stuffed Keywords Part […]

    8. Kevin Monell says:

      I have a client that is hiring yellow pages to create duplicate keyword domains. I tried to explain and found this very helpful to pass over to her. Thanks

      1. jonnyross says:

        Kevin,

        Glad it helped and thanks for commenting! appreciate it!

        Jonny

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