Hosting multiple websites on different domains can be a great strategy or a poor strategy for SEO.
Most of the reasons for having multiple sites are more related to business decisions or best practices, such as grouping products into one customer group or splitting them across sites to help users find content as quickly as possible.
However, when discussing multiple sites, a common question, "Is it good or bad for SEO?"
Unfortunately (and arguably luckily, depending on how you look at it), there is no right answer to this question. There are pros and cons to having multiple sites and having a protective site to protect site content.
To make this easier to understand, let's explore the strengths and weaknesses of SEO and look at best practices for multiple sites. Matching Searcher Intent
Using the Advantages
of Multiple Sites Multiple sites are beneficial to users, especially companies with different brands or offering different products/services.
If you have a group of companies, each with a different Latest Mailing Database website, then it most likely makes sense to have a separate domain name for each company/brand. However, the most useless thing to do is to release each company's individual services or products into different domains.
Shutterfly is an excellent company with multiple websites, ideal for both users and SEOs.
Shutterfly breaks down each company into different domains and links them together. This allows users to easily navigate each website, and if a company decides to use one website or domain for all brands, there won't be so many options.
You also want to make sure that each site is optimized not only for search engines, but also for users. When someone searches, if they come to a clear and concise site, that solves the searcher intent. However, if the site is not optimized for searcher intent, then they will go to other sites, which increases the site's bounce rate and may affect the site's ranking.
Get more Google ad placements
There are other benefits besides giving searchers a clearer product/service match. A site or multiple sites with less competition can also help you take up more Google ad placement with other sites or domains that target similar keyword phrases for different unique content.
A good example would be if you have a combination of sites/brands targeting similar keyword phrases, but you offer different services to meet searcher intent. It makes more sense to separate them into different websites than to make a protective brand with a service dropdown or something like that.
Unless there is no competition in the market, Google is more likely to place two different domains in the SERPs for a keyword phrase than to place two URLs from the same domain in the SERP for one keyword phrase.
Don't worry if you're in a more competitive market - as long as you have strong backlinks to all your sites, you can still maintain a competitive edge.
Let's go back to Shutterfly - they also have a company called Wedding Paper Divas. The two companies offer different products, but they do some business, such as "wedding invitations."
If you search for that keyword phrase, you can see it on the Shutterfly and Wedding Paper Divass internal category pages, where the keyword phrase is listed (Shutterfly in position 3 and Wedding Paper Divas in position 4.)
Shutterfly offers wedding invitations because it More product/service focused, so merging WeddingPaper Divas into Shutterfly domain is inappropriate. That way, they get access to Google's ad slots.
This is a great example of capturing more Google ad placements with two different brands owning different domains. Even for a very competitive keyword (expected 301,000 monthly searches), Shutterfly was able to rank in the top 10, and according to Ahrefs, their link profile scored 1,413 for Shutterfly and 57,934 for Wedding Paper Divas.
Without such a strong link profile, they wouldn't be able to rank so high for such a competitive keyword.
Duplicate content (sometimes helpful)
is less common, but many combinations of multiple sites (such as online retailers) retail products and product categories on multiple sites. If you combine all content into one website - products and product categories (same for each domain name), it creates the problem of duplication of content. You need to integrate these products or product categories, which can be difficult and time-sensitive.
Let's talk about Shutterfly's decision to merge the main website with Wedding Paper Divas. They want to create a protective website, but the products and product categories are basically the same. These intersecting products and product categories will be duplicated on the Wedding Paper Divas, resulting in duplication of content throughout the site.
This is why multiple websites sometimes help - you can sell the same product on different domains without duplication of content on the same domain.
Disadvantages of Using Multiple Websites
Splitting Link Authority
The biggest disadvantage of having multiple websites is link authority during splits. Competition for highly searched keyword phrases by a competitive site can be detrimental.
Let’s talk about the previous example of wedding invitations, Shutterfly and Wedding Paper Divas didn’t sit well in the highly competitive keyword phrases. Let's say they're in the middle of the second or third page, and the link profile is consistent with their competitors on the second and third pages.
In theory, a good strategy would combine these pages, combine them into one strong link profile with the link authority of both sites - hopefully - and push to the first page.
When evaluating multiple sites, you also need to be sure to evaluate backlink profiles, as profiles with backlink profiles and target keyword phrases often rank high in Google rankings.
Reduce brand effect
It's not just links and content that affect Google rankings these days. Popular brands win better "optimized" sites on Google, like big box retailers. I think Google understands website popularity through usability signals and uses it more than ever.
If multiple websites are used, brand filing must also be done, social media sites implemented for each website, etc. This can split assets into many different brand and site attributes; therefore, theoretically less effective.
Obviously, there are exceptions to this, especially companies that leverage multiple brands to make each brand stronger. But generally speaking, differentiating a brand makes it more difficult. The smaller the brand you have, the less likely it is to connect with each other, the less traffic you get, and the less chance you have of getting a higher ranking factor in the Google algorithm.
for Multiple Sites Now that we've discussed the advantages and disadvantages of multiple sites, and you have a good idea of where to go, let's discuss some best practices for using multiple sites, which are The direction everyone wants to go.
1. Combine sites when it makes sense
If you have multiple sites selling the same product, but none of them rank as well as you want, it may be a good strategy for SEO to increase the link profile and combine these sites. One "super" link profile is better than five "below average" link profiles. The potential increase in keyword rankings versus multiple website revenue must be evaluated.
Sometimes merging websites is an easy business decision because it means less maintenance and marketing and less hassle. Plus, the combined site's lost revenue won't outweigh the revenue from the SEO benefits, since it has a strong link. Before merging a site or separating a site and brand (if they are currently a domain name), the strengths and weaknesses of each site must be weighed.