Multiple domain strategy for web optimization


Multiple domain strategy for web optimization

It’s likely you’re conversant in grocery chains Albertsons and Safeway, nevertheless it may come as a little bit of a surprise to seek out that each belong to the identical company – Albertsons. The external appearance as separate corporations with independent identities is a clever marketing trick. The pretend “competition” signifies that it doesn’t matter which of the 2 stores the client chooses: the profits flow to 1 and the identical company.

Along with the centralization of profits, the shared market dominance by the 2 brands is one other advantage. If one in all the 2 is affected by a serious scandal or attracts negative attention as a result of a botched promoting campaign, the opposite stays unaffected.

With a multiple domain strategy, corporations pursue the same approach online. As market dominance increases, risks are minimized, customers have a sense of alternative, and profits converge in a single place. Read on to learn the way exactly this works and the way you need to use multiple domains profitably.


In this text, we seek advice from the web optimization technical term “SERP”. The abbreviation stands for “Search Engine Results Page” which is the outcomes pages of a search on Google or one other search engine.

What’s the connection between content, domain, and serps?

The multiple domain strategy is an advanced approach to SEO (web optimization) using multiple domains. In multiple domain web optimization, as in all other web optimization, the maxim “content is king” applies. To grasp what makes a functioning multiple domain strategy, let’s first take a take a look at how content, domains, and serps are connected.

Normally, the contents of an internet site exist under a single domain. For instance, imagine an internet site with the domain “”. Its contents are frequently structured and might be accessed via corresponding URLs. The serps bots primarily crawl the URLs and index the content they contain.

A multi-domain setup results in a totally different evaluation by serps. A search engine considers all content under one domain as belonging together. In contrast, multiple domains imply a transparent separation of content. If you ought to profit from content distributed across multiple domains, you would like a classy multi-domain content strategy.

Structure web content with directories

The directories follow the domain and form a so-called “path”. In principle, these directories are much like those on your computer’s hard disk drive. Here is an example of the URL of the emblem of a sample site.

Structure web content with permalinks

Normally, a lot of the content on a bigger website doesn’t exist as individual files in directories. As an alternative, the content is generated by a dynamic process. For instance, it’s loaded from a database and visualized based on a template. Every bit of content is assigned a hard and fast URL – called a “permalink”. Listed below are a number of examples of possible permalink structures.

Structure content on the domain level with multi-domain setups

To this point, we’ve checked out ways to structure web content below a website. As you’ll be able to see, there are a lot of different approaches. In some cases, nonetheless, it is smart to distribute web content across multiple domains. This is known as a multi-domain setup.

As a rule, using a multi-domain setup increases the complexity of your entire system. The approach needs to be well considered before you commit; it’s a strategic decision. Above all, multi-domain web optimization should be considered from the very starting. So what are the motivations for using multiple domains?

Use customized technical infrastructure with multi-domain setup

A single domain is often served by a single server. In certain cases, chances are you’ll want to implement parts of an internet site with standalone systems. Imagine an organization website that accommodates a web-based store and blog along with the informative pages. If a single, central system is used for the three areas, bottlenecks quickly develop into apparent. It will be higher to administer the three areas individually. A viable approach could be the next, through which three domains are used:

  1. Static pages for the corporate website:
  2. WordPress for the blog:
  3. Magento for the net shop:

Each of those systems is perfectly adapted to the duty at hand and is individually retained. If you ought to optimize one in all the systems, the others should not affected. Moreover, the person systems might be hosted on different servers without issues. The executive advantage is offset by the necessity to operate a well-coordinated multi-domain web optimization. Otherwise, you risk issues with rating individual sites and the external presentation of the brand.

Split groups of content across sites with multi-domain setup

Some web sites contain vast amounts of content. If the relation between groups of content is weak, it is smart to prepare them independently. For instance, imagine a big, multi-lingual news website. Independent editors oversee the editions for various languages or countries. The editions don’t resemble one another in content or content structures. The next multi-domain setup could be suitable here:

  1. Homepage, routinely redirects users to the homepage of the suitable edition:
  2. German edition:
  3. English Edition:
  4. Analog for other languages

You could be conversant in using language-specific subdomains from Wikipedia. With Wikipedia articles, nonetheless, there’s a special feature with regard to multi-domain web optimization: an article in a single language should link to the identical article in all other language versions. To understand this, the hreflang attribute of the link element is used. This tells search engine bots that the content under the various domains represents one and the identical content in numerous languages.

Let’s take a look at a final example. With anyone can create their very own WordPress website. It’s hosted freed from charge and might be operated as a blog or website. Each added WordPress instance is created under its own subdomain, for instance “”. Here, subdomains from a web optimization standpoint are the best alternative; if these were sub-directories as an alternative, the hosted sites would compete in search results.

Implement a multiple domain strategy with multi-domain setup

On a technical level, the core of a multiple domain strategy consists of two components:

  1. Distribute targeted content to multiple sites under different domains.
  2. Link the content or arrange specific redirects between contents.

For serps, this creates a structure that extends beyond a single domain. If implemented accurately, this leads to decisive rating benefits. If the person sites contain similar keywords, they might dominate the primary page of the SERPs. By utilizing different keywords, specific niches might be occupied.

The critical point here is that only the content hosted via the domains counts for web optimization. Only indexed content is included within the rating of the domain. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a immediate web optimization advantage in redirecting multiple domains to 1 major domain. Nevertheless, it could possibly make sense to practice domain parking which prevents typosquatting and similar questionable practices.

Select the best domains to your multiple domain strategy

We are likely to use the terms “domain” and “subdomain” intuitively. Even just by the name, we will see a transparent connection between “” and “”. Nevertheless, from a search engine’s perspective, these are independent domains. The next table illustrates the terms of the domain hierarchy:

Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN)

Top-Level Domain (TLD)

Second-Level Domain (SLD)

Third-Level Domain (Subdomain)




For a multiple domain strategy, one may use different second level domains. The latter implies a transparent visual separation and thus has a special effect on our perception. Using subdomains or second level domains offers various benefits and downsides. Decisive are the specified effects for web optimization during domain selection. Here is an summary of possible solutions for 2 example sites:


With sub-director

With subdomain

With alternative TLD

With alternative SLD

Online shop for

English language version for



When does it make sense to pursue a mulitple domain strategy?

A multiple domain strategy is beneficial in the next cases:

  1. As a part of a long-term web optimization strategy when other web optimization techniques have been exhausted.
  2. To higher position a whole brand slightly than a single site.
  3. To attain keyword dominance on the primary page of SERPs.
  4. To expand into recent markets, either geographically or with recent products.

Multiple highly ranked leads to SERPs increase the probability that a user will click on one in all the outcomes. Moreover, a website network is more immune to changes in search engine algorithms. A possible penalty then only affects one in all the sites.

Two ways to make use of the multiple domain strategy

To make use of a multiple domain strategy, first we want several domains. But where do you get them from? In principle, there are 4 ways to acquire a website for multiple domain web optimization:

  1. Create a subdomain as a part of a major domain (Second-Level Domain, SLD)
  2. Register a recent domain
  3. Register expired SLD
  4. Purchase existing (registered) SLD

Each has benefits and downsides. We now have summarized these for you here:





Complete control; guaranteed availability; (visually subordinate to the major domain).

Domain starts from scratch; (visually subordinate to the major domain)

Register recent SLD

Complete control; use of recent TLD

Domain starts from scratch

Register expired SLD

Potentially useful backlinks

Could also be preloaded

Purchase registered SLD

Perfect name; potentially useful backlinks

Might be very expensive; might be preloaded

Besides the most-used Top Level Domains (TLDs) .com, org and .net various recent domain endings are actually available for pre-order. For tech startups, TLDs akin to .io, .app, .tech and .cloud are actually well-established. Secure your dream domain now!

Use microsites for multiple domain strategy

A proven strategy to implement the multiple domain strategy is to construct multiple microsites. A microsite is an internet site type with a narrowly defined concentrate on a selected product. Each of the microsites is optimized for a specific area of interest, audience, or keywords. Links are then created from the pages of the microsites to the actual major site. This leads to the potential to dominate the SERPs for chosen keywords.

You’ll be able to entrust the creation of a microsite to a freelancer or an agency. Nevertheless, this will likely incur considerable charges for the web site creation. A cheaper option is the MyWebsite Design Service from IONOS. Alternatively, create your personal microsite with the MyWebsite Website Builder.

In any case, be sure that that your microsite has a sound SSL certificate. Also, ensure a canonical tag is about for all content to avoid duplicate content and penalization from Google.

Use redirects for a multiple domain strategy

As an alternative of increase microsites under several domains, a more direct approach is to purchase the prevailing sites including their domains. It’s best to decide on sites or domains with strong rankings for interesting keywords. When using 301 redirects, specific URLs of the purchased sites are redirected to pages of the major site. Search engines like google and yahoo respect 301 redirects and transfer the “link juice”. The rating of the major site for brand spanking new keywords improves.

This approach requires quite a lot of planning and subtlety. Although in principle it is feasible to redirect your entire domain of a purchased site to a major site, this needs to be avoided. It’s more promising to maintain indexable content under a purchased domain and redirect only specific URLs. Search engine expert Neil Patel notes that link juice is lost increasingly while you replace the old content of the domain.

Examples of multiple domain strategy

Below we discuss examples of multiple domain strategies utilized by larger organizations.


With the intention to understand the next searches, you should run them in an incognito window. Depending in your browser settings and the placement of your search, chances are you’ll still see different results than in our screenshots.

Managing an Apple ID

Perform a Google seek for the search term “apple id”. As you’ll be able to see, the primary page of search results is dominated by Apple. Three Apple domains are shown:



Domain type

Microsite for Apple ID management


Apple Help Portal Support Pages


Apple Shop account management pages

Second Level Domain (SLD) with www subdomain

Making a WordPress site

An identical picture emerges while you perform a Google seek for “wordpress”. The primary page of the SERPs is dominated by different domains belonging to the WordPress ecosystem:



Domain type for hosted blogs

Second Level Domain (SLD) to host a site yourself

alternative SLD with language-specific subdomain

Buy real estate from Zillow / Trulia within the USA

A continuously cited example of a successful multiple domain strategy comes from US real estate group Zillow. The corporate managed to position its two brands “Zillow” and “Trulia” on the primary page of the SERPs for the Google search “real estate usa”. Thus, there’s a good likelihood a visitor will click on one in all the brand’s links. A win-win for the group!



Domain type


Second Level Domain (SLD) with www subdomain


alternative SLD with www subdomain


A multiple domain strategy could make sense but requires effort and planning. Because it is a long-term strategy, it’s more suitable for larger corporations. Below is a summary of the benefits and downsides of the 2 approaches described. Note that they’re under no circumstances mutually exclusive. Reasonably, a functioning multiple domain strategy can include each purchased and self-created microsites. Depending on the particular use case, linking and redirecting might be employed.

Multi-domain use



Construct microsites

Complete control

Elaborate, expensive

Use redirects

Uses existing Link Juice

Requires quite a lot of sensitivity, expensive


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