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I have a client who insists of having multiple website domains all being redirected to one main website domain. It is getting out of hand and his server has become conveluted and riddled with garbage because of it, not to mention confusing at times.

Each of these domains that he is setting up has no content, they simply redirect the user to the main website domain.

Is this practice of having multiple domains pointing to one main website common? And does anyone know where I can get information to give to this client to let him know this is a bad practice if it is a bad practice?

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Can you give more information about the type of domains he's redirecting? Are they typos, alternate TLDs, or how does he pick the domains? Roughly how many domains are there? How often does he add a new domain? And are they redirected via 301 response code, or are the domains aliases, or is he redirecting by some other means? –  Lèse majesté Feb 26 '11 at 6:41
    
He is buying domain names and simply setting up a redirect on the hosting provider to redirect the user when they enter the url to the main website. There are a total of 6 right now. He has add 4 in the past 2 months. Does that info help? I haven't had to deal with this type of wierd stuff before so its a little hard for me to explain. –  mattgcon Feb 26 '11 at 7:10
    
So they're just random domain names that he thinks people will randomly type in? Or are they variations of his company name? –  Lèse majesté Feb 26 '11 at 7:47
    
They are actually completely different names. –  mattgcon Feb 26 '11 at 8:00
    
I've had many clients do this. They will but the com/org/net for the singular and then the com/org/net for the plural, repeat it with a different name, etc. Sometime it's for branding sometimes they think of a different name or whatever. Google has said this will not affect their SEO so I just let the client do what they want. –  kel Feb 26 '11 at 10:44
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Having multiple domains point to one website is common as a company will buy variations of their main domain name (other TLDs, misspellings) and then point them to their main domain so on the off chance that someone uses one of those variations they still will end up at the company's website.

As far as SEO goes having so many domains pointing to one place is not helpful and can be harmful if done incorrectly. If the domain names pull up the same content as the main domain and no 301 redirect is done or a canonical URL is given then those pages will be seen as duplicate content. At best they will be diluting their presence in the search engines by having their content spread out over so many domains, at worst they will have the duplicate filtered out and possibly have less content in the search results if they can't determine which content is the original content.

Additionally, when a redirect is used it will effectively tell Google that URL no longer exists and has moved to the main URL. So having keyword rich add on domains won't actually accomplish anything.

But if it is all set up properly, either through DNS or 301 redirects in Apache, then it shouldn't be messy or harmful to the site. So if it is messy then it probably is done wrong and really needs to be cleaned up.

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I have some clients that have multiple domains for the sake of protecting the brand name, and in these cases I always redirect the domains to the "main" one via CNAME records, you just have the limitation of redirecting the www. subdomain, you can't redirect the root domain.com with a CNAME.

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