What's the best approach to take for Google ranking if your domain name has two possible spellings?


mich*ea*lflatley.com (Irish spelling) & mich*ae*lflatley.com (Normal spelling)

I want someone to be able to search google with both spellings if possible.


Redirect the secondary domain to the main one using a permanent redirect:

// Permanent redirection
header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");
header("Location: http://www.example.com/");

That won't affect your Google page rank.


You should probably choose one main spelling and use that throughout the website. I wouldn't advise to change the spelling in the content depending on the domain name, because Google might detect that as duplicate content (which it is), which might negatively affect your page rank. Google probably matches "micheal flatley" to "michael flatley" automatically anyway, and the permanent redirect provides an additional clue.

  • will i need to include both spellings in the content though? – sooty Aug 19 '11 at 10:22
  • I've edited my answer. – laurent Aug 19 '11 at 10:27

In any case you should just have one domain name as the main domain name: the more common one for your target audience (the other one should be permanently redirected) which is most likely the more common one in the Google index as well. You should avoid "duplicate content".

If one is searching for a common name (or term) with two possible spellings, Google will usually take care of that and suggest the more common version (for example if you search for "flatly" it will suggest "Did you mean 'flatley'?").

If you expect people to search for both possible spellings for less common words, those that Google doesn't map both ways, it's not only a matter of domain names but of what's on the website, so I'd make sure to include both spellings in important positions on the page.

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