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In my case, I have a web design project for a funeral home. On their property they have a funeral home (for services, offices, ...) and a large cemetery also. Additionally, they own three more cemeteries across the state.

I can either incorporate each location (including the funeral home) into one website, or...

Create a main domain name for the funeral home and then buy a separate, unique name for each cemetery (including the cemetery on the funeral home property).

The funeral home location is considered the headquarters of operations for their company, so it makes sense to make the funeral home the "portal".

Then for each cemetery, I'll purchase a unique domain name.

I mostly want to do this for design; to separate the business of funeral homes from the beauty of cemeteries.

However, from an SEO standpoint, I'm clueless. Is this recommended? Does Google hate this kind of thing?

  • Will each domain have a unique website? Or will they all point to the same place? – John Conde Jun 16 '14 at 22:20
  • @John Conde asks a good and important question. As well, are you able to create unique content for each site so that they can stand on their own? – closetnoc Jun 16 '14 at 23:39
  • Yes, each unique domain will have similar layouts but very different content and photos. Each pointing back to the portal domain too. – Sophisticake Jun 17 '14 at 0:05
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Google allows webmasters and business to own multiple domains with different content and have them appear in the search results. However, Google does frown upon "networks of sites" if they get large or spammy. You could cross into bad territory if:

  • Your websites have pretty much the same content with just keywords changed
  • Each site has little content, but links to all the others
  • The number of sites grows too large to be easily manageable (I'd say 50 sites would be the max.)
  • The only reason to have multiple sites is to rank higher in search engines.

Google's Matt Cutts has a video about this issue. He says that similar sites owned by the same owner can exist and can link to each other, as long as you don't go overboard.

In your case, I like the idea of having the funeral home on a different domain from the cemeteries. Cemeteries generally have positive connotations with the public (park, memorial, loved one, final resting place) while funeral homes may have some negative connotations (funeral expenses, death). It would be easier to get inbound links to the cemeteries which are likely to be viewed more as a public resource or non-profit than the funeral home business site.

I'd suggest one site for all the cemeteries and a separate site for the funeral home. That would keep the management overhead of multiple sites to a minimum while providing the separation of concerns.

If you do go for many cemetery websites, publishing enough content on each and making them distinct enough could be a challenge. You could do it, but it would be a lot of work.

  • Very insightful, thank you. I much prefer your idea to mine; one website for the funeral home and another for all locations. That significantly cuts the work load as well. – Sophisticake Jun 17 '14 at 0:08

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