Q and A: What should I do with domains I don’t have time to develop?

QuestionDear Kalena

I would like your opinion on what to do with a domain I have owned since 1999 or so.

I believe the name is highly brandable and would be quite valuable and conducive to a killer business model in the right hands. It is pricechoice.com (I also have .net, .org, .info and .biz). A few months ago, I began designing a model built around cosmetic supplies, but my progress fizzled when I became too busy with clients while moving forward with other projects.

I would be open to a joint venture, case-study project or selling the domains outright. Your thoughts would be appreciated!

Dino

Dear Dino

Regarding domains – I am probably the worst person to ask! I own quite a few myself – some with half-baked designs, some with outdated content, some with no content :-)   They are also the victims of a hectic schedule, I’m too time poor to develop them but not keen to sell them.

I have heard the domain after-market is pretty hot these days. There are lots of domain auction sites but I’ve heard very good things about the following as places to sell developed or undeveloped domains:

The other option is to sign up for AdSense for Domains and put up ad code on your unused domains so you can at least earn a little ad income from them while you decide what to do with them.

Good luck!

Kalena

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Q and A: Is my forwarded domain OK for SEO?

Question

Dear Kalena

I have a site: balirental.net, which is a forwarded URL to a subdomain of surfwomen.com/balirental.

When I view the page source of balirental.net, there are no Meta Tags at all. There is this however, src=’http://surfwomen.com/balirental/’, which, when clicked on, shows all my Meta Tags. Is this hurting my SEO? Do the robots see/crawl the src?

Thanks, Paul

Hi Paul,

There are many ways to forward or redirect URLs or domains – not all of them are search engine friendly.

The technique used on your site is not actually a redirect at all, it uses “frames”, which is a largely outdated technique which is one of the worst methods, and is not doing you any SEO favours at all.

Currently all the search engines see when they look at your site is what you can see yourself when you view the source – i.e. 13 lines of code with no content and no keywords.  At the moment, there is no chance of this domain achieving any sort of rankings in the search results.

Any “content” which is on the page within the frame is all associated with the surfwomen.com domain rather than your own domain.

If you want your domain to be found via search then you will need to develop your own unique content, under your own domain, and get as many good quality links to your site as possible.

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

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Q and A: How important is domain canonicalization to SEO?

QuestionHi Kalena

I use a company that “specializes” in mortgage sites and hosting. Since I am in the process of applying everything I am learning, I saw fit to have my site graded by one of the many online tools available.

The tool showed that my site is coming up for both the www and non www versions of my domain. When I enquired with my host about doing a 301 for my domain to one version, they said

“There is nothing we or you can reset on the Xsites as this is beyond anything we have control over. We do not support any of this nor have the capability for any one else to have it”.

How much is it going to hurt me in SEO if I don’t get this fixed like the site grader suggested?

Alex

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Hi Alex

What you’re referring to here is domain canonicalization.

Search engines can sometimes index both www and non www versions of your domain, creating duplicate content headaches for you and also link popularity dilution. Therefore, it’s best for SEO purposes if you can stick with one version of your domain and make sure all links point to that version. The www version is my recommendation because most sites will link to you using that version anyway.

Judging by the response you got from your hosts, it sounds like they’re not familiar with the issue of domain canonicalization, which is concerning. If your site host won’t allow you to use a 301 to create a conditional redirect to your preferred version, you probably need to get a new host!

Alternatively, you can use the Canonical Link Element. You can also specify your preferred URL version in Google Webmaster Tools.

My blog post Does the canonicalization of my URL impact my search engine rankings? might also be of interest.

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Q and A: SEO for main domains vs sub-domains

Question

Hi Kalena,

Hope you are doing great. I have a question regarding the importance of domain and subdomain in SEO. Should there be any difference in SEO approach while doing SEO of a sub domain and a main domain. If yes, what’s that? Also, I have noticed that the probability of a sub domain to get ranked over top SERP on competitive keywords is quite low. I have not seen many sub domains in top 10 search results. So my second question is, if I have a website with main domain and other is with sub domain and I put same efforts on both websites. Will they rank same or main domain will have additional advantage?

Regards, Manish

Hi Manish,

As you are probably aware, in recent years it has become more difficult to dominate SERPs with a single domain.  In the “good old days” it was possible to have multiple listings on page 1 (sometimes even 10), but these days this is (more or less) restricted to a maximum of 2 listings for the one domain.  It is widely accepted that this restriction also applies to subdomains – i.e. you can only have 2 listings for the same root domain – whether or not they include subdomains – However, I have seen plenty of cases where this is not the case (see example below).

I agree that subdomains don’t seem to show up as often in SERPs – but I believe that this is largely because they aren’t as widely used, and (more importantly) aren’t as widely linked to or as well optimised.

If a main domain and a subdomain have the same quality content, use the same optimisation strategies and have a similar backlink profile, I would expect them to achieve similar rankings.

And here is some evidence which I believe supports this – Try this Google query for the phrase “all aces gold coast” and you will hopefully (in these days of personalized SERPs) get results that show four separate page one listings the same  domain.

I rest my case…

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

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Q and A: Does a longer domain registration period affect ranking?

QuestionHi Kalena

I was just wondering, does a longer URL registration period have a positive effect on a site’s search engine ranking?

Thanks,

Louisa

Hi Louisa

Google has confirmed in the past that both domain age and ownership history may impact the way a site is handled by the algorithm, albeit slightly. But what you’re asking is whether registering a domain for a longer period of time makes a difference to the site’s ranking?

I haven’t researched this for other search engines, but I recall that a couple of people have asked this question in the Google Webmaster forum in the past.

Google staff member John Mu responded that the length of a domain’s registration period does NOT impact how Google ranks the site. As he states, many registrars don’t publish expiration details and so if Google can’t adequately determine when a site expires, they can’t compare it to other sites so they don’t include that as a ranking factor. Besides which, a registration period for a domain doesn’t reveal much about a site.

The content on the domain is much more important from a search engine perspective than how many years it has been registered for.

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