Q and A: Should I park my 40 URLs and point them to my main site?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’m a regular reader, but have not “asked Kalena” anything in probably over a year now. I own around 40 URLs, all related to real estate in the Atlanta area. Currently they are sitting in my Hostmonster account, doing nothing. Q: Should I “park” all of them which will point them all to my main URL?

Thanks!
Rob

Dear Rob

Thanks for your question. It really doesn’t make any sense to point 40 domains to a single domain.

In my opinion, the only logical reasons to park one domain to another domain include:

  • Moving an entire site from one domain to another.
  • Pointing identical domains with different regional suffixes to a central domain for targeting purposes (e.g. redirecting site.com.au and site.co.uk to site.com).
  • Pointing several brand-related domains with different suffixes to a central domain for marketing and trademark purposes (e.g. redirecting brand.net and brand.org to brand.com).
  • Pointing misspelled or similar sounding brand-related domains to a central domain for marketing and branding purposes (e.g. redirecting misite.com and maisite.com to mysite.com).
  • Pointing hyphenated domains to a un-hyphenated domain, or vice versa, for marketing and branding purposes (e.g. redirecting my-site.com to mysite.com).

You should think carefully about your motivation for buying the domains in the first place. If some of them meet the criteria above it might be worth parking them to your main domain. But there really is little search engine value in redirecting so many domains, even if the keywords are of a similar theme.

I think you would be better off monetizing the domains using Google AdSense for Domains and making some affiliate income from them. You could still include a text link or image ad promoting your main domain on each of the parked domains, but just be aware that 40 instant incoming links to your main domain may trigger a red flag in Google’s ranking algorithm.

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Q and A: Can you submit individual pages of a web site separately to the search engines?

QuestionDear Kalena…

Can you submit individual pages separately of a website to
the search engines – if so – how? My URL is: http://freewebs.com/jazzlist

Thanks
Cy

Hi Cy

Technically it is possible but you need to understand the way search engines index web sites in order to fully understand why this is often considered the wrong way to approach site submission.

With regards to your own web site http://freewebs.com/jazzlist there would obviously be an argument for individual page submission due to you not having a dedicated domain of your own and as your web site is not located in the root directory of the hosting site, there is little to suggest that submitting http://freewebs.com/index.html would have any bearing on your own web site’s performance.

The argument for submitting to search engines seems to have been around longer than the search engines themselves!

Some say that you need to submit only your homepage, usually index.html or similar and that the search engine will then index all links from this page and over time your site should be completely indexed.

There are variations on this theory the most common is submitting a properly formatted and structured sitemap alone to the search engine of your choice. the search engines then index all links from this sitemap alone. Formats vary but most popular are sitemaps written in xml, this version in particular is favoured by Google.

For further information: Google friendly site map protocols

Others say that you don’t need to submit any pages or sites to any search engines at all, instead you are better to create keyword rich and optimised content that, if written well enough should attract Google and the others along through social bookmarking sites and articles linking to your sites, a lot of people out there prefer this method as it is often considered a more honest approach to site submission.
I know of several websites that have never been submitted to any search engines but if these sites change content or write a new article then Google indexes this within 24 hours, proof indeed that if your content is rich and your site is attractive to the search engines then your site will become more successful based on its own content and merits alone.

The thought that you could submit a single page is a perfectly valid one but before you do this ask yourself this simple question…why do I need to do this?

The answer lies in the hosting and structure of your own website and your choice to follow a free/shared hosting option, this decision may have been made for any of several reasons. The truth is that as long as your site is hosted on a free, shared hosting solution your site will most likely struggle to achieve its full potential as you will no doubt come across issues when trying to optimise this kind of hosting solution.

The advantages and full control offered by a dedicated host/domain solution far outweigh any cost restrictions and in my opinion should always be the way to go.

I appreciate some people and businesses out there want to create a website for little or no outlay but as these are often clearly charging for what they provide perhaps they should consider what their visitors will think and how they will be perceived and judged in relation to their business acumen when the free hosting option is taken instead of creating a professional presence on the web.

Best regards

Andy Watson
Wildcat SEO

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Q and A: Is it spam to have multiple domains forwarded to one site?

QuestionDear Kalena

I’m currently taking your SEO 101 class for certification.  I’ve been looking over some of the recommended reading and I am confused about something.  Can you tell me if it is SPAM if you have multiple domain names forwarded to one website?

Thanks for your assistance.

Laura

Dear Laura

No, not necessarily. It depends how they are forwarded and the original purpose of the forwarding. For example, if you have a main site e.g. site.com but also own regional domains for the site e.g. site.com.au or site.co.uk and you wish to forward people typing in those regional domains to your main domain, then that is a legitmate use of forwarding.

Same with domains for branding purposes, for example, I own both www.ask-kalena.com and www.askkalena.com but I prefer to use the first one for branding as it is easier to read the site name. However I don’t want to miss any persons who type in the second version of the domain, so I forward the latter one to the former one automatically. You’ll see if you type in the second version it will automatically redirect you to the hyphenated version. This is also a correct use of domain forwarding and the correct server redirection technique to use (not META refresh or similar).

The only time it gets spammy is if you are deliberately redirecting people from one domain to another in a direct attempt to mislead them and trick search engines, for example if you click on a domain in the search results that looks like www.baby-strollers.com and it takes you instead to a porn domain or something. Also the redirection of hundreds or thousands of domains to a single domain is likely very dodgy.

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Q and A: Why do older unoptimized sites sometimes rank better than younger optimized ones?

QuestionHello Kalena…

A question I’ve often been asked and don’t really have a good answer for is; Why – when a site is NOT optimized at all for search engines, but it IS an older site, it’s been around a while – does it rank better than younger sites that HAVE been optimized?

Thank You!

Amy

Dear Amy

In their ranking algorithm, Google takes into account the age of a domain, as well as the history of a domain and the age and quality of links pointing to it. Sites that are new to the Internet take a while to build up “trust rank” and link history in Google. So you’ll sometimes see older, well-established sites that don’t appear to be optimized out-ranking their younger optimized competitors for target keywords.

Make sense?

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Q and A: Does the canonicalization of my URL impact my search engine rankings?

QuestionHello Kalena…

I was wondering if you know anything about the www prefix. My hosting company has my site registered with the www and without, as the same for all sites, I believe. Does this affect how the websites are viewed by the search engines? Also, some directories have my site listed without the www even if I have submitted it with. Does this affect how Google for example counts external links to my site? I have asked many people and no one has been able to answer my question.

Mirna

Hi Mirna

Timely question! I was just discussing this issue today on Twitter. Just to clarify, when you talk about your site being listed with and without the www prefix, that’s called the canonicalization of your domain. Basically, it just refers to your preferred URL for a site, whether that’s with the www prefix or without. Matt Cutts goes into more detail about canonicalization in this post.

Search engines can sometimes index both versions of your domain, creating duplicate content headaches for you and also link popularity dilution. For those reasons, I strongly recommend you decide which URL version you are happiest with and implement 301 permanent redirects at the server end to ensure your preferred version is served no matter which version is typed in. You can also set your preferred domain within Google Webmaster Tools.

Loren Baker wrote a post about the canonicalization issue today, so you might find that helpful. I concur with Loren that using the www is a no-brainer.

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