Have you ever wondered which new SEO lever you could use to improve your natural SEO? Perhaps you have been trying to improve your positioning on a specific keyword or group of words by carrying out on-site optimizations but with no real success so far. Your site has fallen into the depths of Google’s SERPs. In some cases your site appears on the first page, but you can’t get it into the top positions of search engines. So how can you improve your SEO when you feel that you have tried everything to optimize it?
Adopting a multi-domain strategy
There is a rather unknown technique that gives excellent results to improve your visibility on search engines: the multi-domain strategy. Many web marketing agencies and SEO experts use this method to boost the ranking of their clients or to establish their presence on search engines.
But why does this approach to SEO through the use of several domain names (and especially expired domains as we will explain a little below) still remain relatively unknown to this day if it is so effective? Quite simply because it requires to get your hands dirty in order to discover this practice and then to be able to claim that you have mastered it.
Expired domain names can be a very effective SEO technique when used properly. It’s an effective medium to long term strategy, so don’t panic if you don’t get immediate results. You must first sow the seeds and wait for them to grow before you can harvest them and get results.
Let’s discover together what a multi-domain strategy is and how you can use it wisely to optimize your SEO.
The multi-domain strategy in detail
The best way to introduce you to a multi-domain strategy is probably to show it to you. Let’s take the example described by Rand Fishkin – an international reference in the SEO world, who used to work for MOZ. Rand presents the case of a real estate giant, Zillow, who also owns the company Trulia. Now google “real estate“. Of course, do your search from google.com, so that the result is not biased if you are located in France, Belgium or any other country other than the United States.
Chances are that you will see Zillow and Trulia among the first five search results. And this will also be the case for many queries in the real estate lexicon.
The success of this excellent natural referencing lies in the implementation of a perfectly controlled domain name strategy. As Zillow and Trulia are part of the same company, the two brands mutually contribute to the ranking of their global brand for certain keywords.
Here’s another example; open Google.com and search for “user intent“. On the first page, you should see two results from Quick Sprout and Crazy Egg. This is the same company again, which performs very well on certain queries. Here too, the implementation of a multi-domain SEO strategy pays off. Rather than ranking using a single domain, it is possible to appear on several search results thanks to the use of several domains. This will greatly increase the chances for users to click on the link of a site you own.
But if you want your brand to rank higher, a multi-domain strategy may interest you.
Why use a multiple domain strategy?
First of all, let’s remember that a good referencing has two facets: the first one is called “on-site“, and it consists in intervening on the architecture of the website (optimisation of meta title tags, URL rewriting, keyword optimization). The second one is the “off-site” optimization which, as its name indicates, intervenes on everything that is not directly on the website, and in particular linkbaiting, to which a multi-domain strategy can bring a lot.
Let’s take the example of the Procter & Gamble brand which uses one of these SEO techniques by creating the P&G Everyday microsite, which allows it to rank on very targeted queries.
Two types of strategies
There are two types of strategies you can use that can be considered white hat practices.
The first is the one that has just been mentioned, i.e. building microsites. This involves creating a complete site, providing relevant content and publishing it, or even updating it by frequently posting fresh content.
The second option is to do 301 redirects to preserve the SEO juice and take advantage of pre-existing traffic.
Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches:
This can be time-consuming (or budget-consuming if you need to delegate site creation and content writing as well as web design), but this is the method that will give you the best results.
The positioning of the micro-site must be defined beforehand.
Harry’s is a brand specialized in men’s shaving products and has published a website called Five O’Clock. The website is presented as a magazine with articles on shaving or lifestyle, promising better mornings, better care and a better life.
The aim is to meet the expectations of the Harry’s brand customer, without just talking about shaving. It is rather about being an inspirational blog, about a lifestyle.
If you plan to create a microsite or blog, you must be careful to ensure that it serves a specific purpose and really helps readers. You don’t need a blog to promote your product or service. This is how you will gain added value, and if it is judged qualitative, traffic and backlinks will follow and will only amplify the SEO of the latter and, by extension, your main site.
To create your site, you will probably need to buy a domain name. New or expired? We’ll talk about this further down in this article.
Redirecting traffic through a 301 is a traditional and relatively efficient technique when used properly. How does it work? As indicated by Moz, 301 redirects inform search engines that the previous URL of the page has changed permanently, and the page will now forward between 90 and 99% of the SEO juice to the new link.
This means that if you buy a domain name that is well positioned on certain queries and redirect this domain to your site, then you will reap a large part of the link juice from the old site and many direct visits. Although a 301 redirect will lose its precious juice over time, it is still the preferred method of performing a redirect. Do not use a 302!
Domain name redirection is undoubtedly easier to set up than creating a new website. Nevertheless the effect fades away quite quickly and this type of practice is subject to controversy.
Choosing the right domain names
In order to establish a multi-domain strategy, you need to obtain the domain names beforehand. From then on, you have two options:
- registering new domain names
- buying expired domain names
Option 1: blank domain names
If you are creating your own brand, or have chosen the name of your blog, and you want to register an associated domain name, you will probably consider registering a new domain name, i.e. one that has never been registered. However, creating a trademark from scratch proves to be particularly difficult, since it is unknown. The same is true for the domain name since it has no history or SEO assets. Consequently, all the work of natural referencing remains to be done.
Add to this the fact that the domain name you had in mind may not be available in the extension you wanted to obtain such as the widely recognized .COM or the .FR if you are looking to target your business on the French market for instance.
If you opt for this approach, here are a few tips:
- use an original domain name by fiddling with the extensions
- look for a short domain name, as it is often easier to remember. But the shortest ones are often already taken…
- as a precaution, register variations of your domain name
- see our other tips to help you choose the right domain name
Option 2: buying expired domain names
This solution is the least known by the general public and is used by many SEO experts.
Even if you don’t buy expired domains to create a PBN, there are a number of indicators to double-check on the domains you are interested in. For example, look at the authority of the domain, its seniority, as well as different indicators such as the number of backlinks, the referring domains, the theme… You can also use the Web Archive website to review what the content of the site was before it expired.
When used properly, expired domain names represent an important source you can exploit to boost your natural referencing and gain traffic.
Optimizing your sites / blogs
Once you decide to use this strategy, you have to think about optimization. First and foremost: content optimization. It is essential that your websites have quality content in order to stand out from the crowd. It’s not just a question of trying to rank high in search engine results. If your content is not sufficiently interesting, original and attractive, then you risk not getting the desired traffic, and all your efforts will have been in vain.
At the same time, your content must also be SEO-oriented and respect the on-site and off-site fundamentals. And today, the guidelines to follow in terms of SEO are part of a Mobile First approach!
When it comes to natural SEO, there is no miracle recipe, but there are tips and proven methods you can use to significantly improve your SEO. The strategy of using expired domain names for their natural referencing is one of them.