SEO: Forwarding Vs Pointing Multiple Domains Names to Same URL


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Good morning, internet fans. Ryan Perry, Simple Biz Support. Today is Thursday, September the 9th. Welcome to Internet Marketing Thursday. As usual, I have Virginie Dorn with Business Website Center. Good morning, Virginie.

Virginie Dorn: Good morning, Ryan. Today is the 3rd.

RP: Today is the 3rd, what did… Did I not say the 3rd?

VD: You said the 9th.

RP: The 9th. Well, today is the… What is that, the prime of nine is three, so that’s what I was going after.

VD: That’s right.

RP: I was trying to be mathematically smart here. Today is the 3rd, thank you very much. I thought that’s what I said. We’re going to talk about bathtubs and faucets today, correct?

VD: That’s right.

VD: No.

RP: No, we’re going to talk about pointing and forwarding, and how it relates to SEO. A lot of business owners you… Over the years, we acquire URLs, and I don’t know if it’s still a big thing today because there’s so many different kind of… You can But it used to be, back in the day, you always bought your domain name, I guess those were the two or the three that were available. And then it was a matter of, “Okay. Well, what do I do with that?” And that’s what we’re going to talk about today ’cause we want to make sure that you’re not being penalized by making the wrong decision.

VD: Correct. So, when that happened, people typically either pointed or forwarded those multiple domain name to their main website. So, today we’ll discuss about why first people register multiple domain names, and why may be, it is a good option for you as a business owner. The second thing we’re going to talk about the differences between pointing and forwarding. There’s a great difference between the two and people often get confused, and including webmasters, and that can have some SEO impact on your ranking. And number three, our recommendation about which one you should be using for your particular situation.

RP: Okay. And then, just for clarification, because I’m familiar with the term “redirect.” Where does that fall in to this SEO lingo?

VD: Okay. So, redirect is forwarding. So, when you forward a website, it’s called a 301, or 301 redirect. And that’s a permanent redirect to your main domain.

RP: So, when we talk about redirect or forwarding, they’re pretty much one and the same thing.

VD: Correct.

RP: Okay. Perfect.

VD: So, well, let’s start with why people register multiple domain name, and maybe again, being a good option for you, or not. You mentioned protecting your brand. A lot of people do, and so forth, just because they didn’t want the competition to register their domain name. Sometimes they also do it with similar company name. So, maybe your company is ABC Gift Shop, you might do ABCgiftshop, they give ABCgiftstore, and so forth. Again, just to protect your identity and your company name. So, that’s a good option to do that. Domain name are very inexpensive, $8 to $12 a year, it’s a price of a coffee. Worth. It gives you peace of mind that nobody else is going to grab that name and use it for their advantage. So, that’s number one.

VD: Number two, is sometimes people did it when they launched a marketing campaign. So, they might have elaborate domain name but it’s a bit long. But on the marketing campaign… For instance, TV ad, you want the domain name to be very succinct, very quick, easy to memorize, easy to spell out. So, sometimes they will register a unique domain name just for that campaign, which will be either forwarding or pointing to their main website. So, that’s good to do it if you’re in that situation. And the third instance why people register lots of domain names, and it started years back with Google’s announcement, was to… For SEO reasons, Google years back said, “Oh, if you have great keywords in your domain name, it’s good for your rankings.” So, people went crazy with registered 20+ domain names, all with good keywords they wanted to be found for, and either pointed or forwarded them to their main website. So, that’s where we are going to focus today. Is like, is it still a good SEO technique? And actually, it’s not, and we’re going to explain why.

RP: Okay. And then also, I want to step back real quickly. If you are… If you have bought domain names for the purpose of a specific ad campaign, so like you talked about a TV ad or a radio ad, where you’re going to use a very unique domain name. And it may be a campaign that you only run for two months and then you’re done with it, I highly recommend that you hold on to that domain name for a number of years. The reason why, there is a situation not too long ago, is a couple months ago, where a company ran a very special ad but it was a print ad, and I forget exactly what it was on, but it was a print ad. It had expired. It was like six months of the whole campaign was done and over with, but they only kept the domain name for a year. They just bought… And a porn site ended up picking it up and using it. And then, somebody ran across this branded material with their corporate branded material, and they’re like, “Oh,” they typed in, and then, boom, here comes porn. So, just as an FYI, it’s probably not going to happen to you, but spend the money and hold onto it for five years, so you can make sure that any brand association with that URL is completely out of the system before you give it up.

VD: Yes, I know, just to save $12 a year it’s not worth taking the risk. Just keep registering them. Well, let’s talk about the difference between forwarding and pointing. So, forwarding, just as you mentioned, is called a redirect or a 301 redirect, which is a permanent redirection of one domain to the other. So for instance, you may go to and it redirects the visitor to, which is your main domain and your main website. And often times in the URL itself, you would see the URL changes. So again, it goes from company to business. The visitor per se doesn’t see it or doesn’t pay attention to it, but nonetheless, it is changing that URL. That is forwarding.

VD: There’s actually a second layer to forwarding, which is called, “forwarding with masking” And it doesn’t have good or bad SEO value for that. When you forward with masking, the dominant doesn’t change in the URL bar, it stays the same. But in the backend, it’s still being redirected to your main domain, but the domain name doesn’t change. So, remains even though it is showing you the website for Is that so far so good in terms of what forwarding is?

RP: Yep.

VD: Pointing is a little different. All of this is done in the DNS setting of your domain name, in the registrar account. The registrar account is where you register your domain name. If you ever move your domain name, that new company is where you need to go. Lot of webmaster point a domain directly to the website folders. Just like you would do for your main domain, you could do the same for 12 other domains all pointing directly. So, there’s a direct link between domain and site.

VD: Now, for the visitor, it has the same experience. So, it doesn’t realize if it’s pointing or forwarding, it doesn’t care, he or she sees the website nonetheless. So, the difference again is what direct point compared to the redirect. So, let’s talk about the bad things now. Years ago, that used to be a great way to optimize your website, having all of this powerful keyword domain name pointing directly to that website. Now, actually, it’s a penalty with the new Google algorithms in the past year or so. Google now, if you point instead of forwarding would cause each of those domain as its own unique website. The problem with that you have 12 domains, all pointing to the same site, so Google now is seeing 12 websites that have identical content. And you and I talked many times, one of the highest penalty in ranking for Google and all the major search engines is duplicate content.

VD: So, you thought you were doing well, you’re pointing 12 times to the same site, now Google is like, “Well, your content is not that unique, I see it 12 times on the web.” And that is a major cause of penalties nowadays. So instead of pointing, you need to forward or redirect. So, that’s pretty much for today what people need to take of that. And if they’re not sure, they need to ask their webmaster to check their registrar account to see what the setup is. Check every domain, and if they see them pointing directly instead of forwarding, they need to change the setting immediately, before you get any further penalties.

RP: Okay, and is that something you would have to go… Let’s say you have a GoDaddy, you’re buying your domain names from GoDaddy as example. You can actually log into your GoDaddy account and see if it’s pointing versus being redirected?

VD: Correct, yes. So, you go to the domain section of GoDaddy, click on the domain of interest, it’ll take you to a dashboard or some sort, and there would be right on that front page there’s actually something called forwarding, take a look at it, if forwarding is off, that means you’re not forwarding, it’s pointing. If forwarding is on, then you’re pretty much 90% sure it’s done right. So, make sure if you see forwarding off, you know you have an issue of that domain, it’s not being forwarded, it’s being pointed. And that’s when the SEO penalty arrives.

RP: Right. Well, let me ask you this, if you… Let’s say you’ve got… I know another case where you might buy multiple domains is when you have like, the number two, in your business name or in the domain name. And some people are going to type out “T-W-O”, some people are going to write just number 2. If you have multiple URLs that are all relevant, that sound relevant to the domain name, do you actually need to forward them at all? Can you just have the one that’s legit? And have the other ones just parked, not do anything with them?

VD: You can have them parked. If you haven’t parked, they’ll never find your website. So, if you park with GoDaddy or Network Solutions, some of those big hosting company, people would go to the, “Two” when it’s spelled out and see a parked advertisement of the hosting company. So, it doesn’t benefit you. Instead you might want to forward or again, called also redirect, to your main website. In case they go directly to that domain name, they will be able to see your corporate website. So, instead of parking those particular domain name, I would suggest you forward them instead, that way you don’t lose the sale.

RP: Okay. So, I think there are two takeaways; One, if you have multiple domain names and you know you’ve, in the past, probably going back at least two years or so or more if you’ve had multiple domain names and you know that you did something to kind of get them all to go to the same URL, double check with your hosting… Not your hosting provider, but your domain name provider if it’s GoDaddy, as an example. And see if they’re being forwarded or if they’re pointed. And then the second thing is if you’ve purchased multiple domain names and you weren’t aware that you could actually forward or redirect them, that’s something you can do and you won’t get penalized, and it just will help possibility with some visibility with people that don’t know exactly how to type out your web name possibly.

VD: Yes, exactly, and even further, you mentioned protecting domain that might be used in the future and so forth, but if you really have all domain names, they may not have no purpose whatsoever, you’ll never use them again, you never use them. They’re not pointing, they’re not forwarding, they’re just sitting there charging you $12 a year. You can auction them off. A lot of registrar companies like GoDaddy and so forth have auction, so you might be able to get a few dollars for each of those old domains that are no interest to you. You won’t lose sleep if you lose them.

VD: So instead of just registering year after year, just sell them. So that’s another option to generate extra income. But just make sure… Think hard about, “Well, truly, will I never use that domain name again in the future?” I have clients who’ve registered 50 domain names, so that can get quite expensive every year when it renews. So I have clients, we just went name and really analyzed together if they had any purpose to continue in their hosting account, or if we should just let them go. So do that, do that exercise because by doing nothing you might be penalized, especially if they’re all pointing instead of forwarding.

RP: All right, all right, perfect, well, that’s it for this show. Virginie, as always, I appreciate your time. Next week we’re going to continue on an SEO theme and we’re going to talk about design and content guidelines that are coming directly from Google. So, you’re actually going to pull some information that isn’t, “Well, we think this is how it is,” but you’re actually pulling it directly from Google, correct?

VD: Correct, yes. We’re actually going to… Google for webmasters has a free section where it tells us in terms of optimization what it expects from us as webmasters. And they define in three very defined sections, and that’s what we’re going to do in the next three weeks is analyze each of the section, words coming directly from Google, and translate them in words that you as business owners can understand.

RP: All right, perfect, so looking forward to that. If you’re looking for more information, in depth real information about SEO, you’ll definitely want to mark your calendars for the next three weeks, Thursday at 9:45 Pacific Standard Time. That’s it for today’s show. Virginie, looking forward to next week and I hope you have a great holiday weekend.

VD: You too, happy Labor Day everybody.

RP: All right, take care everybody, we’ll see you next week.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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