What’s your take on “addon domains”?

What’s your take on “addon domains”?

>>Today’s question comes from Land Lubber
in Colorado. Land Lubber asked a lot of questions; some of them really interesting, some of them
not as interesting, but I thought this one was good. “What’s your take on addon domains”?
Does Google penalize someone for having one or more addon domains on their main website
or if they’re self-hosting, e.g., If you saw 2, 5, or 10 websites all coming from the same
IP addresses, would that be bad?” Well, first off, let’s talk about what addon domains are
because a lot of people haven’t head that term before. Suppose I have the site, mattcutts.com.
An addon domain might be something that your web host would offer you where it’s basically
related, maybe it’s, you know, all part of the package deal where you can get mat-cuts.com.
And typically, an addon domain might have a connotation of being a separate site. So
let’s talk through this a little bit. Suppose you have, for example, I have mattcuts.com.
Maybe I also want to register a matt-cuts.com. My personal advice would be rather than developing
those as separate sites, I would actually make matt-cuts.com to redirect to mattcuts.com.
And the reason is that when you’ve got things that are really, really close, maybe only
a hyphen is different or maybe mattcuts.net. A lot of people expect that to really be the
same site. So if you’re doing an addon domain where you’re registering multiple domains,
my advice would be twofold. Either first, register domains that are really different,
so they have different branding, different domain name, you can tell at a glance that
they’re really different, and then develop them as truly independent sites, you know,
all sorts of different templates and layout, functionally, that sort of thing. Or, the
other direction you can do is you can go ahead and buy the typos or the common aliases or
the other things that you think someone might type when they’re trying to type your domain
name and make that do a 301 redirect to your website. So, this goes a little bit towards
the idea of, you know, how many sites can I have before I start to look a little bit
unusual or artificial, or something like that? And certainly, we’ve seen plenty of sites
where they may have two or three different domain names. Maybe one is targeted to men’s
clothing, one is targeted to women’s clothing; one is related to children’s clothing. You
can have those and have those linked and have them still be separate and have them be branded
a little bit differently and not have that seem too artificial. But think about what
if a competitor was looking at your website and they saw a whole ton of links down in
the footer, down at the bottom and it really was not that much differentiation between
them. Same template, same branding, it was just nothing but keyword stuff domain names.
That can look a little bit worse. So whenever the question comes in about addon domains,
I would interpret that in a couple of ways. First, I’d say either make the domain names
quite separate and develop them. And then as long as you have a very small set of domains,
that can still make sense to cross-link them. Or, make sure that all the typos, hyphenated,
different utilities, all that sort of stuff, just do a 301 redirect. For example, Google
sometimes gets, you know, pornGoogle, or, you know, we go through domain registration
where we go through arbitration and get domain names that people registered with Google in
them, and Google will take those and just do a 301 redirect. So that’s kind of a very
comprehensive answer to your question. And that if you want to do domain names as sort
of a package deal, I would either make them a little bit separate and develop them separately
or, if they’re very similar, go ahead and do a 301 redirect. Both can make sense. The
one thing that I would avoid is making a ton of sites where they’re all auto-generated
and they all look just a little bit spammy because you’re not really putting any time
or love or attention into individually developing those domains.

28 thoughts on “What’s your take on “addon domains”?

  1. I think the person asking the question was really trying to ask the question in regards to "hosting" – meaning does google penalize sites for all being on one account or whether it is best to go with a reseller hosting plan. Basically is "adding on" domains to a single hosting plan is acceptable.

  2. I agree with @TheVampirella

    I too i'm in the same position in which I have one site and I create more sites via add on domains simply because of the price of hosting. All my add on domains are totally unrelated to each other and just span various interests of mine.

    Would this affect any of the sites in any reason?

  3. What about a plumber that registers 100 sites that are identical except for the "city, state" abbreviation. This guy has like 50 of these and the only difference is the color scheme and which community in the Pittsburgh Area his SEO company is targeting.

  4. I think the question is more about sites running from the same IP. Matt didn't really address this directly because I don't think the question was phrased well, an Addon domain (as referenced to by cPanel, I assume what the questioner was asking about) is a domain that functions in a subdirectory of the users hosting account, it runs from the same IP.

    As far as I know google does not penalize multiple sites from the same IP, so anyone using addon domains for different sites should be okay.

  5. The only time it would be an issue is if you're running multiple sites that mirror the same content to create artificial back links, in this case doing it from the same IP would be *very* bad, but even if you did it from separate IPs you'd still be penalized if you're caught.

    There is no problem running sites from the same IP, the only time it is an issue is when they're interlinking to create backlinks and improve pagerank artificially.

    Sorry for double part comment!

  6. Overcomplicated and overall bad answer.

    Addon domains do not have to do anything with each other. And there is no restriction on the uniqueness (templates, styles, emails, etc) of each site if one of them is an addon.

    The only difference is that the addon domain is managed under the one hosting account, instead of being spread out across multiple accounts. Although you can still have multiple accounts if you wish too, but all under the same CPanel, or other manager as well.

  7. Matt, you really missed the point of the question. He wasn't asking about domain ALIASES, he was asking about multiple domains on the same IP address (ie, shared hosting).

    The short answer is, NO, Google doesn't care if you have multiple sites that share the same IP address. While other considerations apply, the most significant issues you need to be concerned about is the quality or type of other sites sharing your IP and/or server, as this can cause your site either downtime or other issue

  8. @nnnick03 As long as your sites are not interlinking then you should be fine. Google will only penalize you if you try and boost your link backs between sites all from the same IP.

  9. @vxcriss That's correct. It's ok to have a few websites on the same IP range, but if you have 100 sites on the same IP range it's going to be a negative for SEO.

  10. What about this one:

    I have +20 related domains, I started developing few days ago.
    Very the same niche.
    But they have completely different and quality content, different template,.
    The duplicate is in title, meta description of the sites.

    Will they get penalty ?

  11. I am no expert but after reading up on this topic tonight I can see this is off topic.

    Also, one knowledgeable person mentioned that google will not penalize you if you don't have links between your domain and your addon domains.

  12. In the final analysis, you just have ot focus on looking natural. Matt almost always doesn’t give a definite answer like exact numbers to inquiries. It always boils down to looking natural and quality contents.

  13. That's very true, the best example for this, is: any hosting provider…. all hosting providers host their customer's websites on servers with a single shared IP, unless a few that require it for SSL purposes for example… and a server can host from 100 up to 1000 accounts, all them on just 1 or 2 shared IPs, so indeed, Google does not penalize it. BUT, the answer to that question was very useful, because if you have 400 domains with similar names, but they are not redirecting to a main one>>>

  14. i have a question to ask…..how do i send you an email….I apologize for asking such a dumb question but yes i am not very good with computers…Please help

  15. hi if i have 5 different addon domain name completely different to each other, will it affect seo? Can they have all different traffic stats? or the only one will get traffic is the primary domain? how google will interpret that if i use only one hosting account?

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