An Easy Way Not to Get Banned by Google

Strategic search engine optimization involves far more than keyword research, META tags and content.

If you want to mange an SEO program, you need to be aware of any issue that can affect your success.

Domain name management is one of the big factors. Effective domain name management is critical because you could end up getting banned from Google and other search engines if you take the wrong approach.

Why would Google ban you?
In the spirit of fair play and providing depth in its results, Google frowns on duplicate content. Some web site owners purchase multiple domains and copy their content for both domains. They figure they may land the #1 and #2 positions that way. That may be the company's goal, but it's not very valuable for the Internet searcher.

Even if you don't maintain your identical content with two or more domains, you can still run into problems. It's possible to update just one set of web pages, but have them look like duplicates because of how the domain names are administered. You may be risking everything if someone enters
www.yoursite2005.com/about.html and
www.oursite2005.com/about.html
and they see the same content ? even if the pages reside in only one location.

Many web site owners redirect one domain to the next rather than configure the server to associate the core content with a second domain name. In many cases, a 301 redirect is your best bet. It's a server-side redirect most administrators can handle in a few minutes. In effect, it's a proper way of telling search engines to ignore one domain and favor another.

You may have many good reasons for owning multiple domains, including brand protection. Some companies get extra domains on the off-chance that someone may simply try a domain name and see what comes up. A classic example is 1-800-FLOWERS.COM. One of their domains is www.1800flowers.com, but you can get there with www.flowers.com as well.

The Bottom Line
If you secure more than one domain, redirect the extras to your main web site (on the server) or use the extra domains for unique content (showcasing a line of products of services).

Michael Murray is vice president of Fathom SEO, a Cleveland, Ohio-based search engine marketing (SEM) firm. A member of Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), he also authored the white paper, "Search Engine Marketing: Get in the Game."

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