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Is Forwarding Domains A No No?
ronin100

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 9:11 am on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a nice handful of decent domains - related to my websites i.e. the .net versions. Also, different words but similar themes.

I was told (I host them at G-Diddy) that I should get the nameservers of my sites and point them to my established sites that have different domain names.

There would be no content or website per se, only a person typing in the site with a .net or a two word hyphenated version would resolve at my ecommerce sites.

Is this right or wrong advice? Thanks for your help!

 

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 2:40 pm on Dec 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is not the best of advice - you can create a duplicate issue when more than one domain name resolves to the same content. The best approach is to have each domain name use a 301 redirect to your principal domain. That way only one version of the url for each page of content sends up in the index.

keyplyr

WebmasterWorld Senior Member keyplyr us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 7:29 am on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

I also use this feature at G-Diddy. Been doing it for about 6 years with no negative affect (.net, .com, etc all point to same site.)

The forwarding is done at the registrar level, so these are not doorway pages which G deems as artificial links. Since there's actually no duplicate content, that penalty does not apply either.

A 301 does not apply since these domains are not hosted at the web site server. Of course your mileage may vary.

Tastatura

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 10:54 am on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

You can set up 301 or 302 redirect at godaddy

This is not the best of advice - you can create a duplicate issue when more than one domain name resolves to the same content.

...and if you want to mess with your competitor...(not that I recommend this)

Atomic

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 8:59 pm on Dec 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

I also use this feature at G-Diddy. Been doing it for about 6 years with no negative affect (.net, .com, etc all point to same site.)

I've been doing this for one site for over 10 years with no problems. No duplicate issues I can think of nor any other problem.

Tropical Island

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tropical_island us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 12:26 pm on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have been doing this since 1999 with more than 8 domains pointing to my main site using Interland (now Web.com).

I have had no adverse effects.

bwnbwn

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 2:26 pm on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I did the same as well and got nailed with dupe sites. Was using the domain forwarding from host they are all 320's. I thought they would as well be safe but one of the forwardng doamins was used as a link and this caused the issue.

Go daddy suppose to have the 301 you can set up from their account but it didn't trrow a 301 in the header we still got a 302.

Moved all domains to my server and did a 301 best bet to play it safe and not chance the page getting linked as mine did

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 4:35 pm on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

That is exactly the issue.

It's true that many site owners have done this kind of domain forwarding for years and had no problems. But if googlebot gets even one url that uses an alternate domain name and then starts spidering all the relative links with the alternate domain name, you can be on your way to some trouble.

This kind of trouble can begin innocently, or sometimes as a kind of intentional sabotage, but it's better to use a true 301 redirect solution and side-step the whole thing.

ronin100

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 9:00 pm on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

The domains I alluded to are hosted at G-Diddy and would simply be pointed at my site.

"A 301 does not apply since these domains are not hosted at the web site server."

I was thinking along these lines - since the domains are just sitting as parked by G-D and have no content, nothing to link to.

That is unless someone got to it via the domain not hosted by Yahoo! (a Y! store) and then wrote a mall article on our product line and threw us a link as well as a couple competitor links as sources of the products. This has happeed to me legally a few times.

If they put the wrong URL in their post it might be found out by Google becuase of that link Tedster? Just want to understand.

So is the consensus that it's ok - but with some members say use the 301 re-direct feature.

Problem is - I don't see any need since it's no content?

How do I know if G-diddy is realy giving me a true 301 re-direct? And, wouldn't that be NOT the case - since the material was never moved form one to another URL?

I'm still confused? Do it without 301 or not? Not to do at all? To do with 301 feature from host (GoDaddy) or w/o it?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 9:14 pm on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

If they put the wrong URL in their post it might be found out by Google becuase of that link Tedster? Just want to understand.

Yes, that's the kind of scenario I was talking about.

How do I know if G-diddy is realy giving me a true 301 re-direct?

Use Firefox and install the LiveHTTPheaders add-on (extension). Either a 301 or 301 redirect will change the domain name in the location bar, but the HTTP header information shows you the back-and-forth talk between the server and your browser. The 301 or 302 status code is right there for you to see.

Many registrars today have begun to offer the 301 redirect option for alternate domain names. Some offer it only if you request, others seem to offer it as part of the user interface. But you're right to double check the configuration you have set up with any specific service.

I don't see any need since it's no content?

If you type in www.example.net/page123.htm and it shows the same page as www.example.com/page123.htm without changing the url in the address bar, then the potential for trouble exists - no matter where that content seems to "live" on the server.

The only way to be certain that this virtual land mine won't explode in the future is to use a 301 redirect. Then you will see 1) the url change from .net to .com in the location bar, and 2) the http header will show a 301 status.

bwnbwn

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 9:23 pm on Dec 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

ronin100
You need to have the domains added to your server. Since you really don't know how get your hosting company to add them to the server. Ask them to 301 them to the domain you want the sites to go to.

After the hosting company sends back a completed email

Check each site by searching for "header Checker" in google insert the domain name that is being forwarded it shold say

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently

then below that it should have the domain it is going to that should say

HTTP/1.1 200 OK

If it has

HTTP/1.1 302 Moved Temporarily send them the info ask them to make it a 301. Most hosting techs don't know the difference so you need to check all the domains you are adding to the server to be redirected.

This is the only safe way to do it any other way is playing with a loaded gun....

So the answer to the question do a 301......

Gshaughn

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 12:16 am on Jan 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

A few years ago a prominent SEO site published a diagram showing several domains being forwarded (hosted using 301, parked using domain fwd'ing from registrar) to a single "feeder" domain that was hosted, then the "feeder" hosted domain pointing to the main site you want the juice to end up with a single 301 redirect. Basically a funnel instead of a bunch of domains going to one domain. The idea was that Google only passed the age/juice of 1 domain to another.

Does that funnel model make sense?

I deployed it and checked the headers and they were all using 301. Randomly, I recently checked the headers of one of the sites going to the "feeder" domain and it was a 302. Whoa, how did that happen, my guess is the registrar changed the way they did it, or my client switched registrars. I am assuming the 302 is bad, even going to the feeder domain.

I double checked the "feeder" domain and the non-www version is displaying "No web site is configured at this address." while the www version is redirecting, but not using a 301. How could that happen? Apparently that was somehow altered, because it worked before.

I am going to go back and set it up in a 'funnel' format unless anyone has a suggestion for doing it differently....

Is anyone aware of any tools that are able to identify domains being redirected to a domain? It would be nice to see all the sites that are 301'd into the feeder site.

-Greg

Gshaughn

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 12:17 am on Jan 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

FYI - the 'random check' took place a couple years after the original funnel set up.

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 11:01 pm on Jan 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Point all of the domains at the one hosting plan where all your content resides, and then have your own .htaccess file on that server sort out which requests are sent a 301 redirect and which will be served the requested content.

I don't use the funnel technique at all. As I see it, it's an extra level of complexity that you do not need.

.

For all domains that you own, do these two searches:

site:domain.com -inurl:www
site:www.domain.com

Google should show zero results except for one version of one domain, where it should list the whole site.

.

The ODP originally had ~34 ways to get to their site as hosted by Netscape/AOL servers. The redirection was fixed a few months ago. Now only one version works. If you are very quick, you can find the last few listings for many of the alternative domains still indexed by Google. The alternatives are dropping out of their index very fast now. Down from hundreds of thousands to thousands within a month or two, down to hundreds in a few more weeks, and now down to the last few dozen URLs. They'll all be long gone by the end of the month if it continues at this rate.

JohnDoealias

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 5:50 am on Jan 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

site:domain.com -inurl:www
site:www.domain.com

Great! Thank you.
Why didn't I know that?

keyplyr

WebmasterWorld Senior Member keyplyr us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 6:15 am on Jan 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

For all domains that you own, do these two searches:

site:domain.com -inurl:www
site:www.domain.com

Google should show zero results except for one version of one domain, where it should list the whole site.

Zero results for all forwarded TDLs. Only target domain returns results. Been DNR forwarding for over 6 years.

Timetraveler

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 6:54 am on Jan 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

I also wouldnt advise doing this. We've done it with about 4 domains which we used as redirects to affiliate links. Later down the road the domains had a decent amount of links pointing to them so I decided it would be a good idea to just forward them to one of my main sites inner page.

The domains related to the page and everything worked out fine for a few months. The page was ranking 2nd for a competitive keyword because of the domain forwarding but then....something happened. The page is no longer in the top 500 results and has been that way for over a month. I can't imagine if we forwarded them to a high trafficked homepage and the same results ended up.

Godaddy might have changed things but now, when you do a domain forward and check the status of the forward via a redirect checker you get a very strange result.

Does anyone know what this means?

Response
- Checked link: http://www.myforwardeddomain.com
- Type of redirect: 302 Moved Temporarily
- Redirected to: http://www.myforwardeddomain.com/?e3bb6400

Before the page got slammed by Google I'm almost certain the redirect checker was showing a proper 301 from myforwardeddomain.com to mainsite.com/page3

My guess is Godaddy changed something in their forwarding process?

Does anyone know what kind of penalty you'll incur by this? Obviously we've seen the loss of ranking in that one page but will this look negatively on the entire site? At this point I'm going to remove the forwarding....or would it be better to just have godaddy host the sites and have them 301 them?

[edited by: tedster at 4:24 am (utc) on Jan. 7, 2008]
[edit reason] de-link the urls [/edit]

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 6:32 pm on Jan 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

The 302 redirect is very bad news. Get rid of it.

Point all of the domains at the one hosting plan where all your content resides, and then have your own .htaccess file on that server sort out which requests are sent a 301 redirect and which will be served the requested content.

Gshaughn

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 3:46 am on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Please explain how to 'point' - are you talking about entering the primary site server's IP address in the various domain's DNS settings at the registrar, then setting up a 301 redirect for each domain to the main domain in the .htaccess file of the primary site. If I understand this correctly, the server request would be made from one of the other domains, the 301 redirect processed at the .htaccess level, and user ends up on the primary site?

Thanks in advance for the clarification.

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 10:49 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

You have one server where the website content resides.

On that same server you also have one .htaccess file.

In that single .htaccess file you test the requested URL and if it is for any of the "wrong" hosts, the server sends the redirect out.

The redirect causes the browser to make a new request, this time for the correct host.

The server uses the very same .htaccess file to test the URL, and this time allows the content to be served.

You have one server in total.

1script

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 11:10 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Throwing in my 2c:

I would create a hosting account per each domain (assuming you should have some sort of a reseller account) and put a .htaccess in the root that 301s to the final domain. It is obviously best to disable everything else on this account: SSH, databases, CGI-BIN, everythign but HTTP. This way you have an immediate control over what points to where and what type of redirect is involved (yeah, like you would ever do anything other than 301 :-) . The nameserver should obviously be your own, not the registrar redirect.

I used to "park" unused domains against a particular domain that has a general web directory. The thinking was - the destination is generic enough to bear any domain's suggested (suggestive :-) theme.

What a MESS it becomes when you are taking a domain out of the idle status and put a real site on it! Not less than a year after having a real site on a domain that was parked like that I just had it's site:mydomain.com return the parked destination (my web directory) domain, most URLs invalid of course because the sitemap was different. The Google traffic went to a stand still. I am so-o-o happy that this was a temporary issue and the site eventually (two weeks) recovered back to where it was and now site:mydomain.com returns correct pages.

So, don't mess with parking domains against the main one, create a separate account for each domain. It's only small additional work and gives you all the control you need.

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 11:18 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

Since all you need to happen is for the .htaccess file to test the requested hostname and issue a redirect if it the wrong one, then you don't need any more hosting.

You don't have one host for www and another for non-www, so in the same way you don't need one host for one domain and another host for another domain. One will do.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 4:42 am on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

...create a separate account for each domain...

No. As g1smd describes, one will do.

Gshaughn

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 2:46 pm on Jan 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

I want to implement your suggestion. I am unclear how to associate the various domains with the main domain's server and .htaccess file. Is this achieved by editing the DNS info at the registrar for each domain (entering the server's IP in primary/secondary dns)?

Does setting up the redirect in .htaccess look something like this...
Redirect 301 http://www.site-be-redirected.com http://www.primarysite.com/

Is this technique documented online anywhere, I'd like to take a look at the syntax. I understand the concept, just need to learn how to implement.

Thanks,
Greg

[edited by: tedster at 4:49 pm (utc) on Jan. 9, 2008]
[edit reason] de-link the urls [/edit]

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 8:51 pm on Jan 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

>> Is this technique documented online anywhere <<

Yes. The question is asked and answered several times per week in the Apache sub-forum here.

There is also a sticky post at the top of that forum leading to some tutorials to get started with.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3534176 posted 7:56 am on Jan 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does setting up the redirect in .htaccess look something like this...
Redirect 301 old-url new-url

Gshaughn - This is the syntax I started using when I first redirected pages. It's simple, and it works for simple redirects, and it works on most Apache servers... but it's very limited in what it can do.

I was encouraged by Jim Morgan who moderates the Apache forum to use mod_rewrite, and I will say that the learning curve intimidated me for quite a while... but it truly is the only way to go. Using either the Redirect 301 or RedirectPermanent syntax, you'll either max out very quickly, and/or you'll get in trouble with some redirects,

For a comparison of this syntax vs mod_rewrite, for one particular example, see this thread....

proper format for RedirectPermanent
several pages pointing to 1 page
[webmasterworld.com...]

Note that mod_rewrite uses a "regular expressions" or "regex" syntax, which is concise and very powerful, but it is not intuitive.

To use mod_rewrite, you also need a host that enables certain Apache modules. Many shared virtual hosting plans don't, so you should be aware of your host's limitations before you rent hosting space... or else be prepared to change hosts if you want to take advantage of what mod_rewrite can do.

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