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2 Domains - 1 Site: Best Practice

Using 2 domain names with one site

9:47 pm on Jan 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hey all...

First time poster. I have a client with 2 domain names...


Each domain name currently points to it's own server space, but you will notice that the 2 sites are actually exactly the same. The reason why they did this (many years ago) is they purchased example.com for it's great organic listings. But the company's primary site (example.net) was already set up. Rather than just park or point example.com to the company site, they decided to keep it entirely separate. Over time the two sites remained separate, but the content became the same.

Turns out this has worked. example.com continues to generate great organic listings in Google, and example.net is advertised via Adwords.

So here's the rub...

Now the client wants to transition to a Wordpress site. So we're moving to a new server, and need to consolidate. My thinking is to make example.com the primary domain name, and park example.net. But I'm not sure.

The company's actual name is example.net & all email is based of this domain name. As Wordpress requires a primary domain name, it would be nice for it to be example.net. But I'm thinking if I set it up this way, and park example.com as the secondary (or should I do a 301 redirect instead?) it will destroy my organic listings in Google.

Anyone have any suggestions / know what's best practice? Many many thanks in advance. :)


[edited by: bill at 1:19 am (utc) on Jan 6, 2013]
[edit reason] use example.com or example.net [/edit]

11:57 am on Jan 6, 2013 (gmt 0)


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

joined:Aug 10, 2004
votes: 106

welcome to WebmasterWorld, Bryan!

in general it would be best to use the domain that is performing best and in fact use the same urls after transitioning, especially those urls which are getting referred traffic.

you should also implement a 301 redirect of any non-canonical url requests to the canonical domain and path in a single hop.

revisiting the domain question:
- you might consider other issues affecting the value of your domain selection such as if the domain name matches your brand or if it is a short or memorable domain.
- there are additional issues to consider when selecting a domain on a ccTLD versus a gTLD if you are targeting a worldwide search audience or geotargeting.
8:42 pm on Jan 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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park example.com as the secondary (or should I do a 301 redirect instead?)

Wipe that word "park" from your mind. If humans and/or search engines have been using both names, and you've already got past the "If it ain't broke don't fix it" point, then you've got no choice but to pick one name and redirect the other. The only remaining question is which.

The mechanics should be dead easy; you may not even need to create any new code. If the DNS points both names to the same place, your default canonicalization redirect -- the one that picks up with/without www. issues and similar -- will automatically deal with the "wrong" domain name as well.

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