To establish an online brand presence, you first need to have a website. Without a website, your business could come across as unimportant or unreliable to users, even if you're active on social media. A website serves as your digital “office” or “store,” which potential customers visit to check out your business. The better your website, the more reputable your business will be.
Building a high-quality website takes more than just choosing a good design. You need to think strategically about all aspects of your website, including your domain name. The domain name, or web address, is what users type into a browser to reach your website. It should be recognizable as connected with your brand.
Registering a domain name is the first step to creating a credible online presence, and it can be equally important to choosing a company logo. Choosing the right domain can draw in customers and increase engagement, as well as build authority for search engine optimization (SEO). It's more than a simple web address—it's part of your marketing strategy.
When you're dealing with several brand locations, like in the multifamily housing industry, choosing a domain name takes more careful thought. Specifically, you need to decide whether you want a single domain for all locations (www.yourportfolioname.com/avenue) or multiple domains, one for each location (www.eachindividuallocationname.com), or even a combination of the two. Each option has benefits, depending on your brand. To help you determine which approach works best for your company, ask yourself the following questions.
How important is the corporate brand?
If your brand is leveraged across your individual locations, a single domain may better reflect this relationship. Each location can then benefit from being associated with the brand, which potential customers may already be familiar with. They may search for the brand and be enticed to consider alternative business locations they didn’t originally know about.
However, if each location has a unique brand that's less dependent on the corporate brand, multiple domain names can be an option, but that has to be backed by your branding strategy and support for marketing that downplays SEO value. Customers may not be aware of the corporate connection and get confused by a corporate domain when searching for a particular location. They'd expect a single domain for that location, since it's distinct from the others.
And then there is the combination path. Selecting a single domain as the primary website address across all your locations while also purchasing individual domain names that point to the individual websites. Again this option is not optimal for Search Engines. That way you get the recognizable domains for the individual businesses which can be used in your print advertising and easier for people to remember. This allows you to gain the SEO benefits while providing users with multiple ways to find you, your corporate name or the individual business name.
How will the domain affect SEO?
There are significant SEO benefits to having a single domain that covers all your locations. With a single domain, search engines like Google see your website as having more pages and relevance, which increases its SEO value. Instead of a handful of “shallow” websites, where users are done after a few clicks, you'd have one powerful domain that's rich with content. Google values this depth of content, possibly leading to a higher ranking.
This SEO advantage is a significant reason why companies choose to have a single domain. Even if your portfolio is small, having one website for several locations shows Google that your brand is consistent and trustworthy. Since Google wants to promote reliable brands, you’ll reap greater SEO benefits if you have one domain rather than many smaller websites.
How long has your domain been around? How authoritative is it?
If you have a domain that has existed for a long time and built up authority (meaning Google trusts it), it's generally a good idea to keep that domain. Having strong Domain Authority means that your domain is already ranking well on search engines. That's very valuable. A domain can't become authoritative overnight; it takes considerable time and investment. If possible, try to keep that advantage.
To find out how authoritative your domain is, you can install a toolbar from Moz in your browser. This toolbar will give you a range of SEO metrics, including Domain Authority, which will help you evaluate whether your website is worth keeping. You can also ask a specialist at G5 to look at your domains and help you choose a domain strategy that works best for your company.
Through working with G5, your domain can become an asset that reflects your brand and helps you achieve your goals. Schedule a consultation today to get the best advice for your business, ensuring that you have a domain that engages customers and draws users to your website.