Breaking Down the Debate: Multi-Domain vs. Single Domain
One of the most common questions we’re asked by clients is whether they should use a single domain or multi-domain strategy for their websites. The short answer? It depends on your goals, as there are benefits to each. Let’s break it down.
What is a Single Domain Strategy vs. a Multi-Domain Strategy?
First things first: what is a single domain strategy and what is a multi-domain strategy?
Single Domain – Websites for multiple properties are housed on one domain (i.e., www.domain.com).
Multi-Domain – Websites for properties are each housed on a separate domain (i.e., www.storeA.com, www.storeB.com, etc.).
Benefits of a Single Domain Strategy
Domain Authority – Domain authority is a search engine ranking score that predicts how well a domain will rank on a search engine results page. It’s easier to gain domain authority when employing a single domain strategy. Single domain websites tend to have more pages, more images, more downloads, and more quality content, improving the strength (authority) of that domain.
Link Building – Inbound links remain a primary ranking factor for local search. Obtaining high-quality, relevant links from authoritative websites can be a challenge. On a single domain strategy, the effect of inbound linking will resonate across the entire domain, rather than being separated across communities on multiple different domains.
Corporate Branding – If you brand all communities under a corporate umbrella, it makes sense to utilize a single domain to house all community websites. It also makes sense if your corporate reputation is a part of your marketing strategy.
Easier to Cross Sell – If a community is fully leased-up or does not offer amenities that match a new prospect’s needs, website users can intuitively engage with the corporate website to search for other nearby locations, rather than exiting the local business’s website to head back to the search engine. Returning renters with a positive customer experience will also be able to more easily search for more communities within the corporate brand.
SEO Efforts Are Compounded – It is much more effective to work on improving the authority of one domain vs 50 domains. SEO efforts can be targeted toward the root domain which will pass authority to the interior pages and locations.
Reduced Cost – Overall, single domains cost less to build and maintain. Rather than buying a domain for each property, you only need to purchase one.
Benefits of a Multi-Domain Strategy
Flexibility – Overall, multiple domains adapt well to changes in ownership and branding and can be more flexible.
Different Owner and Operator – If your business does not manage on-the-ground operations, it can be confusing to residents and prospects if you group locations under a single domain because they might assume that your company takes ownership for the upkeep of their residence. To avoid confusion, it can be useful to choose domains that speak to each asset’s brand, rather than group assets under your corporate brand name.
At G5, we generally recommend that our clients implement a single domain strategy as the benefits tend to outweigh those of a multi-domain strategy. The caveat to that would be for any instance when it doesn’t make sense to associate an individual property with the corporate brand.
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