Last week, I forwarded and masked a new domain (that I had created to match my Twitter name KeepUpWeb) to this website. Yesterday, I went back to my GoDaddy domain manager and took the “masking” off. This means that if someone keys the URL www.KeepUpWeb.com into their browser address bar, after they’re redirected here, the URL www.KeepUpWithTheWeb.com will appear as the address. Why did I change my mind?
Well, for starters, when I was reading my blog posts with my domain name masked, the title of my articles did not appear in my browser address bar. That’s a problem because I couldn’t tell at a glance which of my posts I was reading. I take care selecting the title for each of my posts and I make sure that they contain the keywords that reflect the content. I didn’t want to lose an opportunity to display those keywords. I also didn’t want to risk confusing my visitors by not providing one more signpost of where they were on my site.
Another bigger issue that I should have considered is how “masking” affects my ranking by the search engines. How well my site ranks in the search engines determines whether or not it will be returned in the results page of an Internet search and even if it will be returned at all. If my sites don’t rank well, I’ll get fewer visitors “organically”.
After some research, I realized that masking my redirected domain name creates the perception of duplicate content. Search engines like Google hate duplicate content.
By masking one of my domain names, Google and the other search engines saw the two different addresses, http://keepupwiththeweb.com and http://www.keepupweb.com as two different sites with identical content. If I had left it that way, the search engines could simply pick just one of my two domain names to index – which would result in my losing the traffic to the other domain name in my rankings. They could also penalize me in other ways.
Who knows exactly what would happen? I certainly don’t know. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a science in itself. It seems every time the SEO experts figure out how to rank well in the search engines, the algorithms change or some other new logic is introduced.
So to recap:
- Forwarding my domain name keepupweb.com to keepupwiththeweb.com – good idea.
- Masking my domain name keepupweb.com – bad idea.
Comments? Experiences to share? I’d love to hear from you. As for more info and thoughts on SEO and SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) – look for more articles from me in the future.