Mistyped Domain Names

Posted on 25. Nov, 2009 by in Education

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Here is some advice about Mistyped Domain Names, this is relevant to Affiliates, Merchants and Networks, in fact anyone who owns a website.

Here Is Why You Should Be Interested

Last week I typed in our favourite Affiliate Forums URL but used .co.uk instead of .com. Now I have Google Toolbar installed on IE (also happens in Google Chrome browser) so it warned me that not only did the .co.uk go no place “Oops! This link appears to be broken.” but also gave me a choice as to what it thinks I am looking for with statement “Did you mean:” and then a choice of URLs.

What Happens

Now it got it right in this occasion but what if it showed your competitors site via a Domain Name that you own, you would be kicking yourself for sending them free traffic right? Well probably not, because you won’t have a clue that’s happen. However your competitor could be rubbing their hands thanking you for all the lovely type in traffic from a domain name they don’t own. However this mostly happens only with sites that share common keywords in their domains, so for example if you owned a domain name but didn’t redirect it any place, someone could just add “the” to the start of the domain on the same extension, get a few links to it and Google could be tricked in to thinking did you mean this URL instead of the one with the correct extension.

What You Can Do

I am going to break it down into action steps.

  1. Audit your main sites, what extensions have you bought .co.uk, .org.uk, .com, .net, .org etc make a list and check what they do when you type them into different browsers.
  2. Have all additional domain names pointing to your main site. Make sure you 301 redirect them to your main site so don’t end up with duplicate content across different domain extensions.
  3. What common misspellings do you own, redirect them also. If you don’t have any misspelt domains and are running a popular site, think about covering the bases on this, you don’t need to bother if your sites low traffic, no ones going to bother.

Remember some users will give up if the domain name they think it is didn’t work most likely heading off to do a search either for you if your lucky or the product/service they are thinking about buying if your not. Not all browsers are helpful and some toolbars are actually very damaging to your traffic by diverting users to a competitor if your URL fails to work.

Now to just get round to checking all the sites I own, it could be a while 😉

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @ClarkeDuncan

One Response to “Mistyped Domain Names”

  1. Finch

    27. Nov, 2009

    It always amuses me how marketers are ready to snap up some ridiculous domains out there.

    I think every variation of Google is taken up to something like 60 zeros.

    google.com
    goooooogle.com
    gooooooooooooogle.com

    I don’t see any point personally. But then, I have a domain that isn’t really mistakable for anything I’d bother to buy. I do buy “type in friendly” urls for new projects if I think it’s going to be super competitive though