Domain Crowding Search Spam Complaints

Jul 5, 2013 • 8:45 am | comments (13) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

packed elevatorI hate being in over packed elevators, don't you? Now, imagine if the elevator comfortably fits 8 people, but you are in it with a total of 10 people. Now imagine if 9 of the other people are clones of the same person. Would you find that fair? Would you find it crazy and unwarranted?

That is the way some SEOs and webmasters feel about a topic in the search field named "Multiple Domains Crowding."

It is basically the process of a webmasters or SEO owning multiple domains and web sites, that target the same query phrase. They are hoping to crowd the first page of search results with only their web sites, this way if a consumer clicks on the first result and decides not to buy there, they can then click on the second or third or forth and buy from that site. The money and traffic all goes to the same place.

A WebmasterWorld thread has complaints from some SEOs about this practice.

The truth is, this has been going on since before Google even existed. But that being said, there has not been strong spam prevention algorithms to block this from happening. Outside of the duplicate content algorithms, it is believed that even if a different site is owned by the same owner, both have a strong opportunity to rank well.

Reseller at WebmasterWorld wrote:

For example a kind WebmasterWorld member has sent me some search queries related to niche "Assisted Living" which illustrated how at least 3 different domains of same owner are within top 10 results of first page of Google Serps for the same search query. Such spam method is pushing possible valuable sites of honest webmasters out of top ranking on Google Serps.

And I don't see any effect on Multiple Domains Crowding spam by current Google algo rollout which Matt Cutts has announced recently, unfortunately.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for crowded elevator

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Jawad Latif

07/05/2013 01:02 pm

A good point raised. Never thought from such perspective before.

Milind Mody

07/05/2013 01:36 pm

Not sure how Google can stop that? Even if they use whois, what prevents people from using different whois info for each domain? Unless someone checks manually, I do not see a solution.

Milind Mody

07/05/2013 01:47 pm

And while we are talking of domain crowding spam, how about domain authority spam? Even for local search queries, aggregators and directories are making a killing. The knob on authority is turned on and is so powerful, a few months back it had completely screwed the discussions search (basically search for forums). All it gave was google groups as results. You had google groups ranking basically for all top 100 results. They improved that. But what about regular serps? Show local businesses . Why would I want to see a yellowpages or superpages or other such directories in SERPS when I can go to these sites directly?


07/05/2013 02:41 pm

Google would have to look into the actual source where the 'contact us' form goes, or how the products are being sourced, and put 2 & 2 together. Plus, it actually is what you said - there's a lot of 'manual reviewing' going on at Google.

Martin Oxby

07/05/2013 06:54 pm

And we are finding more and more clients now asking if they just buy can they just rank that way. My major issue is the crowding thing is short-sighted and doesn't really reinforce brand at all. And it is causing, along with the 'multiple entries for eBay, or Amazon etc' in the SERPs, a deterioration of customer choice during their decision making process. And less choice surely doesn't serve the user of Google well. The complex thing is that a lot of human review is needed to do it as IPs, even WHOIS can be manipulated so identifying common ownership is difficult. As with every spammy tactic it will eventually stop working, but it won't stop people getting the quick hit now while they can. Frustratingly.


07/05/2013 09:36 pm

Another fine example is web hosting, fatcow, ipage, justhost, bluehost and the list goes on is all owned by same company. and they all crowd the first and second page


07/05/2013 11:32 pm

Getting a quick hit seems to be the surest bet with Google these days. No point in looking into the future because one small algo tweak can send a site tumbling down. Hell, Google might decide to target your site in the future just because it's not the type of site they want ranking or it could be a bug in the algo or an algo tweak that's not well thought out etc. So how safe are you really by playing it safe? I know I always played it safe and got screwed. Had I been motivated by money and only aimed at ranking high regardless of side effects, I'd probably be better off today.


07/05/2013 11:41 pm

I know I've seen the same owners use multiple sites but they had private registration. I was able to tell it's the same owner only because of the way the products were presented. To a human it's obvious but I don't know how an algo would be able to tell. It would requiring analyzing patterns and I think we already know how good Google is at analyzing patterns LOL - so many legitimate businesses would get screwed. I think I'd rather see domain crowding.

Peter Watson

07/06/2013 12:33 am

Crowding is a real issue for the niche 'business for sale' in Australia. But it isn't the one owner of different urls, the issue is 3 or 4 sites taking up page 1. Sometimes I even see the 1 site taking up 4 position, and it exists in mobile search too. I had never seen this problem before until Matt Cutts announced they were working on it months ago. Driving me crazy!

the sniga

07/06/2013 04:52 am

It's an old issue...I have seen many of tricks to force all the traffic at one place and Google don't have any guideline over it. One thing they can do that they can ask to about domain owner and give manual

Winston Burton

07/08/2013 02:31 am

I have noticed this as well. This happens a lot for employment related searches . For example if you type in Pharmaceutical sales jobs, owns three of the listings on the page. The quality of the SERPs has really gone downhill.

Martin Oxby

07/09/2013 12:27 pm

I wish I could disagree with you. Although I will continue to play it safe, more and more I am understanding why people might go for the 'smash and grab' short-termist approach. This is not the sort of behaviour Google should be encouraging yet it seems that this is what they are doing...


07/10/2013 05:55 am

I agree with some of this but there are franchise sites that need a seperate site for several reasons. 1) no blog available on the franchise site 2) no local feel or easy updating just a corporate site that doesn't let your business shine along with the brand and 3) the corporate site has created a local site for each market they service and its riddled with duplicate content. those reasons above would make me understand exactly why someone may have a local site and a corporate given franchise site and if they both rank why should that be considered any type of spam? sometimes companies do it for the better usage of their visitors and you can spot those people. they are the ones that have 2 different sites, different content and a lot more user engagement on one over the other on the other hand if we are talking about 10 sites than I have to agree. I think if you are doing it for good reasons, customer, usage and better experience reasons not for spam or deceptive reasons I could never see google having an issue. that's just my two cents.

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