More than one website?

Can I have two driving school websites to allow me to rank better for different search terms?

This is a question that I get asked quite a lot and I can understand the motivation. If your site is ranking quite well for people searching for driving lessons in your town, could you have a different website aimed at ranking for automatic driving lessons in your town or intensive driving courses in your town?

To find the answer to that question, our best resource is to go to Google itself for answers. John Mueller of Google has made it very clear that their preference is for one business to have one website. So if you have two completely separate businesses – a driving school and a plumbing supplies business for instance then of course it’s appropriate to have two different websites.

If however it is just different products or supplies from the same business then Google is clear. You should only have one website. So the key then is to make sure your site is optimised not just for the term you are ranking for but also the terms that you want to rank for such as “automatic driving lessons” or “intensive courses”. The best way is to ensure you have a well optimised keyword rich page for the topic you want to rank for, some inbound links to that specific page and good internal linking structure to that page.

Could I make it look to Google as though it is two different businesses?

You can try! Here are some clues that may suggest to Google that you are trying to game the system:

  1. Domain registered in the same name at the same address
  2. Same hosting company/server
  3. Similarity of design and site content
  4. Same contact details on the site
  5. If you set up a Google My Business account, that the contact details are the same
  6. Links from and to the same external sites eg your Facebook page

Can it hurt to have two sites?

Of course you may find that you can successfully game the system in which case the strategy is a win for you. However, if Google detects that it is a duplicate and the result is that you don’t get ranked then you’ve wasted your time and money. More seriously there is the possibility that your existing site also gets demoted. Ranking well in Google can be very fragile and one small thing can negatively affect your ranking.

So, in conclusion it’s all about risk and reward. Is the risk of getting penalised worth the potential reward of getting more visitors through having two websites?

And the final takeaway – don’t become over reliant on Google organic search traffic. Although it’s a great source of visitors, if something goes wrong and you are over-reliant on Google you’re stuffed. Make sure you diversify your marketing.