Dear Matt Cutts, What’s Your Take On Addon Domains?

Today Matt Cutts answered a question from “Land Lubber”, Colorado. Land Lubber asks:

What’s your take on “addon domains”? Does Google penalize someone for having one or more addon domains on their main website, (or if they’re self hosting)? e.g. 2, 5, or 10 all coming from the same IP address, would that be bad? – Land Lubber, CO

Matt responded with the following:

Land Lubber, I live in a golden castle in the sky, and I have never had to use shared hosting in my life. Furthermore, I never listen to silly seo rumors either, so I had no idea people were even wasting time on such ridiculous ideas. To be honest, I have no idea what an “addon domain” is, even though you spelled it out for me as being multiple domains on the same hosting account. Therefore, I am just going to make something up and talk about that instead. – Matt Cutts… well, sorta, interpreted

Here is the actual video:



My take? Obviously based on Matt’s response as long as you are not doing it for spammy purposes Google doesn’t give a rats ass if you have more than one site on the same account. Hopefully his lack of caring (or knowing) about it clears that up. πŸ™‚

Update: Here is a link where Matt dispelled the myth that multiple sites all hosted on the same IP would be an inherent issue with Google all the way back in 2006:

Myth busting: virtual hosts vs. dedicated IP addresses

12 thoughts on “Dear Matt Cutts, What’s Your Take On Addon Domains?”

  1. I wanted to answer the question about multiple domains first and foremost because we get that question a lot more often. In general, having domains on the same IP isn’t going to cause a penalty (engineer note: that’s not always the case. If an IP address has 26,000 spammy porn domains plus your one good domain, then you might still have reason to switch IP addresses. I have seen that happen in the distant past).

    Some webhosts make addon domains also available as subdomains or subdirectories on the main domain. That can cause minor duplicate content issues if Google discovers the content is available on a different path on the main domain, but typically it’s not a problem.

    Since the addon domain typically looks completely normal from a Googlebot/web browser perspective (the magic happens server-side with the webhost), addon domains should work fine (except for my caveats above about massive spam on your IP or discovering your content at a different url path).

    Is that concrete enough for you? πŸ˜‰

    P.S. I still have a shared hosting account that I use for some testing. And I have used addon domains myself at a different webhost. :p

  2. Matt, thank you for clarifying. I actually got in a rather large argument with a web designer friend over this subject, and she got all pissed off when I accused her of spreading ignorance (which, ok, probably not the wisest choice of words), so it is nice to have a solid response to point to. πŸ™‚

    Also, I retract the “he doesn’t do it like us commoners do” tweet I posted earlier. πŸ˜€ It is good to know you still test things in a real world environment too.

  3. It’s nice to see Matt Cutts find and answer open questions to him. You have to admit, he handled the question well without being sarcastic like the question πŸ™‚

  4. What about the class c ? Its well reported that having connecting sites (linking) on the same class c reduces the value of the link?

  5. @Mark – that is not “well reported”, that is another one of those rumors that people have been propagating as truth. This rumor started somewhere back in 2002/2003 as far as I can tell. In fact, the rumor about shared hosting stemmed directly from the linking rumor.

    The evolution of it started with a discussion on link farms, and went something like this:

    1. Link farms are bad. (this is true)
    2. Therefore, Google might penalize you if you link your own sites together. (this is true if you are doing it for spam, or if it looks that way, but in general this is not a true statement)
    3. Google will not know they are all your sites if they are all on different IP’s. (technically, without looking they won’t know even if they are on the same IP)
    4. Google will automatically penalize sites that are on the same IP linking to each other. (this is completely untrue)

    The thing is, this is so easy for anyone to test for themselves that it makes no sense to me that it still persists as a rumor 7-8 years later.

  6. Aha!! Now I get it. Thanks for commenting Matt. I appreciate your videos **alot**.

    Yesβ€”your answer here is exactly what I was looking for. (i.e. it is “concrete enough”).

    This is really funny, though… I still have no idea why I didn’t just use my real name. I’m originally from the Bay Area, California, so I’m not really a Land Lubber after all. I guess I just figured Matt wouldn’t answer any of my questions. πŸ™‚

  7. Matt, I’m continually appreciative of you speaking so openly on so many different platforms. You know your words will be misunderstood, misinterpreted, and even misquoted, yet you continue to be engaging and open. Thank you.

  8. @maurice – regardless of whether or not they are used for routing or network designation, a Class C is still the way people lump contiguous IP’s that all share the first 24 bits.

  9. I guess all of us doesn’t give a damn if one person have multiple domains as long as it is not spamming. Mike and Matt thanks guys for clarifying these issues about multiple domains.

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