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I have an old site that is Dmoz, Yahoo listed etc. that generates the vast majority of my online income. I have always hated the domain name because it's virtually unbrandable and not good for type-ins and easily confused with others. The site ranks great in google in a really competitive niche. The pages that perform the best relate to various states in the US. I have 50 pages in this section about California Widgets, Florida Widgets, Texas Widgets etc. Those pages all rank in the top 5 and have for years. Again, those pages put much of the food on the family table. Each one has good content related to the relevant state.
I would really like to break each state page out into it's own domain and build more content for each. The problem is that these state pages don't naturally draw good links. They rank well based on the authority of my main domain. If I create some new domains and then 301 the existing pages to the new domains, I'm afraid that they won't have any authority or juice to support them.
I would probably buy 50 domains now, put some content on them, link to them and let them sit and age for 6 months or so before doing the 301 from my main site... but even then I can't see where they are going to draw their authority from except through the 301 from my existing site.
Is this likely to work? Would you take the chance? Of course I might try to do it with a single state or two with little traffic at first just to see, but it scares me to think about it. But, the upside if it worked as planned would be fantastic. I could finally brand these sites and generate some type-in traffic through offline advertising etc.
I have seen this done with one of the larger gas price sites, but I assume that their state domains are able to generate links on their own. Mine will be hard-pressed to get natural links due to the content.
Location-based domains are currently a deluge in Google and they've got to be addressing the situation. The near future may not be pleasant for every "location-keyword" site owner.
Instead, I'd look for other ways to market in addition to organic search. If your content has a physical presence, have you looked into GeoSearch as a way to strengthen your future presence in Google Maps and Google Earth? Here's a reference [webmasterworld.com] for that,