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Buying Domains Then 301 Redirecting for Ranking Boost

     
11:45 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm thinking of buying domain names that have decent links to them and then 301 redirecting them to my main domain in order for it's search engine ranking for keywords to be boosted.

The domains I would buy would be relevant to my main domain. I'm assuming that 301 redirecting would transfer the link juice from these other domains to my main one.

Has anyone tried this tactic? If so, what were the results?
3:46 am on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hello jbullet, and welcome to the forums.

The first observation - this is not something Google wants to reward. No doubt they see it as trying to manipulate search results.

I know of several cases where this tactic was tried. Sometimes Google catches that there's a new owner for those domains and resets the to zero, and the purchase price is essentially down the drain. In other cases it seems to work out.

I've heard of cases where the newly purchased domains just operated as is for a few months. Then some links (not redirects) were introduced to the owners other domain. And then slowly, eventually, a full 301 was introduced. In those cases, the PR seemed to be preserved. And yet, in a similar case the new owner actually got a penalty.

Google knows people do this and as I said, they don't really like it. Why it works sometimes and not others - what makes the difference - is not 100% clear. I've heard it described as a "risky dance" you've got to play, and there's never a guarantee.
10:06 am on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi tedster, thanks for your message. I asked to find out people's experience so maybe if we get enough replies with people with experience maybe we'll be able to work out in which situations these 301 redirects seem to benefit search engine results.

Of course, if the 301 redirects don't work I can use the domains to place links on to my websites.

Another question, if I purchase a domain from an auction does anyone know if it will lose its link juice?
10:27 am on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Tedster, what is the main risk? If I buy a.com and redirect to b.com, what is the main risk? Do I get a penalty for a.com or b.com? If it is for a.com and let's say you lose all your rankings for a.com, it might worth a try. Now, if the risk is of losing rankings for b.com, that is another story, noone would want to risk his own domain name...
12:14 pm on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It would be a shame if a site loses a lot of link juice from a 301 as I'm sure there are lots of brand related reasons why a company would want to change to a new domain.
1:53 pm on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I recently bought a site with a poor rank, possibly running a penality and began 301'n the site, complete with structure page by page slowly to an existing domain that I had which I thought better suited the content.

I planned to do it over a period of time, hoping that it would improve. At first the positions were great and I had many high flying in the top 10, but after around 7 days the pages slipped back to around 3 positions below where the site was originally.
2:19 pm on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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You need to consider first that Mr. Google is reading this thread. Why wouldn't they? It's a great counter strike.

I would say, it's a bad idea in my opinion. If you do find your original site punished with a penalty or drop in rankings then what? How do you know what triggered it? That pretty much means those domains you 301'd likely have to go bye bye. At that point what happened to the original domains trust in Google's eyes. That's taking a hit.

I've heard Cutts say in the past that 301's are okay, but if there are lot or an odd pattern, they will look at those more closely. It's also pretty damn hard to keep a domain sale a secret from Google. I'm sure they are especially good at that game. Afterall, if what you're talking about was successful 50% of the time, it would be more than a small problem.

I can say when I've bought a domain the rankings went down the toilet, or reset to zero as Tedster said. Those were without being able to keep the original content. If you can keep the original content as is, then maybe worth doing. Very slowly would be my advice.
2:55 pm on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It would be a shame if a site loses a lot of link juice from a 301 as I'm sure there are lots of brand related reasons why a company would want to change to a new domain.


In that instance it would be different. The "old" domain would have been registered to the company previously so it's more obvious what is going on.
7:14 am on Aug 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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In most of these link boost strategies (be it 301, interlinking own sites etc), a lot depends on what percentage of a site's overall link juice is due to such strategies. If a site has a respectable number of independent, trusted links, these strategies in moderation give good upside.
8:57 am on Aug 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for all of the replies so far. Makes for fascinating reading.
11:06 am on Aug 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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There is a company in the UK does something like this

They buy aged and well linked sites, all above PR3, and relevant to your niche, they rewrite the site, be it around 9-12 pages and then link to your main site, which i have seen a few examples and works really well.

If you do this get a friend to buy the sites for, so as the registered keeper is different and you should have no problem

I would not 301 just keep you as the sole external link from that site
4:57 pm on Aug 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I know of a company whose promotional methods were very much like this - and some were even more clever and hard to uncover. Google did uncover it, however, and they banned every single client. So it is definitely not without risk.