Buying and Forwarding Domain names JUST for SEO is a Bad Idea

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Buy Your First

I was referred to two recent blog posts about forwarding domain names, and I mean absolutely no disprespect at all to the author, but while there are legitimate and very useful ways to use domain forwarding, there was an aspect of her piece that I strongly disagree with; You should Forward domains for the SEO benefit and traffic from search engines. I thought that I should repost my comment as a blog post, so here's what I think (and again, no disrespect at all to the original author)

 

DOING THIS FOR "SEO PURPOSES" IS A BAD IDEA!

Let me say this again with even more emphasis with Italics and Underline

DOING THIS FOR "SEO PURPOSES" IS A BAD IDEA!

Do I have your attention? I hope so, because this type of thinking is exactly what has caused other major problems for Realtors in the past. How so? If it seems to be working, then why not do it?

The Parable of the Reciprocal Links

Let's look back to our not so distant history, and look at 2004-2007. A Realtor hears about the need for a website to get inbound links...and they say "Hmm, who can I get to link to me...I know! Realtor B down the hall has a website too! He can link to me!" So when he talks to Realtor B, they say "okay, but only if you link BACK to me. So they start reciprocally linking, and both their domains increase in rankings! Then Realtor C hears about it, and he exchanges links with Realtor A and Realtor B. They all increase their rankings. So the other realtors start hearing about it, and they start a referal system and spend dozens even hundreds of hours exchanging links. Why? Because it worked! It got them rankings and traffic beyond imagination!

Annnndddd thennnn

The bottom dropped out. Yahoo, then Google both looked at the site they were ranking for terms and saw this huge bloated monsterous tangle of Realtors linking back and forth and sideways and asked " Why would it matter if an Alaskan Realtor linked to a Florida Realtor? Is someone looking for a home in Juno REALY going to find that reference at all helpful? NO Is there any reason these Realtors are linked OTHER THAN they got improved Rankings? NO

BRIMSTONE! FIRE! DEVASTATION!

The great Voice of the Algorithm had spoken! Certain groups of sites were totally removed temporarily from the index of Yahoo. Others lost all ranking, great mass panic and finger pointing ensued. At a conference, Google confirms that reciprocal "link farms" like the one that Realtors had built, were at best going to be ignored, at worst could trigger penalties. Hundred of hours spent by Realtors exchanging links simply vanished. The Moral Of The Story Do NOT just do something because "it worked". Now, the Realtors involved in the reciprocal link exchange didn't do wrong by linking to other sites...nor linking to each other on a 1 to 1 basis. What they got wrong was that they weren't really adding ANY VALUE to the customer/visitor of their site, and by extension the customer/user of Google/Yahoo. The Search Engines bottom line is to direct their users to the most Authorative and Relevant website for a particular search term. The search engines are not a "static experience" they are updating their process every month, every week, every day. Don't just do something for SEO "because it works".

--That being said--

a. I believe that using domains as forwards for Print Advertising Campaign is a GREAT IDEA. (Because it's useful to your customers to make getting to the site easier)

b. Using redirects for a domain that you used to have a site at and moved is a GREAT IDEA. (Because it's useful to your customer to make sure they still get to the site they wanted to reach)

Not a Set it and Forget it situation:

Simply buying dozens and dozens of domain names, and forwarding them in Godaddy is not going to give you instant results. If you actually google the domain referenced as an example livingatrhodesranch.com you'll see that there are links pointed to the domain from multiple sources on multiple sites. You may also want to note that the domain doesn't just point to her site's homepage, she has it redirected to a page built out with Rhodes Ranch information and homes. So it's not a magic fix that will let you walk away from doing real internet marketing.

-My 2 Cents- DO THE WORK REAP THE REWARDS: Instead of just 1 click masking a domain and expecting leads to materialize, do the work. Open a free Wordpress.com site, add some relevant information to the city, and your service, link to your listings, spend $8 to redirect the domain to it, build some inbound links from valid sources (like your AR blog, Localism etc) online and actually be the relevant authority for the area. Get rich quick schemes only make those who sell the schemes rich. The path is narrow! but stick to it, and be successful!

 

Comments (1)

Brian Harnish
Anaheim, CA

I completely agree with this.  The problem with forwarding existing domains with no value is that you're really wasting your time on something that will not do anything to your rankings.  Just forwarding domains for the sake of doing so is a bad idea.  Instead, there should be a purpose behind them- if you're using them as part of a marketing campaign, like you said, absolutely forward the domain.  The value comes in when you forward a domain that has already been built as an authority resource and the link juice from that domain flows to the new domain that it's forwarded to.  There's really no shortcut to better rankings and search engine success - all the shortcuts that are available result in either severe penalties or worse - getting banned.  And you certainly don't want that to happen to your website.

Sep 14, 2010 05:00 AM