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  1. #1
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    TechnoBear's Avatar
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    Additional domains for SEO?

    I have come across a number of people who register a domain containing the name of their business, then register a string of additional domains with their keywords and re-direct these to their site in the belief that this will improve their ranking in searches for these keywords. e.g. Somebody registers their business as frodosmotors.com and also registers shirecarhire.com, middleearthcarhire.com, car-hire-in-middle-earth.com, etc., re-directing all these to frodosmotors.com.

    I have seen no evidence that this technique works, and frankly can't see why it would, but I've been wrong before. Can anyone give me genuine information on this point, rather than hearsay and rumour?

  2. #2
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Search engines look primarily at web pages - the domain name is a very minor factor.

    Also search engines ignore duplicate content and so will only list one of those addresses in their results.

    Getting the extra domains serves two purposes neither of which has anything to do with search.
    1. It provides an alternative way for people typing in the address manually to get to the site - those people who forget the exact address is frodomotors but remember it is something to do with middle earth might try typing in middleearthcarhire
    2. It prevents others from registering those names and setting up competing businesses.
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    SitePoint Zealot MrFlicks's Avatar
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    There are at least 6 on site and on page ways I can think of off the top of my head where Yes this can be used as part of SEO so I am going to have to beg to differ with felgall here.

    I will offer one example with "footer key word links" or near footer links

    The other five that spring immediately to mind well I would have to shoot you if I told you all that

    If you look at the old Google heat map for clicks you will see a good reason for the footer links implementation and also understand why so many free designs/templates are about only requiring that footer link.

    http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/inte...-heatmap-2.htm

    You can likely suss out a couple of other ways of incorporating corresponding keywords into site structures there to.

    So what about the dreaded "exact match domain name" in this instance

    Anyone evidence of how that is working?

    There is also off site

    An example can be using keywords in linking and then landing on a page as though form the redirect domain name. Games there to!

  4. #4
    Life is not a malfunction gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
    TechnoBear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Search engines look primarily at web pages - the domain name is a very minor factor.

    Also search engines ignore duplicate content and so will only list one of those addresses in their results.
    Yes, that's pretty much what I thought, and why I can't see that this technique would have any use in SEO.

    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Getting the extra domains serves two purposes neither of which has anything to do with search.
    1. It provides an alternative way for people typing in the address manually to get to the site - those people who forget the exact address is frodomotors but remember it is something to do with middle earth might try typing in middleearthcarhire
    2. It prevents others from registering those names and setting up competing businesses.
    I also understand the arguments here, but that wasn't really what I was asking about. In one case, I came across people with a nice, short business name, who had been advised to register four additional domains, all of which were so complicated, they couldn't even remember them themselves. That doesn't seem to fit in with the idea in your first point, and I can't imagine anybody in their right minds wanting to actually use a 40+ character domain name as their primary domain.

    @MrFlicks
    Thank you for replying, but I'm afraid I don't understand your answer. My question is not about the use of keywords in general, but very specifically, can keywords in additional domains have any effect on search engine rankings for the domain to which they re-direct.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot MrFlicks's Avatar
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    Yes I get that TechnoBear I tried to explain some of the cases that they can.

    That obviously wasn't explained well. It is easier to put it in place than to explain tbh LOL.

    Mind me asking What the name TechnoBear - Are you in the Teddy Bears Biz at all is why I am asking?

    The use of keywords in general and in the cases of domains can and are inter related Tech Bear

  6. #6
    SitePoint Member finejewellerys's Avatar
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    I think it is not the domain name effort to improve the main site SERP. It just depends on the content on each site.if these sites are written with good content and have a number of good backlinks. then, it will be very helpful to improve the main site SERP. if just copy repeat content for each.I think even though the domain contains good seo keywords..It is still rubbish in google's eys. you should know gogle is smarter and smarter now than before.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot MrFlicks's Avatar
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    It probably (note probably) has more potential for use off site RE SEO than on site for SEO the more I think on ways things on the subject.

    I have tbh only had one dealing with a domain redirecting to another as I personally think it is a bit stupid as well as lazy and pretty un inspiring or inventive but here is the case I dealt with

    I did some SEO for a guy who is an artist of a particular discipline and during the process it got mentioned that exact match domains and domains with keywords in and how well they worked unless a person was lucky enough to have a brand name.

    Anyway to cut a long story short I got the artists some page 1 results in exchange for some artwork I needed doing. Bit of old style bartering just with both of us doing each other favours exchanging skill sets.

    A year or so later (yes this is the short version) I noticed the artist had let his domain name drop and was indeed using a domain related to his profession.

    Problem here was though he had all his back links in place for that name and a page in place with "Pending renewal or deletion". Which I watched during the week I thought it would drop and I caught it.

    The artist had installed his old site on his new artist related domain with no thought of his many portfolio links built up over 8 to 10 years.

    I put up a page with his contact details on and waited (we had sort of fallen out as he was a moody artists type with no time for annoying SEO types likes me with big ideas).

    Eventually he contacted me moaning people we're finding him via his old domain name and why had I got it.

    I explained and sort of sold it back to him for the cost price plus a picture (though he still owes me a piece of digital art as it happens come to think of it).

    Low and behold after all I told him about putting another (what amounts to a five or six page) site in place he goes and redirects his old domain with 10 year history to his new domain with a now 3 year history.

    Yes his new domain does well for the exact match searches I told him it would but he could have so much more without that redirect.

    So although I have said there are ways both on and off site RE SEO to play some games with words and the SE's it is really better to have seperate sites.

    It takes next to no time to put a fairly useful 5/6 to 8 page website online and to get a bit of advice or an idea on what is needed to SEO such a site.

    It is not quite a matter of whether SE's are smarter as using keyword domain as redirects has nothing to do with black hat or anything shady where them being smarter or not is the factor to consider.

    The main thing about redirects unless there are very good reasons (which I can already think of) is that redirects are in most cases are a waste of potential internet property over all and in the main even if they do have uses being used in such a way.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Search engines look primarily at web pages - the domain name is a very minor factor.
    Still making sweeping categorical statements based on a bit of theoretical knowledge I see although you can correct me if I'm wrong, I've often asked you what your practical experience is with SEO but never had an answer.

    So, given that you think domains names are a 'very minor factor', maybe you can explain why in November last year Matt cutts said that Google would 'be looking' at exact match domains bcause they rank so well and why in March this year this video (on the SEO MOz site - http://www.seobook.com/googles-matt-...d-domain-names) was released to explain how Google were planning to deal with this problem.

    Clearly domain names actually make a big difference, certainly enough of a difference that google feel they need to address the issue.
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  9. #9
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    But - do they make a difference if the site is hosted under a different domain and the exact match is only redirected to it? That was my question.

    Suppose I have a domain - say foobarcottage.com - and I buy selfcateringholidayaccommodationinbrigadoon.com with the sole intention of redirecting it to foobarcottage.com. The I also buy self-catering-holiday-accommodation-in-brigadoon.com, brigadoonselfcateringholidayaccommodation.com, etc. (you get the picture) and redirect those to foobarcottage.com. Will this push foobarcottage.com higher up the rankings than the opposition in searches for combinations of those keywords, or am I wasting my money?

    I'm convinced I'd be wasting my money, but I've come across enough people that have been advised to do this for the very reason of improving their SERP that I thought I should check before telling them all to save their cash.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrFlicks View Post
    Mind me asking What the name TechnoBear - Are you in the Teddy Bears Biz at all is why I am asking?
    'Fraid not - but some of my best friends are bears.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Zealot MrFlicks's Avatar
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    The only real way to find out is to try it Technobear (with one keyword rich domain as a test I mean).

    I can see various ways that a domain could be used effectively for SEO purposes off site as it were. How that affects things RE the target sites rankings as I say there is only one way to find out.

    The guy I know who has all those 10 year old backlinks in his original domain names name has certainly now only got search results for mostly the excat match domain results he gets due to his letting his name drop and then setting up to redirect to his new site,

    At this point I should also point out that he also had a site redesign and all the SEO I had put in place was removed so it is difficult to say Yes for sure it was the redirects that lost the results or the numpty who removed the SEO I had put in place on his original site. My point being I have no precedent to compare first hand knowlege of where a site didn't also go through a redesign and have it's search results ruined by the removal of SEO in place. Obviously not quite the same thing but related especially if we throw dropped domains with backlinks into the mix

    Now saying all that if you have an exact match domain name I can't see any reason why it can't be used as a link off site for redirect purposes and it helping your destination site (which don't forget displays the redirect URL to).

    So let us say you have

    super-green-widgets as the destination / prime domain I don't know of any valid reason why a domain such as cheap-super-green-widgets would not be of some sort of benefit as a redirect with keyword rich external links being used and placed around

    Not forgetting of course a lot better things can be done with such things and the only way to find out is to try it with a couple of domains and see what happens.

    so saying if you had

    top-selling-books.com as your site and you found available after

    top-selling-book-reviews.com with 1000 backlinks

    if you get my drift

    Two sites one a shop one nothing but a review site that vanished but you could redo or just have redirecting (That is how some people think any hows).

    Somewhere there there has to be undeniable SEO benefits (it looks on the surface like there would be) though as I say only one way to find out and to find out why the practice is quite widespread amongst domainers

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechnoBear View Post
    Suppose I have a domain - say foobarcottage.com - and I buy selfcateringholidayaccommodationinbrigadoon.com with the sole intention of redirecting it to foobarcottage.com. The I also buy self-catering-holiday-accommodation-in-brigadoon.com, brigadoonselfcateringholidayaccommodation.com, etc. (you get the picture) and redirect those to foobarcottage.com. Will this push foobarcottage.com higher up the rankings than the opposition in searches for combinations of those keywords, or am I wasting my money?
    I have no practical experience with testing exact match, only some exact matches that rank well, so I can't say for certian that it was the domains that helped but if they don't help, then why are Google trying to sort out the problem caused by exact match? If there's a problem, it's because it works right? So there's the evidence of Google feeling they need to take action (Matt Cutts actually making a video about it) and there's anecdotal eveidence I've seen over the last few years that it works, to add further weight.

    Against that we have felgall, who's practical SEO experience with domains is unknown, stating categorically that domains have a 'very minor' impact. I'm going with my view on this one I think.
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  12. #12
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    So, given that you think domains names are a 'very minor factor', maybe you can explain why in November last year Matt cutts said that Google would 'be looking' at exact match domains bcause they rank so well and why in March this year this video (on the SEO MOz site - http://www.seobook.com/googles-matt-...d-domain-names) was released to explain how Google were planning to deal with this problem.

    Clearly domain names actually make a big difference, certainly enough of a difference that google feel they need to address the issue.
    Yes, Google said they were turning down the importance of keyword matches in the domain name – in other words, exact matches are less important now than they were a year ago.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot MrFlicks's Avatar
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    I will say one word (well three words) on exact match domains

    Hire an illustrator (search it and see who has the lovely six site links sitting nice and pretty beneath it's main link)

    One of my next target tasks and one of the terms I must conquer in the coming weeks and months somehow (I know ways but boy is this exact match gonna be a toughie).

  14. #14
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechnoBear View Post
    But - do they make a difference if the site is hosted under a different domain and the exact match is only redirected to it? That was my question.

    Suppose I have a domain - say foobarcottage.com - and I buy selfcateringholidayaccommodationinbrigadoon.com with the sole intention of redirecting it to foobarcottage.com. The I also buy self-catering-holiday-accommodation-in-brigadoon.com, brigadoonselfcateringholidayaccommodation.com, etc. (you get the picture) and redirect those to foobarcottage.com. Will this push foobarcottage.com higher up the rankings than the opposition in searches for combinations of those keywords, or am I wasting my money?
    I've not tested this out in a scientific study, but from what I can gather, Google only looks at the final URL when there's a redirection in place – so the fact that you've registered all those different domains wouldn't improve your rankings on self-catering, accommodation or brigadoon – unless you'd got link text using those words when pointing to each of the alias URLs, in which case obviously there's going to be some googlejuice coming your way for those words. But you could do that just as well by using that same link text pointing to your primary domain.

  15. #15
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    So, given that you think domains names are a 'very minor factor', maybe you can explain why in November last year Matt cutts said that Google would 'be looking' at exact match domains
    In March this year Google made massive changes in order to drop duplicate content from their search results. All of the additional domain names pointing at the same web page would all count as duplicate content and so Google would only list the page under one of the domains regardless of how many domains point to that page. The ONLY use for those extra domain names in that case would be to allow real people to find the page via those names. You'd need to set up either redirects or use the canonical tag that Google introduced for the purpose in order to tell Google which domain to associate with the page in the search results. The original question was specifically about additional domains pointing to the same content and any change they made in November last year with regard domain names would have been negated by the duplicate result change that was made in March at least with respect to the situation being discussed.

    The only possible way that you would get any benefit out of the additional domains as far as the search engines are concerned is if you provide each with different content and then cross link the sites. As to whether the search engines actually would provide you with better results in that case, it would depend on a number of factors such as the actual value of the content on each domain.
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  16. #16
    SitePoint Zealot MrFlicks's Avatar
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    Maybe I am missing something but where exactly is the duplicate content?

    There are no additional duplicate pages to drop is my point. I mean the value for the other domains (unless i am missing something) is not in question it is the value to the destination domain I think the original question is trying to get an answer to/for, which as yet none of us really know the answer for sure as yet it would seem

    Google can't drop a sites pages of duplicate content if there is no physical content to drop can they - if you get my drift?

    My understanding of what duplicate content is, is that it consists of things that are duplicated, as in there are more than one of, like twins, a linked domain name has no duplicate content it is merely a link with keywords

    Ah

    I just realised nobody mentioned the practice of using the domains that redirect as I just mentioned properly

    What I mean is these domains don't have indexing and are used for external linking in directories in order to save a domain from having it's own SERPS interfered with by directory SERPS

    Not a practice that properly came up yet me thinks

    EG

    You have

    super-widget.com (it sells the widgets)

    but you use best-super-widget.com for directory listings (it's not even listed on Google well if it is you don't care either way).

    D'ya Get me?

    Best-super-widget.com would than also act as a safeguard if super-widget.com got delisted, well to some extent especially as it is all your links elsewhere in directoies

  17. #17
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    If the additional domains are set up to redirect then the search engines never see those domains at all as they only see the final domain the page is on.

    If the additional domains point to the same content without redirecting then they are seen by the search engines but the content is duplicated and so again the search engines ignore them.

    It is only when you set up the additional domains with their own separate content that the search engines can see them. They are then judged based on that content and what other sites link to them just as applies to any web page.
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  18. #18
    SitePoint Zealot MrFlicks's Avatar
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    I am very tired presently but did you just say search engines don't see those domain names at all?

    If so can you please show me a factual statement that proves this please as that is just bonkers.

    It obviously can't rank it but it still sees it when links are elsewhere (even nofollow links).

  19. #19
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFlicks View Post
    I am very tired presently but did you just say search engines don't see those domain names at all?

    If so can you please show me a factual statement that proves this please as that is just bonkers.

    It obviously can't rank it but it still sees it when links are elsewhere (even nofollow links).
    If a domain is redirected using 301 then it is the domain that it redirects to that shows up as the address - only if you use a 302 temporary redirect are you telling the search engines that they should remember the original address because the plan is to remove the redirect in the near future. In that case the search engines would see the other domain and would then ignore them due to duplicate content.
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Zealot MrFlicks's Avatar
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    No a 301 shows the redirect address in the URL when you land and whether it remembers it or not was not what I asked you said SE's can't see them. Once again where the heck are you seeing this duplicate content?

    It takes two or more of something for it to be duplicated

    You are referring to sites that have the same content and canonical things as duplicate content is not what a redirect is, there is no content on one of the domain names for there to be any duplicate content

    Bilmey I am off to bed

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    the domain name is a very minor factor
    This statement is the problem Stephen. It's categorical and stated as fact but as far as I'm aware you have no experience to back it up, and I ask you yet again to post your experience with SEO to justify the authority with which you regularly make these kind of statements. This isn't a personal attack it's a request which you shouldn't have any difficulty complying with. You represent this forum and your posts have weight, your responsibility to be accurate and be able to back up your statements is far greater than for a regular poster.

    If you started your posts with 'I think' or 'in my opinion' we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    I've not tested this out in a scientific study,
    You're wearing a 'guru' badge. I would expect a guru to have extensive experience of all aspects of they are in which they're deemed a guru. Is that unreasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    Yes, Google said they were turning down the importance of keyword matches in the domain name in other words, exact matches are less important now than they were a year ago.
    'turning down' isn't the same as 'very minor' is it and it implies that they had an overly strong impact at the time. The evidence would suggest that domains have more than a 'very minor' impact. I don't know for sure either but I'm not making statements as if they were indisputable fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrFlicks View Post
    Bilmey I am off to bed
    I know...
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
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  22. #22
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    TechnoBear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    If the additional domains are set up to redirect then the search engines never see those domains at all as they only see the final domain the page is on.
    That was what I thought, but I wanted to check.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    I've not tested this out in a scientific study, but from what I can gather, Google only looks at the final URL when there's a redirection in place...
    That made me realise I could at least test felgall's assertion. Friends registered two domains, one four years ago and one two years ago. Neither has ever had a site hosted on it, and both redirect at present to the hosting company with whom they were registered. No amount of searching on Google, Yahoo! or Bing produced any sign of either domain, which seems to confirm what felgall and Stevie D are saying.

    While I'm no nearer to actually proving it, that does also seem to confirm my original theory that the practise is useless for improving SERP. If anyone has further information, or a more scientific study, I would be interested to see it. Meanwhile, thanks for the replies.

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    SitePoint Zealot MrFlicks's Avatar
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    No direct link

    That is fairly normal though not always so. But no trace at all you will note due to the domain not being used for anything SERP, SEO or Backlink related so you should add that to the criteria of your experiment there Technobear EG not much research went into the conclusions.

    Please though in order to be sure that what you are now agreeing is your assumption is true, try using one site as a link builder to a real site with content and do it by stages to experiment as that is the only way to be sure rather than assume a redirect to a hosts site is giving you the full picture

    I would give an example of someone with ten years of backlinks pointing towards a new domain but sadly I don't really have the right to do so as the knowledge is confidential between myself and the person whose site it is.

    I will add however this site has some page one ranks but they are down to pretty much the Domain Name (pointed out as less relevant above) and all those backlinks as the SEO on the site is now almost non existent other than mostly by luck of association

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    SitePoint Zealot MrFlicks's Avatar
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    BTW I thought I might add a little surprise seeing as my interjections are being over talked (or to some extent taken with a pinch of salt) by others with the rep on here >

    http://www.bing.com/search?q=hire+th...2-17&form=QBRE

    Tell me who is number 1 please? (or two LOL darn thing is different in different browsers and on different pc's)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFlicks View Post
    No direct link

    That is fairly normal though not always so. But no trace at all you will note due to the domain not being used for anything SERP, SEO or Backlink related so you should add that to the criteria of your experiment there Technobear EG not much research went into the conclusions.
    As I mentioned, that was not intended to be a scientific experiment - I just realised I could test whether or not a redirected domain is indexed.

    The reason for my original question, as I said before, is that I have come across several people who are spending 50 or 60 per year to own parked domains that, as far as I can see, are doing nothing for them. They do this because they were told that it would help. My instinct is to tell them to save their money, or spend it on something that might actually work, but I make no claims to know anything at all about off-page SEO, so I wanted to see what more knowledgeable folk than myself think. Unfortunately, the person who gave them this advice has since died, so I can't ask him what he was basing it on.


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