Annual SEO domain name strategy
is going to be our website this year
is going to be our domain name next year


  1. the year is a good keyword for our business i.e. seasonal tourist activities in a particular city
  2. all the domain names are available which is quite a miracle these days
  3. i like to have crazy ideas every now and again just to see what mr google thinks about it

why not?

  1. i fear we may lose out somehow relative to direct inbound links when we change domain names?

we would use 301 redirects at the end of each year to permanently redirect pages to same pages in new domain (if applicable)
otherwise old or non-renewable pages simply stay on the old domain and build up an online history for us
over the years we build up quite a substantial amount of quality inbound links from old domains to current domain
we aim to appear on page 1 of google for any search with 1) cityname 2) current year and 3) anything else relative to our content

any other major pros and cons to such a crazy strategy?

So if I am planning on visiting your city in three years time I should be looking at for info on what will be happening then right?

that is correct, and we will of course have something for you to see on that future domain, albeit basic dates, events etc.

searchnmeet, if we redirect the entire domain, previous years will not be archived so we lose the constant growth from year to year
although much of the content will repeat i doubt google will penalize for duplicate content since it is in fact happening every year

So why not put it under,,, etc. It’s a lot less confusing for your customer, it’ll be better for your SEO results, easier marketing, etc. Why deal with the hassles of 301 redirects, re-use the content that will be consistent year in and year out (along with keeping it’s recurring SEO benefits), and have date specific content on top?

The only place it really makes sense to have the date related in the URL is for one off occurrences, like the olympics - sochi2014, rio2016, etc. Otherwise, it’d be easier for everyone to remember just the location, and be able to go to a specific timeframe from there.

Surely you should be promoting cityname, then re-direct once your visitors reach your site? Adding new and fresh content to your main site will get more Google Juice than starting fresh at the beginning of each calendar year

Its a simple matter of domain name availability, is an absolute impossibility for most cities, my city included.

yes, i agree with the google juice accumulating for the same domain over time, but can we not pass on that juice by using the recommended 301 redirects for pages that move on to new domains?

any other comments or criticisms from experts would be much appreciated before we actually start goin’ down this road…

Google prefers branding to keyword targeting when it comes to domains. You would be better off keeping one domain that was branded to your company. That way you could maintain your authority instead of recycling it every year. You can write blog posts to rank for keywords relating to the year.

Keep in mind, you are trying to rank individual pages for individual keywords. You are not trying to rank the whole site for certain keywords.

i agree wholeheartedly.

about Branding, i am seeing CityName2014 as the brand this year, and next year the brand is going to be… CityName2015
since annual seasonal events always have the current year and place attached to them
or is that too unconventional?

Numerous options are available for city & country code though :wink:

Do you not have an event name? Or is the event name the name of the city and the year? The problem with having the date in the domain/brand is it’s going to look dated VERY quickly, so any “juice” you have will be negated when a user looks at the domain name in the search engine.

A brand does not change every year. Branding would mean your site remains consistent year after year so that Google will establish authority with your name. By changing out your name every year. Google will never view your site as a true authority because it is always new.

You stand as good a chance for ranking for the same keywords without the year in your domain. You just need to mention it in the title of a post or page.

i dont agree, good cityname keyword positions are very competitive in my experience

well, not really, we will use all the available google webmaster tools to keep the previous years’ domains in thr background (i.e. way down the SERP list) and ensure the current years’ domain is always given priority.

my main doubts here are relative to JUICE being transferrable to new domains every year

If your method works, then you should do what works.

I do not think it is a viable long-term strategy though, if a competitor comes in and has a similar idea in the future.

I think part of the problem is you are “stuck” on the “cityname” and as you said, that domain is taken.

Could you not come up with a different domain name that isn’t taken but would still suit and not need yearly changing?

Maybe something like cityname-events or cityname-zipcode ?

if we decide to follow this strategy we will buy the domains for the next 10 years so no competitor could use the exact same domain strategy.

yes, of course there are other options, but as you said most of the good (obvious) .com options are already taken
which brings me onto another subject of how essential is a .com these days, is it still THE BEST international domain?
(may be best moved over to a new thread)

.com, .org, and .net are still the best internationally, but considering you are trying to rank for a city, a country specific tdl would be good too.