We all wonder if setting up domain names with keywords to redirect to your web page if those words help in search rankings or not? Well we are here to discus the pros and cons to a 301 redirect. There are lots of different reasons why you would want to set up some domain redirects pointing at your web page, misspellings are the most common and make great sense to set up and maintain the domains to protect your brand while not relying on people to always get it right every time or for some of us SEO’s always dreaming up ways to do just a step more than your competition would do go out and purchase a whole bunch of keyword-rich domains and point them right at our optimization site hoping for a little help in keyword recognition. No matter what your reason for redirecting is it is always good to know exactly why your doing it BEFORE you go and buy the domain names!
So let’s talk about the misspelling for starters; for example, I personally have noticed 3 ways that people misspell my name, so I have been able to purchase 2/3 of those as domain names and set them up to redirect. There are a few very interesting things that I have noticed once I implemented these redirects; not only have I noticed in my WordPress stats that one of the misspellings was one of my top search queries as well as noticing that it showed up as an entry point to my site through my Google Analytics stats as well. So one day I felt like running a test and here is what I found:
The correct spelling of my name is Jonathon Hewitt, so I happen to have my personal blog located at www.jonathonhewitt.com where as most people would spell Jonathon with an (a) instead of an (o) towards the end so I tried to purchase jonathanhewitt.com with no luck, but some other common misspellings with my name were johnathonhewitt.com and johnathanhewitt.com, both were available and I purchased both of them with plans of purchasing the other one in 2012. The most interesting of things happened when I was looking at my first and only post thus far on my personal blog with the full url of jonathonhewitt.com/social-media/new-social-media-welcome/ and as I chose to enter the full url of that particular post with one of the misspelling domain names I had already set up to redirect johnathonhewitt.com/social-media/new-social-media-welcome/, sure enough it recognized the 301 permanent redirect that was set up and also recognized the end of the url matched a post that was on that web page /social-media/new-social-media-welcome/ with or without the misspelling in the domain name brought you right to the same place. With this I realized that we are dealing with a highly sophisticated but yet very simple engine or if you may, file system, when dealing with url’s. This would also explain when I successfully set up the “My Brand” Feedburner url for my website at jonathonhewitt.com/seo-blogger instead of the feedburner address using the same extension /seo-blogger that the original Feedburner address had set up. Without it all it does is land on my signed in list of burned Rss feeds but when you add it it works perfectly.
I own a ton of domain names and have been trying to sell as many that I am not going to use as possible so I set up a simple web page with a contact form that goes directly to me for all of my extra domains to redirect to in case they want to contact me directly regarding the domain sale. I probably had 60 domains pointed at this one website, I chose to set up Google webmaster tools to play around with it as I was not too familiar. A few weeks later I check on the stats of my webmaster tools, as a Google SEO I always am looking under Google’s list of keywords that they associated with my webpage was a few words that sparked my interest enough to remember them. One was somerly, what the heck is somerly? Well I don’t really know, my father purchased it years ago and its just there, The point of it is that we owned somerly.com and I had it set up to redirect to my contact site in case anyone was interested, Google was somehow associating the keyword “somerly” with my web pages keywords. Another domain name that we own is norlite.com as it was the name for my grandma’s old campground in Alaska, I also noticed “norlite” as one of the top referring search terms pointing at my contact page! But wait! We have never had a website up under norlite.com!?!?! How does Google associate those words with my web page? Where do they see it?
At the time I was too nieve to really realize what I had stumbled on but have since realized the importance of redirecting, for both misspellings and keywords helping to improve your website or blogs presence in the search results. I have since purchase multiple domain and set them up to redirect because I am now convinced that they do help in some ways. There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing and setting up these domain redirects:
- Search Engine’s have penalized websites for having too many redirects(thousands), blacklisting them from the search results.
- The shorter the domain name the better, so-you-do-not-want-to-get-too-long-of-a-domain-name.
- Get a couple of keywords in the domain name for example: search-engine-optimization.com or florida-real-estate.com and point them at your site (w/ and w/out the www!).
- Make sure that the keywords that you go for are relevant to your website’s content and not just wishful thinking.
I have also set up many easy to remember ways of getting to certain pages or profiles related to my individual websites, ie: http://twitter.seosport.com redirects to my company’s Twitter account, http://feed.seosport.com redirects to my company’s Rss feed, http://contact.seosport.com/ redirects to my company’s contact form, etc. There are so many ways that can make navigation through your social content as well as your webpage so much easier to remember. I suggest you try making some of these settings yourself and it even makes it easier for you to remember! Well, I hope my experiences with dns settings and all of my own trial and error has helped your understanding of how a small but important piece of the World Wide Web works and proves beneficial to you in your future web endeavors. Please let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below, thanks for reading!