Do Keyword Rich Domains Impact Organic SEO?
Spoiler: They only work if you avoid using redirects and they have quality content.
In the realm of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), strategies evolve continuously as search engine algorithms become more complex. Among these strategies, one that has attracted considerable attention is the purchase of keyword-rich domain names with the intention of redirecting them to a primary domain, supposedly to enhance organic SEO performance.
Let’s look at why this approach is outdated, no longer effective and can just waste your money.
The appeal of this tactic lies in its simplicity. If your main website sells custom sneakers, wouldn’t it make sense to own and redirect domains like ‘BestCustomSneakers.com’ or ‘HighQualitySneakersForSale.com?’ However, it simply doesn’t work because that isn’t how search engines work.
Why doesn’t it work?
The first and most important reason this tactic doesn’t work is that the search engines want to link to websites with relevant content. If a domain redirects to another website, it has no content, and, therefore, no value.
So… you might think that putting a landing page up on the domain is enough… It might work, but it could leach valuable points from your main website too. Microsites and marketing domain doorways do still have value, but that is a subject for a different blog post.
It’s About User Experience
Keep in mind that Google and other search engines prioritize user experience. They provide users with links to the most relevant, high-quality content that genuinely meets their search intentions. Google’s algorithms and their AIs are capable of distinguishing between genuine, valuable content and manipulative SEO tactics.
Back in the early days of SEO, keyword-rich domains did boost a website’s rankings. However, this changed dramatically in 2012 with the introduction of Google’s EMD (Exact Match Domain) update. The EMD update essentially devalued the practice of using keyword-stuffed domain names for higher rankings, effectively nullifying the benefits of using this strategy. The primary aim was to promote content quality over keyword density, a principle Google has consistently reemphasized over the past few years.
When you redirect a keyword-rich domain to your primary website, Google does not transfer the “keyword value” from the keyword-stuffed domain name to your main website. The search engine sees redirects as tools for steering traffic from one webpage to another. Any value of having the keywords in a domain name is lost as soon as you redirect the domain to a new website.
In fact, excessive use of irrelevant redirects might be harmful. If Google perceives the redirects as attempts to manipulate its algorithms, it might penalize the primary domain, negatively affecting its organic search ranking.
Content is King
Instead of focusing on outdated strategies like keyword-rich domain redirects, businesses should concentrate on proven SEO tactics that enhance user experience and provide value. These include the production of high-quality, original content; creation of topic authority content silos; the use of relevant, carefully researched keywords; the implementation of robust on-page SEO; the cultivation of a strong backlink profile; and the delivery of a seamless, user-friendly website design.
So, to truly boost organic SEO, the focus should be on enhancing content quality and user experience, rather than attempting to game the system with quick-fix tactics like buying and redirecting keyword stuffed domain names.