Got Several Domains? 301 Redirect them to Your Main Domain

Nov 6, 2007 • 10:23 am | comments (4) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Are 301s a bad idea? Why or when should you use them? Does Google penalize you if you get trigger happy and 301 everything in sight? Two WebmasterWorld threads ask the same questions.

In the first thread, a forum member is a bit peeved at his competition because he has a bunch of domains that 301 to a main site -- but each one looks pretty spammy especially since they appear to be "monopoliz[ing] the area." Is this a good idea?

In general, people do that. Trademark concerns, for example, drive folks to buy domains that may infringe on trademarks but naturally 301 those domains to their main site. Is that bad? Nope. In fact, it's better to 301 than to park the domain!

But is there a such thing as too many 301s? Perhaps not. Keywords in a domain name don't necessarily boost rankings, so if you're a site like Search Engine Roundtable and created a bunch of spin-off domain names that had good keywords, that doesn't mean you'll rank better.

From experience, members have not seen any penalties from excessive 301s, but Matt Cutts gave a warning once:

With the "abuse" potential of 301s this is a question I've often wondered about and found remarkably little info on, the only semi-official mention on it was a remark by MC saying it could be risky to have off-topic anchor text pointing to a site.

That makes sense.

There's just one word of advice when you redirect: if you do implement 301s (at least internally), make sure to update your sitemap, or the Google Webmaster Tools might inform you that you have too many redirects.

Related discussion: Can Too Many 301 Redirects Hurt Your SEO Efforts?

Forum discussion continues at WebmasterWorld (thread 1) and WebmasterWorld (thread 2).

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Mike Baker

11/06/2007 05:44 pm

If you use them in the right arena, they are OK. I bought a .com domain about 2 months ago. My project has started to do well, so I went back and bought the .org, .info, .net, and .biz domains as well, and point them all to the main domain. This way I am covered. Good info. Mike

No Name

11/06/2007 05:48 pm

There's lots of "trying" things is seo world, and I don't want to try things if I'm not 99% sure it will not hurt my sites. I think it works the same as backlinks if you get tons of them in one day and nothing next day, google will look into it ;).


11/06/2007 08:48 pm

I suppose if there were 100's of domains 301 Redirected then it may get penalised. If you have a handful of domains in that all belong to the same industry I can't see how thats bad. Surely thats what Google do themselves? Dont they own all sorts of Google variations.

Drew Stauffer

11/07/2007 01:43 pm

What about 301ing domains that have nothing to do with your core business? For example, if you had clients that no longer wanted to be online for some reason or another and you owned their domain, would you redirect their to your website promotion site?

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