NEW YORK – Morgan Linton’s blog caught my eye this morning as it discusses the redirecting of domain names for SEO, an often hotly debated topic. I find this topic especially interesting as it appears to me that Google often dances around the truth with explanations of what works and what doesn’t. Google’s new webmaster PR guy is John Mueller who basically replaced Matt Cutts in a publication relations capacity with webmasters around 2015 when Cutts was on leave. I’ve always suspected that the heat and the backlash of the Google algorithms were starting to get to him and he was pleased to take a break from it all eventually leaving Google for a government position. He is a software engineer, not an executive of communications.
So this morning’s read led to a revelation from Mueller that redirecting links to a target site through an intermediary site won’t work to trick Google because Google just treats the redirecting site’s location as a canonical tag to the target and attributes those links to the target regardless of the intermediary redirecting site, so why bother with the intermediary site; he says it’s a waste of time.
The 301 basically makes the main site canonical, meaning the links go directly there — you might as well skip the detour, it’s just as obvious to the algorithms & spam team. (Source – SEO Roundtable)John Mueller
So if that’s the case, then what Mueller is saying is if you purchase a domain name from someone else because it had a lot of good theme related links pointing to it, it’s going to pass that value whether you redirect directly, or you pass it through some intermediary website. You can’t have it both ways.
Just as this canonical works from site A), to site B), eventually ending at site C), you could just skip site “B” all together, and redirect straight to the target domain because the redirecting site will just act as a canonical anyway.
They just seem to always contradict themselves with these claims. You can pass a penalty, but you can’t pass a penalty to a competitor. There is a lot of back and forth on the issue and if you read between the lines, you’ll also notice that there is a lot of use of the words “probably”, “I think”, “Maybe”.
Here are the basics of it when you think about it reasonably; if you are trying to trick Google, that’s very complicated, because Google has a lot of smart people working there who are employed specifically for the purpose of outsmarting you, so that is a basic premise to start off with. However, if a website is taken offline for one reason or another, and it is about the same topic, theme and/or is related to another web site, and it’s redirected to that site, whether it is one by the same company or not, whether someone forgot to renew it in time, or not, whether the company had two or three or even four sites over the years, built by two or three different companies, and the company has now decided to redirect the old site(s) to the newer one which will serve as the site to be focused on; whatever the reason might be. Why would past links or the older pages links not attribute some benefit to the target site??
It just wouldn’t make any sense if they did not. So here is my advice.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a website or domain name because it has a lot of good back-links and you’re wondering if it will help your SEO if you point it to your site via a 301. Go ahead and do it and don’t even waste time listening to these “maybe”, “I think”, “probably”, guesses. Just go ahead and buy it and reap the reward – as long as it is not your entire link strategy. You’re in the real estate business, the Internet real estate business. And you’re going to reap some level of reward from the back-links and existing traffic, even if you’re lied to about it. Don’t wait around for Google to confirm or deny this; you’ll be waiting with bated breath for a very long time.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Searchen Networks Inc. and Internet Advertising Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, authored a ‘how to’ book called ‘‘Mastering Your Website’, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy company Searchen Networks®