Anyone have any evidence that keyword URLs (with and without redirects) drive traffic?


I am launching a web application in the Fall for parent teacher conference scheduling. I have some real customers already using a version of the product, I'm ready with a Coming Soon page, have a newsletter set up and a fair bit of content lined up for a blog around parent teacher conferences.

I also have several keyword-based URLs registered that, while related to my app's domain, no one will ever type:

  • Etc. Etc.

I'm trying to figure out how best to leverage these sites. Here are my options:

  1. Just redirect the URLs to my main web app site via Apache redirects.
  2. Use a few as microsites with decent content and minimal links to my main app site.
  3. Have each be a blatant advert for my main site with little real content (but more of them).

Does anyone have any evidence of how keyword-based URLs like this are helpful in driving real business? If so, talk a little about your strategy and how it played out.

Thank you!


P.S. Should I go get the hyphenated versions of these URLs as well?

Marketing SEO

asked Mar 28 '11 at 01:11
Keyton Weissinger
126 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Shorter domains will be better. SEO strength will come after your business does great work. Don't look for short cuts. Domains should be memorable, catchy, easy to spell, and hopefully abstract to help you with branding and shifts in strategy. Hope that helps. – Genadinik 13 years ago
  • How about something memorable and fun that communicate something emotional? Then use these pages for squeeze advertising. How about – Joseph Barisonzi 13 years ago

5 Answers


@Kort Pleco , I don't think the poster is suggesting cloaking, but none of the options are any use:

1) If the secondary URLs have no domain authority, the backlinks will be of very little value.

2) If each of the sites had quality content and good backlinks in then this would work. The problem is that you need to get the backlinks into x number of sites instead of getting them into the main site. For the same amount of effort you're better off with the backlinks going straight into the main site and increasing it's domain authority.

3) This trick was used many years ago and Google are wise to it.

In summary, you're about 10 years too late to try tricks like these, 2 and 3 are more than not likely to work against you. The first one would look strange to a search engine, I find it unlikely Google don't check for this.

Focus on good quality on one site, good backlinks and getting your keywords into natural English sentences on that site. Any effort spent trying to trick the system is wasted, Google are better than you at this.

answered Mar 28 '11 at 04:32
David Benson
2,166 points


Those domains are kind of lame, but since you already own them, here's what I think you should do:

On your main domain, create landing pages for the keywords that the domains are meant to target. Examples:

  • yourmaindomain/parent-teacher-conference-scheduling/
  • yourmaindomain/parent-teacher-conference-forms/
On every landing page, write content that's useful, relevant and unique. Do not bother making the pages if you're not going to provide something useful, relevant and unique on each one. You should be using these pages to build strength for the "parent teacher conference" keyword. You can use this seomoz guide for optimization tips: Use a 301 redirect to point each of your extra domains to your snazzy new landing pages.

Do not buy the hyphenated versions of these domains.

Do not buy any more domains that you don't need.

answered Mar 29 '11 at 01:39
61 points


I am almost certain Google have wised up to SEO'ers purchasing keyword specific domain names and then redirecting the traffic via a 301 redirect to their main website. Although Google probably doesn't seem the harm in this, I think a few algorithm updates back (and also most recently) Google stopped giving high rankings to sites using redirects. They're a lot smarter than people think they are, they keep an eye on the SEO community heavily.

So purchasing the keyword specific domains won't hurt, but it won't help you either. You're better off creating meaningful page url's on your main website instead which will do you more good SEO wise.

answered Mar 30 '11 at 09:39
Digital Sea
1,613 points


Option 2.

Do NOT cloak and redirect. Google will slap you for that.

The best advice (straight from Google's mouth) is to make each site that you own useful. So don't fill with duplicate content or scraped content or anything that you wouldn't want to land on yourself while searching for your targeted phrases.

answered Mar 28 '11 at 03:53
Kort Pleco
891 points


In the SEO community, it has been a much-discussed topic that keyword-rich domains do boost your ranking much more than they ought to. The consensus has been that webmasters should enjoy that for now, but the influence of keywords in domains is bound to decrease eventually.

That being said, I would advise against stuffing your URL with keywords, and focusing on having the URL make your brand awesome.

My example was this: I once had a site called - it definitely helped me rank for any sequence of those words in the URL. But it was a bad name overall. So when I changed it to - real people started giving me much better feedback about it. And first-time visitors tend to have a better first impression from the new domain name.

answered Mar 29 '11 at 15:20
1,821 points

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