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Buy links that others have earned ... Why not?


If your budget allows it, the easiest way to bring your own domain to the front on Google is to buy another domain along with the links there that others have had to work hard for over many years. If the domain has also grown organically, it may well be that these links were even set voluntarily by users who liked the content very much. Such links are of course worth their weight in gold.

Should you actually decide to take this route, please remember that you have to offer content on your own site that is of a similar or better quality than the content on the old domain. Please always think of the users who click on the old links and then come to your new content. If you align your optimization measures with the users of Google and not only carry them out for Google itself, then you are very likely on the safe side.

Please use the status code 301 (permanent redirect) for the necessary redirects. Google’s Gary Illyes has made it clear that 30x redirects generally no longer lose PageRank, but I believe that 301 redirects should continue to be used preferentially from a technical point of view. On the one hand, according to RFC 2616, 301 redirects are the technically correct choice for permanent redirects and, on the other hand, these redirects have proven themselves in the past (never change a winning team!).

In order to make a decision, the link profile of the domain to be purchased should be carefully analyzed:

1 - Does this correspond to your own expectations and quality expectations?
2 - Is the domain and its content relevant to the topic?
3 - Do the backlinks of the domain also offer topic relevance and are these "valuable" links for the target page (your website)?
4 - Does the domain popularity have an acceptable (high) value?
5 - What is the nofollow ratio like?

Let's look at some examples.

From Lowcostholidays.com to Loveholidays.com

Visibility history for Loveholidays.com on Google.co.uk

The low-cost travel company Lowcostholidays.com filed for bankruptcy in July 2016. The beneficiary of the link power of this domain is now Loveholidays.com, as the majority of the content is now forwarded there. Only the start page is not forwarded, as the insolvency administrator has the information required by law for creditors ready there.

If we look at the visibility of both domains, we can see the change well.

Visibility history for Loveholidays.com and Lowcostholidays.com on Google.co.uk.

Next, I would like to share with you two examples of how content from Lowcostholidays.com is forwarded to Loveholidays.com:

-Correct: The content on Loveholidays corresponds to the old content on Lowcostholidays: Lowcostholidays.com/italy-holidays.htm. The users expect a page where they can find hotels in Italy and come to a page where they can find hotels in Italy (we can take a snapshot of the page on the Wayback Machine before redirecting it).

-Not correct: Some of the old content is forwarded to the next higher category page if there are no corresponding sub-pages. An example of this is Lowcostholidays.com/germany-holidays.htm. Here, too, the user expects to find a page with hotels, this time in Germany, but only reaches Loveholidays.com/holidays/. Since no hotels in Germany are displayed on this page, the user understandably feels deceived and Google sees this behavior as a soft 404 error.

From Urbanspoon.com to Zomato.com

Visibility history for Zomato.com on Google.co.uk

Almost 2 years ago Zomato.com started to go on a worldwide shopping tour: Menumania.co.nz, Lunchtime.cz, Obedovat.sk, Gastronauci.pl, Cibando.it and many others were added to Zomato's domain portfolio. The most important takeover came in January 2015 with the Seattle-based food portal Urbanspoon.com. Zomato has taken over the content from Urbanspoon and implemented the correct forwarding of the old URLs to the new pages. A massive increase in visibility was achieved in the United Kingdom:

Visibility gradients for Zomato.com and Urbanspoon.com on Google.co.uk

On the US American market, the merger of Zomato and Urbanspoon led to a situation in which Zomato.com not only took over the visibility of Urbanspoon, but was also able to stop the long-term downward trend of the domain.

Visibility history for Zomato.com and Urbanspoon.com on Google.com

Qualityinn, Comfortinn, Sleepinn, Comfortsuites on Choicehotels.com

Visibility history for Choicehotels.com on Google.com

Strictly speaking, this example is a domain consolidation of all brands that belong to Choicehotels.com. And although the jump in the visibility index looks good at first, there is still something fishy in the state of Choicehotels.

In February 2016 I wrote the following in a guest post on Searchenginewatch.com: “The redirects were set, but the construct still harbors risks, as the consolidated domains return a status code of 200 when pages are requested by a crawler with the Googlebot user agent. It would be a very good idea to get this potential "cloaking" problem under control quickly. "

7 months later, the actually consolidated domains are still ranking on Google for quite a while. This may be the reason why Google didn't get the moves properly and the combined link power didn't completely migrate to Choicehotels.com:

Visibility curves for Qualityinn, Comfortinn, Sleepinn and Comfortsuites on Google.com

Quality over quantity: Hipertextual.com and Giga.de

Hipertextual.com is currently very popular in Spain and Latin America. This is the result of merging several websites and blogs (Bitelia.com, Altfoto.com, Appleweblog.com) on Hipertextual.com last year. The content on this page is now almost identical to that of the old domains, but the quality is higher:

Visibility history for Hipertextual.com on Google.es

The German infotainment and news website Giga.de has bought a number of domains in recent years, including Macnews.de and Winload.de, and successfully forwarded the content to itself. Since Giga has seen a very strong increase in the visibility index in recent years, it is unfortunately relatively difficult to see the visibility progression of the individual forwarded domains in the graphic: The first merger took place in October 2011 (1), the next in August 2012 ( 2) and another in October 2014 (3):

Visibility history for Giga.de on Google.de

Final thoughts

This procedure must by no means be the only method in link building. You should also work here specifically and with the necessary sensitivity. Quality instead of quantity is the motto of sustainability.

There is also no guarantee that existing links to the purchased domain will continue to exist after they have been forwarded to your own website. If a webmaster notices that the content to which he has set a link suddenly redirects to another content from another domain, he could definitely remove this link. This would happen, for example, if the new content does not meet the linker's quality perception.

You can find further information on the technical aspects in our "Ask SISTRIX" SEO knowledge database in the article "Can I buy an existing domain to strengthen the backlink profile of my website via 301 redirect?"