How Google Panda Affected Domain Forwarding and What to Do About ItPosted: October 20, 2011
The past year has seen many significant changes to Google’s algorithm, commonly referred to as the Google Panda updates. The focus of these major updates has been to diminish the effectiveness of optimization tactics that allowed many poor quality sites to easily rank well on Google. Some companies with heavy focus on these tactics saw huge decreases in traffic – Demand Media for example went from having a hugely successful IPO to losing over 80% of their stock value primarily due to the Google Panda impact on their search traffic.
Google Panda and Domain Forwarding
One tactic that Google decided to discourage was massive-scale external URL forwarding. This would involve hundreds or thousands of domain names forwarding to a single site. Many sites would do this either to funnel traffic or to funnel the domains’ collective benefits such as exact keyword match, page rank and domain age into their primary site.
Google’s thought was that the intent of external URL redirecting was to redirect an old domain of a site to a new domain, or in cases when a few sites might be consolidated into a single site. They believed that the only reason for redirecting of hundreds of domains or more was to try and manipulate their rankings. Now, sites doing this can face stiff ranking penalties and even banning from search results entirely.
While there was certainly some abuse of domain forwarding to help scammy or spammy sites rank highly, some massive domain forwarding was in place with legitimate reasons. Domain parking companies had allowed URL forwarding as one option to park your domains with them as opposed to nameserver changes. These companies no longer allow parking via redirect due to the possible ranking penalties they could face.
Does this mean you should NEVER redirect one domain to another?
No – Google has indicated that SOME domain redirects are not an issue. As with anything, Google only tends to take a human look at what a site may be doing if it is doing something to an extreme. Forwarding a handful of domains would not catch Google’s attention, and they would certainly cause a major uproar if they would penalize sites that redirected their old domain to their new one. That said, going beyond just a few redirected domains to a single domain is playing with fire.
What should you do with those other domains instead?
If you have many domains related to your primary site and you want to somehow have their ranking benefits help your site, your only choice now is to put sites on them and link into your primary site. The results come either through those sites reaching high rankings and their search traffic being funneled into your primary site, or those sites boosting your primary site into high rankings.
Thanks to Google Panda, you’re going to have to put some work into it in order to really see the benefits of doing it as low-quality or republished content is now generally penalized. At the very least, you’ll need to put together decent unique quality content for each site – at least a few pages worth for it to make a difference.
That said, the ones willing to put in the effort can see even better results for it now that most easier optimization methods are being targeted and diminished by Google. Domains are still a savvy SEO’s best friend.
At Domainate, we can help you get the domains you need to improve your rankings. Exact keyword matching domains can provide the single best ranking benefits that money can buy while highly aged domains that can provide overall benefits to ranking for anything, and we can get you the best of both kinds. Contact us and we can help you grab more ongoing search engine traffic using domains.