Is there any ranking benefit to buying and redirecting high PageRank domains?
 by Casey Markee

Is there any ranking benefit to buying and redirecting high PageRank domains?

  • Today I struck a verbal deal to purchase a high-ranking domain in my niche that has a high Google PageRank value of 7 and thousands of backlinks. What is the best way to do this and reap the maximum SEO value out of this practice? Can I 301 redirect the domain to my own main site and pass all the site's current strength directly to my own?

Answer: Unfortunately it's not that simple. When the WHOIS registration information on the newly purchased domain is updated to reflect its transfer to you, the new owner, that domain will almost immediately be reset by Google to a PageRank=0. That's the standard practice when a domain changes hands. Few people realize that Google is a domain registrar so, obviously, change of ownership information is readily available for their use in factoring it into their ranking formulas.

If you decide to 301 redirect the new domain to another domain you already own, you will get credit for the site's current incoming link profile, at least in the short-term. However, this purchased domain will eventually reset to PR=0 (usually during the next PageRank update) AND you will then get no credit for all of those links post-transfer.

We see, in this case, the site in question is clearly a very strong domain (1997 registration date and 5000+ links) but it's the Google PageRank flowing through the site that makes it rank so well.

So ask yourself: if you buy this site and its backlinks, domain birthdate, and PageRank are all reset to zero, is it still worth owning?

By the way, here's what Google's Matt Cutts said back in 2007 on this issue:

"If you're only trying to buy a domain because these domains have some preexist...

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