I recently got a good question from a friend of mine about buying keyword rich domains. He wanted to know if buying multiple “keyword rich domain names” and redirecting them to your main site is worthwhile in terms of SEO value. I responded with the following:
I wouldn’t recommend it. For starters, those domains have no established value (assuming the webmaster in question is buying the domain fresh and not from a current owner. If the site is already established, and it’s an acquisition from a competitor, there’s potential for this move to make sense). So simply because these are keyword rich domains doesn’t mean redirecting them will boost the main site in any way. It just means direct traffic to those keyword rich domains will now lead to less confusion. If your site is “rhcp.com” and the available domain is “redhotchilipeppers.com,” and you think you’re losing direct traffic on that, a redirect would be perfectly plausible. But it won’t help your search engine rankings unless redhotchilipeppers.com exists as its own established entity, with some semblance of worth and value already acknowledge by Google and the like.
Only other situation where I like the move is if the company wants to invest in what they consider quality, available URLs. If they’re worried about a competitor snatching this quality domain, then sure, spend the $10 and keep that from happening. Redirect can’t really hurt here (on the off chance someone types it in directly), but it won’t boost SEO.
The same applies here with ‘.net’ or ‘.org’ versions of a URL. Buying these alternate-reality domains won’t give your main ‘.com’ any boost, but it will prevent competitors from copying your branded domain name and potentially stealing visitors with a confusing URL.
Final thing I’d add is that keyword rich domains are decreasingly relevant. Certainly doesn’t hurt, but if you’re in a competitive market, you’re better off putting the focus on a higher quality site. The domain alone won’t guarantee you any rankings. When selecting a domain, I’d consider branding and user experience above SEO value. If the two coincide, then by all means take advantage.