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There was a time when buying snapped/old expired domains with a lot of backlinks and just 301-redirect them to your website was a thing.

This was risky, black hat and no longer work. Non-expired domains is another story - quote from Matt Cutts:

There are some domain transfers ( e.g. genuine purchases of companies) where it can make perfect sense for links to transfer. But at the same time it wouldn’t make sense to transfer the links from an expired or effectively expired domain, for example. Google (and probably all search engines) tries to handle links appropriately for domain transfers.

The sort of stuff our systems would be designed to detect would be things like someone trying to buy expired domains or buying domains just for links.

So Google may transfer PageRank when company A is acquiring company B and the two websites merges.

What about websites that isn't owned by any company and just run by a private individuals?

For example: A big backcountry skiing e-commerce website with thousands customers each month is looking for ways to increase it's backlink profile. There happens to be a blogger that have a great "avalanche information and risks"-website. Frequent updates, great content (that would interest many customers) and excellent and strong backlinks from many high authority domains.

If the e-commerce website would purchase the blog, move all content to their website and make corresponding 301-redirects - would that be considered a genuine domain transfer?

And could this be scaled - there might also be a great blog about backcountry skiing history, a backcountry skiing gear review website, a website with a interactive map - featuring the best backcountry skiing destinations to visit. Would acquiring those websites most likely pass PageRank?

Update: I am interested in how Google theoretical can differentiate between company A purchasing and merging company B, versus company A purchase and merging highly relevant blog A, blog B and blog C. Would the blogs likely pass PageRank or not?

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    Buying... anything for the purpose of increasing rankings is blackhat and If you redirect enough nonrelevant domains to your domain, you will be punished, similar content on the receiving end must be on topic and has been subject to Google's Penguin for many years now. – Simon Hayter Jun 13 '17 at 8:53
  • "and the two websites merges" -- if you are buying for SEO value you wouldn't typically merge the websites. You run two separated websites owned by the same person. If you buy a blog I would recommend leaving the content in place and adding appropriate product links and house advertisements where appropriate. – Stephen Ostermiller Jun 13 '17 at 9:15
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    @SimonHayter Purchase of a company also involves "buying", which is - as in quote describes it - white hat. The content is not non-relevant, I am talking about content which is highly relevant, that the users would find interesting/benefit from it. – Liu Kang Jun 13 '17 at 12:30
  • @StephenOstermiller Buying many domains and linking from them to my e-commerce website sound more black hat. What if I DO think the content is valuable for my users? It's more logical in my eyes to create a resource, merge the blogs to the resource, and offer highly relevant tips and advises closely related to what my website sells. – Liu Kang Jun 13 '17 at 12:36
  • Merging creates SEO risk. I've been involved in buying and selling many websites. It isn't common practice to try to merge. In fact, I've never seen it done. – Stephen Ostermiller Jun 13 '17 at 12:41
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if you redirect a site from another industry, then those links will obviously not offer a lot of value since the links are not relevant to your website. Well, in SEO, anything done with sole purpose to trick search engine to rank higher is black hat. While making changes to your site that make it easier for search engines to understand or crawl is white hat.

Buying and redirecting or developing expired domains with no previous history or backlink profile is not going to work every time as not all expired domains lead to tangible profit and page one search rankings. However, there are occasional domains that have a large backlink profiles. There are many SEO providers that may consider this technique as black hat.

  • But the OP is not suggesting to redirect "from another industry" and neither are they suggesting to use "expired domains". The example they give refers to highly relevant/same industry content on an existing website that would be purchased and moved as a whole to their existing website. – MrWhite Jan 12 '18 at 15:29
  • Exactly, non-expired domains with content that would bring value to visitors on my website - I don't believe Google ever would see this as black hat. There is always a risk that they would reset the PageRank when the domain switches owner. However, if the content on the acquired domain have enough value, new organic links will still gather over time. Big question is - what causes Google to pass PageRank in some cases, and in some cases not, when a website/business is acquired? – Liu Kang Jan 13 '18 at 21:24

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