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My company owns several domains, all with the structure service4someone.com( e.g., drivers4millionnaires.com). I'm currently reviewing which ones we need to keep.

Some of them are simply used to redirect people to our main website. Can Google identify the fact that the number "4" is used in the context of the word "for"? I've found no information on this kind of question.

Is it worthwhile keeping domains with no web traffic in a bid to capture any searches for drivers for millionnaires (relating to the example domain)?

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    If the domains aren't indexed they're dead weight. Google will tend to optimise based on page titles/content rather than domain name. Look at the ridiculous 'unique' brand names that exist yet succeed in optimising for their keyword. The keyword in the domain is a bonus not a necessity. – L Martin Oct 19 '17 at 16:17
  • Even if the don't equate the numeral with the word, you can just make the title of the page spell it out "drivers for millionaires". – Stephen Ostermiller Oct 22 '17 at 12:04
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Redirecting one or more domains to your main domain for any reason other than 1. an effort to consolidate multiple, similar websites or 2. changing the primary domain name of your website is a bad practice, and could lead to being penalized by Google. This has been known for the better half of a decade. For example, back in 2011, JCPenny learned this the hard way, which was widely publicized.

As far as Google understanding the use of numbers in a domain name, such as "4 = for" "2 = to" etc; I certainly would not underestimate Google's ability to understand the contextual meaning.

Additionally, just because a domain isn't indexed doesn't mean that it is dead weight, or that they don't have some intrinsic value, but for the purposes that you outlined, the most prudent advice that I can provide is that they have no use. To further illustrate this point, check out this post in 2015, which specifically states that Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search results.

Hopefully, this helps. Let me know if you would like any clarity.

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  • The JCPenny case seems to be about something different, no? According to the linked article, they had multiples websites which linked to the main domain. OP says their additional domains "redirect" to the website, so it could be assumed that OP is using 301 redirects, not additional websites with links. – unor Oct 21 '17 at 0:18
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    Perhaps the only thing different is that SearchDex was knowingly and intentionally buying high PR domains & redirecting them to JCPenny. In Mathew Perry's question, he specifically said that some of their domains are " simply used to redirect people to our main website" which is no different than what JCPenny was doing. Granted, one scenario is intentional manipulation, the other is an attempt to capture traffic - both are in violation of Google's Best Practices. – Josh Salganik Oct 21 '17 at 0:51
  • @Josh Salganik Good answer! I especially enjoyed the reference made to “JCPennygate”. – Taylor Oct 30 '17 at 4:12

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