Lets say I have a domain already, for example www.automobile4u.com (not mine), with a website fully running and all.

The title of my "Website" says:

  <title>Used cars - buy and sell your used cars here</title>

Also, lets say I have fully SEO the website so when people searching for the term buy used cars, I end up on the second or first page.

Now, I want to end up higher, so I go to the google adwords page where you can check how many searches are made on specific terms.

Lets say the term "used cars" has 20 million searches each month.

Here comes the question, could I just go and buy that domain with the search terms adress, in this case www.usedcars.com and make a redirect to my original page, and this way when people search for "used cars", my newly bought domain name comes up redirecting people to my original website (www.automobile4u.com)?

The reason I believe this benefits me is because it seems search engines first of all check website adresses matching the search, so the query "used cars" would automatically bring www.usedcars.com to the first result right?

What are the downsides for this?

I already know about google spiders not liking redirects, but there are many methods of redirecting...

Is this a good idea generally?

  • That would help. However, simply going and buying the domain is not so simple. You will have to pay a lot of money to buy usedcars.com.
    – Marcus Adams
    Oct 12, 2010 at 18:37
  • 4
    Searching your example in Google disproves your point for me: used cars does not return usedcars.com or any domain with that phrase in it (however I'm in the UK so mainly .co.uk domains are returned). Oct 13, 2010 at 11:44

7 Answers 7


This won't do what you hope it will do. The redirect will effectively tell Google that URL no longer exists and has moved to your new URL. Plus since the new domain also won't have any links pointing to it it won't transfer any link love over either. The only positive it will have is you can use it as a shorter and more recognizable domain name which is good for users.

And just having the keywords in the domain does not automatically rank you #1 (or even well at all) just because it matches the search term. The domain name is just one of many factors affecting how a page is ranked. It's very, very common to see pages with the exact domain of a search term not rank #1 simply because other pages have much better content.

Better content = better rankings. Make that your mantra if you want to do well in the search engines.

(BTW, if this really worked everyone would buy the domains of the keywords they want to rank well for. They don't do it because it doesn't work. If it did then the first person to buy all the domains wins. Plus it is too easy to manipulate this way. The easier it is to manipulate the less it is used in the ranking algorithm if it is even used at all).

  • "redirect will effectively tell Google that URL no longer exists" - this is true only for 301 redirects and not 302 redirects
    – DD.
    Dec 15, 2014 at 15:28

John Conde is 100% correct in everything he said.

There are two other considerations for purchasing the extra domain.

First is it easy for people to remember the extra domain? Will they possibly type it in on a guess/hope that it is relevant. bn.com is a good example of the first and usedcards.com is a good example of the second. If that is the case and this is business site there could be value in purchasing it and doing the redirect.

Secondly, if your business is in a space where there is or will be a lot of competition purchasing the domains for redirect purposes only has a lot of value in that it removes the choices for your competition and increases the domain presence of your company.

Neither of these things will effect SERP but they present other value. The company I work for currently has over 300 domain names registered just for these reasons.

  • 6
    +1 for the non-SEO reasons. There's so much more to this world then SEO.
    – John Conde
    Oct 12, 2010 at 19:11
  • @John_Conde ... that's right! Take, for instance, social media marketing... ;)
    – danlefree
    Oct 12, 2010 at 20:34

There was an article last week on SEO-Moz - Exact Match Domains. So it would seem that having a domain that matches your keyword is not negligible. It wont bring you to #1, but it helps a little bit to get there (it seems).

But it will only help you if it appears in the search results, thus you will need to move your website to the new domain. This means that you need to make your previous domain have 301 redirects to the new domain so you will not lose your PR and Google Ranking for your existing pages.

Google Webmaster Tools has a section with additional information that can help you do the website redirect without breaking your current rankings, but it is still a risky process.

In your question you wanted the other domain to redirect to yours -- it will have no effect, since the newly bought "better" domain name will not appear in Google results.

Having a better domain name, makes it bold in the results. And more people might actually remember it and come directly next time. If you have a possibility to buy usedcars.com or used-cars.com, do it - and move your website to the new domain dumping the old one.


I've seen people use exact match domains for SEO purposes in a few different ways.

One is to build micro sites (3-5 pages) and use them to filter traffic to their main domain, as John Conde mentioned exact match domain doesn't guarantee high rankings, but in niches that have very little competition it can sure help. My personal opinion is that most micro sites I see are just one step above doorway pages (that Google dislikes) and they don't reflect well on your brand.

Another is to buy an established site that is already ranking well and redirecting it to get the value of all of their aged links, while there are plenty of good reasons to redirect whole domains (company gets acquired etc.) so I don't think Google gives a blanket penalty for redirecting whole sites, anytime you do something like that which is obviously manipulative of the search results and there is no obvious use to the user, you will run some risks. In my opinion if you're shelling out the cash for an established domain it's usually better to invest in building up the domain rather then redirect it and risk losing all value.

Some use a slightly modified version of above and buy exact match domains in related niches build links to them through linkbait then redirect certain pages, or the whole domain when it's authoritative enough. This seems as though it would come with the same inherent risk as above.

Lastly I see people buying exact match domains in niches where there aren't many link opportunities they put good content on the sites and use them to generate links to their main site, the challenge here is keeping the new site or sites supplied with useful information. But if you do have the resources to build a network of sites that are high quality it can be a good way to build your brand, traffic and rankings.

I've seen all of these methods work, I'd say with the first 3 you probably want to know what you're doing or expect to take some losses as they are outside of Google's recommended best practices (as I understand them at least). The last one takes a good deal of effort and resources to ensure each site is current and useful.


My company has been fiddling with this theory for over 10 years. We are a small niche company, but the competitors that we do have are ferocious. What we did was buy up about 100 domain names, basically just to keep the competition from getting them - HOWEVER, recently we realized that if we build content (at least 500 words, etc.) on all of those websites we can go for some link love by linking them all together.

What we have found so far:

Google was definitely confused at first, but sure enough, it eventually kept our main website at number 1 and actually "booted" most of the other websites out as they contain too much similar content (there are only so many ways to describe our product).

Secondly, the "link love" that we sought out has not materialized because the micro sites do not have good Google PR by themselves, therefore a link from them is almost meaningless.

As RandomBen mentioned above, the only thing that we've really accomplished is eliminating the choices of web domains for our competition - so far, anyway. I think that if we work hard to build good content on ALL of the sites, while avoiding similar content, we will EVENTUALLY get ahead - a little bit.

What you have to remember is that your domain name doesn't even matter if your site is built well enough. Just look at Amazon.com - they probably didn't go out and buy 4000 web domains trying to pull traffic in, they just built ONE really good website.


You can always use the 'hub and spoke' method, usedcars.com can host the in depth pages on each car and with a nice domain like that it can be used for shareable perma-links. Meanwhile the main site concentrates on the buying (selling from the customers perspective) of cars, and a description of automobile4u (or whoever the company is).

This way you can generate a lot of highly concentrated single topic SEO goodness against a well suited domain, have a wealth of relevant content and a ton of backlinks to your main domain (and visa-versa).

The next time you have a opportunity i.e. you suddenly have a huge number of Minis to sell and usedminis.com is available, the content can be split further across domains.


In my experience the only thing to do is cut to the chase and invest in a premium domain name .Okay it is going to be more expensive but it has been proved time and time again that by doing so for a little extra investment, you could secure an intuitive, memorable name that could help your business differentiate itself in a crowded market by building a memorable online brand and help your business on its way to making a great impact on the web.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.