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I have a domain which previously belonged to someone hosting a forum on it.

Can I use that traffic to give my domain a boost, by taking the 404 traffic and 301 redirecting it to an existing page of mine?

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Yes. For a period. However, I do warn you that if link keywords do not match the target page, these links can be downgraded and Google, depending upon the number, can consider this as spam. If your site is the same basic topic as the forum, then perhaps you can match the link keyword topics to relevant pages to prevent this.

  • I have a customer that buys related topic discussion forums and eventually integrates them under their main forum. During the transition, they send 404 traffic to a special search page on their main forum. They have set a rel=noindex nofollow set on that page. The search page automatically takes info from the URL and does a search. – jeffatrackaid Jun 30 '14 at 16:02
  • @jeffatrackaid Nice! I have never been in this situation, but it sounds like you have great ideas on the matter. Thanks for sharing. – closetnoc Jun 30 '14 at 16:04

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