Link building without link building

About a year ago, I wrote a blog post about redirecting websites for link equity and ranking improvements. I touched on all the caveats and longevity of the boost, but I also demonstrated how businesses were using it as a strategy to see some pretty significant SEO results.

These days it’s difficult to drive results from organic search. Everyone knows you need good links, quality content, and a sound technical base. However, to see quicker growth, you sometimes must wander slightly off the ‘best practice path’ and test different tactics.

There was a little bit of a debate in the office about redirecting domains and how much benefit it could actually pass and, more importantly, for how long. In short, we decided to invest a little bit of money and give it a go and I’m happy to report that results were good!

We selected the website by scraping the BBC and finding websites that no longer existed or weren’t maintained. We then filtered them to make sure the list we had left was relevant to the website we were eventually going to redirect it to.

$200 later, we had an unmaintained website linked to from every major publishing site in the UK.

You can learn more about finding websites here.

Of course, we did our due diligence thorough link audits and checked websites linked out to from our new domain. We got extremely lucky, with barely anything to clean up.

When it came to the redirect, rather than sending it to the homepage, we redirected it to a category page within the website. It was super relevant and would have given visitors much better information, compared to the old unmaintained website currently in place.

The redirect went in place and a week later we saw this:

SEO visibility after website redirectYes, this is just another search metrics chart showing 25% increase in visibility. So, let’s breakdown the important bits:

  • Top 3 rankings for 10 most important keywords
  • First page rankings for terms that had historically struggled on page 5/6
  • 4,000 additional monthly visitors
  • 200 more monthly leads

Rankings have continued to grow over the past 3 months, and not just for the category the domain was redirected into. It seems to have lifted authority for the entire website, indicating a domain level spread of the link equity.

I must stress that this isn’t just a niche set of keywords where one link from the BBC makes you king – it was in a highly competitive industry where major budgets are being invested in both organic and paid search.

Finally, the boring caveats:

  • We’ve only had 3 months to look at the results, and so it may be that in 6 months the benefit fades.
  • The domain you redirect must be relevant: we’ve tried doing this for link equity alone and the results were minimal or non-existent.
  • Going overboard with this is likely to get you a manual penalty (we have seen this happen before).

Delivering ‘quick’ organic results is a thing of the past, but I genuinely believe this is a safer way of seeing a positive impact quicker.

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