Does Domain Forwarding Affect Your Website’s SEO?
Does domain forwarding affect SEO? This question is one you’ve probably asked yourself if you’ve ever visited a competitor site from a keyword domain name or one you might’ve asked even as a regular, everyday web user.
If you’re new to SEO, you might still be wondering how domain forwarding works and if it can be a good strategy for your next project.
So, can domain forwarding help SEO? The short answer is yes, and not always the way you’d like. Read on to find out more about how domain forwarding works and how it affects your SEO strategy.
What is Domain Forwarding?
Domain forwarding is a process that allows you to direct visitors going to your site to a different location on the internet.
For example, if you have a site whose actual domain name is lewisstreetclothing.com, but you think potential customers might be able to remember greatshirts.com better, you could buy the second URL and have it redirect to lewisstreetclothing.com.
Visitors will see the landing page for lewisstreetclothing.com in their browser, and their address bar will now also say lewisstreetclothing.com instead of greatshirts.com.
How is it Used?
Domain forwarding typically directs visitors from a shorter, catchier keyword web address to your real web address. This technique is used for marketing purposes to express an element of your website that doesn’t appear in your actual domain name, mimic a competitor’s domain name, or create a catchier, less burdensome address.
Other domains may also have a better domain rating or simply better keywords to rank on Google. You can use the power of another website and redirect it to your own to improve your site’s authority.
When done correctly, domain forwarding can help your SEO. If you aren’t careful and thoughtful, however, domain forwarding can actually hurt your website.
How to Avoid Negative Domain Forwarding Effects
Buying multiple keyword domain names is a strategy that plenty of sites employ, even major ones. And it’s a fair assumption that a shorter, sweeter version of your URL will stick with people more than a longer one.
But having these other domain names indexed by Google or other search engines is where you run into trouble. In raising visibility and search rankings, Google can penalize sites for having their content posted multiple times.
Having multiple domain names with the same content all listed on a search engine will be detrimental to your site and SEO strategy. Domain forwarding can result in a lowered page rank as well as less traffic that is driven to your page via high search engine rankings.
Domain Forwarding Tips
Domain forwarding, if used correctly, can drive unique traffic to your page via a more memorable and marketable alternate domain name. It’s also a risky strategy that can give you plenty of downsides if you don’t implement it correctly.
Here are a few tips that might make domain forwarding work for you:
- Use redirects: 301 and 302 redirects can help keep your site from appearing multiple times on a search engine when you have more than one domain name. These redirects send the user permanently or temporarily, respectively, to the appropriate address.
- Use domain forwarding with masking: Like the first tip, this option sends a visitor to the actual domain landing page, but it keeps the domain name they typed in the address bar.
Overall, to answer the question “does domain forwarding affect SEO,” the answer is yes. While the risk is avoidable, the positive side of using domain forwarding is not necessarily worth the problems it imposes in the first place.