Welcome to Dear John, a new (hopefully weekly) column where I’m going to answer questions about SEO/digital marketing in longer formats. If you have a question you’d like me to answer, please email it to hello at getcredo dot com with the subject starting with [DEAR JOHN]!

This was a fun question to answer because this marketer is trying to figure out why another domain, and thus its links, are pointing into his site. If you read into the question a little bit, I think he is trying to figure out if the redirected site is hurting his site, and also if this is a good link building tactic.

Read on.

I’ve ran a back link check and discovered a good back link to a site which then gets redirected back to my company’s website.

I have a feeling that an old SEO agency has purchased a small website which has a decent link back from a relevant organisation with a high Domain authority and then redirects the domain to our website to get the link juice.

What are your thought on this? Is this really bad practise and possibly damaging?



My response?

Hey there –

Great question. If that’s what’s happening, then someone definitely bought the old domain with links to it and redirected it. I’ve also seen this done TO people in order to pass an algorithmic penalty onto a competitor. Nasty stuff.

That said, while this isn’t strictly whitehat, it can be super effective to buy old dead domains with links and redirect them into your own site. It actually works very well for SEO purposes! But, it comes with its risks as you have to do a lot of due diligence on the domain you want to redirect as there could have been some dodgy things going on and you don’t want to risk passing along a penalty to your own site.

That said, I wouldn’t undo the redirect unless you think it’s hurting you. Move on and focus on other things to build new links.

The better thing to do, IMO, is to find these dead sites and pull their backlink profiles, then go and do outreach offering your site as a replacement for that site that is now dead. It’s called broken link building and it works really well!

Hope that helps.


Have a question you’d like me to answer publicly? Email it to me – hello at getcredo dot com – and start the subject line with [DEAR JOHN].