For years SEO's have been chasing more links to pump up their rankings. Links IMHO are still a major factor which makes a site "pop" in the SERP's. One of the oldest tricks in the book, is buy old domains, redirect the domain to your site with a 301-redirect, and flow all the raw pagerank to your domain to see rankings go up. This doesn't work that well anymore, since it's explicitly against Google's webmaster guidelines. But what if you revert back to an old domain your company has been using in the past, which has a much larger volume of incoming links. This is exactly what is happening at delicious.com, which will revert back to its old domain del.icio.us according to this Techcrunch article. Smart move, or old trick? Let's run a quick backlink report and compare the domains.
Can this SEO strategy revive del.icio.us to new heights, or does the company need a new product strategy to pull back customers?
First, let's see what the Google webmaster guidelines are saying, to see if this is against Google webmaster guidelines.
Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.
In my opinion, reverting back to a domain your company has been using in the past, and still in possession of said domain is not in violation of these. I'm sure a smart PR team can give it a credible story around branding the company in a way which is old school Web 2.0, going back to its roots yadayadayada...
Deep dive backlinks delicious.com vs del.icio.us
Both of these domains have a backlink profile lots of SEO's would be jealous off. Lots of .gov & .edu, which are still considered among SEO's as a) hard to get b) carrying more trust. Lot's of unique linking domains, not a lot of sitewide links or footer links. Let's start with the newer one, delicious.com.
With more than 2.5 billion links, and almost 2 million unique domains, delicious.com ranks #120 in the Majestic Million chart. This is a very juicy SEO domain, which I promise you this, would be very valuable for the backlinks alone. Selling this domain would be crazy if you don't take the backlink profile into account. Which is what is suggested in the Techcrunch post.
However, the delicious.com domain doesn't compare with the del.icio.us subdomain. With almost 3 times the number of backlinks, 1.5 million more unique domains linking to this subdomain, and almost twice the number of .edu & .gov domains, this is a smart SEO play to revert back to this old structure. And this is just the subdomain from the root domain icio.us! Below the screenshot here, you will see the root is even stronger!
Not a lot stronger, but a couple of million more links, and a couple thousand more unique domains, make this a very strong root domain, which will help the subdomain overall trust and authority in the search engines.
If you read the Techcrunch article, you will get it. The CEO of the company which owns delicious.com is described as:
“My primary specialty is Big Data SEO, and Delicious has a HUGE amount of data,” Aly told me. “In many ways, it’s an archive of the web. I’m incredibly excited by the opportunity to make this data as accessible as possible.”
We will see over time if the SEO strategy can revive del.icio.us to new heights. Personally I have a lot of doubts, because a) an SEO strategy will work better with a great product, and we haven't seen how the new product will work b) the delicious brand has been ~dead for a long time, will the general public go back to web 2.0 bookmarking, tagging with a folksonomy or has that time passed...?
Without a new, revolutionary product, the best SEO strategy will not win over customers to come back to the site and start using its product. The best SEO strategy, is a product that doesn’t suck, not a widely linked domain from the past…
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
For this analysis, I've used the Majestic backlink tool, which is my go to tool to evaluate websites backlink profiles.