Link Building Via Misspelled Domains!

by rishil on February 24, 2011

"Your Next" - Source: Unknown Email FWDs...

"Your Next" - Source: Unknown Email FWDs...

It isn’t often that I give out Link Building advice. This is because I don’t really like link building – I find it tedious and sometimes boring, except for when the ideas are around Link Baiting (but that’s another post :P ) .  As a result, I am always looking for low hanging fruit (to use a cliché). It amazes me how often you find a simple yet easy strategy that gets you links, very often these are links that you already deserve!

JC Penney Link Building

I bet you are bored of hearing about these guys. So am I. After, how many times would you want to read about the JC Penney fiasco? Well, bear with me. I am using them as the example because it is relevant.

When  I first wrote my post on JC Penney, I misspelled their name. Chris Lake (Director of Innovation @Econsultancy) was kind enough to let me know of my error, and I quickly corrected the post. In fact, you can still see the error in the URL for that post:

http://explicitly.me/10-things-you-should-have-learnt-form-the-jc-penny-seo-fiasco

This reminded me of a strategy that we used a few times before to grab links – after all misspelling is a common problem with a number of businesses, especially with big brands.

Cracking Open The Data

Majestic just released a pretty good Site Explorer tool, which I used to play with some of the data. Unfortunately, as I am not a premium subscriber, I only get to see  handful of links – as a result I opened up SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer which gives me a few more on the free version.  So lets look at the most common misspell:

So Many Links - Nyum Nyum

So Many Links - Nyum Nyum

As you can see, there are hundreds of root domains, and thousands of backlinks! Is that easy picking? You bet it is. After all, you have already been given the link, just to the wrong domain!

Miss Spelling JCPenny.com

Here are a few choice links to prove that the links exist:

JC Penny Link 1

JC Penny Link 2

JC Penny Link 2

JC Penny Link 3

JC Penny Link 3

Now that doesn’t mean you should ignore other weird and wonderful miss spelled domains, for example, JCpeney.com has only one link:

JC Peney Link

JC Peney Link

Pro Tip: Buy those Misspelled Domains!

301 Missspells

301 Misspells

JC Penney did one thing right – they own the most common misspell JCPenny.com, and it redirects to the home page.  However you will be surprised how many brands DON’T own their miss spells. Buy those. Make sure they 301 properly. Other wise you are losing out on so much link equity, as you can see from the example above.

I suggest buying all variations – for example JCpeney.com is interestingly, this is an affiliate owned domain name which redirects to:

http://www.jcpenney.com/jcp/default.aspx?cm_mmc=LinkShare-_-AFF-_-Mktg-_-Ad

International TLDs

If you are a business that operates internationally, (JC Penney doesn’t operate in the UK for e.g, as in it doesn’t market to the UK) then chances are that you may own most the TLDs. In most cases, I have found businesses redirecting these properly to the live site, if they don’t use local domains for their website, but subdomains or folders. However, there are instances I have found that businesses:

  1. Don’t own the Local TLD
  2. If they own it, don’t redirect
  3. If they redirect, they use 302s

In the first instance, GET those TLDs!

Side Tip: If you operate in the UK, a .co.uk isn’t enough, get the Irish Domain (.ie), the Channel Island Domains (.GG and .JE ) Isle of Man Domain (.im). You never know when you need them.

For the second point, if you own it, redirect it! The third mistake is daft, use 301 unless you planning on building a site on the domain.

However, popular US businesses DO get traffic from the UK, and JC Penney SHOULD have bought the .co.uk,  – they don’t have many links (OK just one), but other businesses and brands may have more – check yours today!

JC Peney Link

JC Penney .co.uk Link

Side Note: Dont Ignore Misspelling, Domaining them is Big Business

The highest sale of a typo domain we’ve ever seen and the $200,000 sale of a domain that had been donated to a charity headline another big week of domain sales. You may need smelling salts after looking at the whopping $242,400 price paid for the #1 domain, Mortage.com (DN Journal)

Buying up Misspelled Domains should be part and parcel of your businesses Online Marketing. Why? Well, for one, Its stops Lazy Affiliate strategies. (and the practice of TypoSquatting).

Secondly, how many times can you misspell Britney Spears? Loads, Says Google. The big G has been working hard in passing through the right results for misspelling, even using common volume misspells to correct results. (Vanessa Fox has a decent post on this). Although a large proportion of people tend to use search engines now instead of the address bar, people still do type in domains (shock and horror). Dont let them go to the wrong place.

Third, take a look at your Google analytics data. You will often see misspells in them. Isnt that a case and point?

Resources

Conclusion

As you can see, there are loads of low hanging fruit that you can pick, if you are a lazy link builder like I am. I have a few more easy tips up my sleeve, and the next post is titled: Link Building: 3 Easy Pickings for Retail and Ecommerce Sites. So why not subscribe to my feed to catch it when its out?

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Rishi Lakhani is an independent Online Marketing Consultant specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Explicitly.Me is his Blog. Google Profile

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave February 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Nice post – it’s also worth seeing if anyone is linking to the ww.domain.com URL (instead of www.). The subdomain typo happens every so often, but most people don’t 301 the ww subdomain.

Reply

Andy Morley February 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Am I right in saying that the benefit from this will be the “referrals” this technique will produce, Rand says at the bottom of his “Head Smacking” tips article that …

“when it comes to search engines, you’d probably need to own the domain ahead of time to get any SEO value from those links (or from 301 re-directing it). Buying a domain that’s never been registered before or from a domain broker simply to get its erroneous, unintentional backlink profile is likely to have virtually no value. The engines appear to do a good job of “re-setting” a site’s link profile to near-0 when domain ownership changes hands.”

Reply

rishil February 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Rands Tip is to get the domain and 301 it – What you are doing is in fact two fold:
1. “Future Proofing” any NEW inbound links
2. Although the link value of an old domain is reset in many cases, The link over time is bound to gain value again after subsequent crawls IMHO. This meand you get the future juice.

However, I am not suggesting that – I am suggesting you manually contact all the sites linking to the wrong domain and get it corrected!

Reply

Andy Morley March 19, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Ahh thanks for the advice Rishil,

I was at an SEO MOz / Distilled Conference this week, they speak highly of you and your blog. Good work man!

Andy

Reply

netmeg February 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I’d be wary of typos on trademarks.

If the complainant can prove each of the following elements then it means the domain could be in violation and the TM holder could win the domain.

(i) The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and

(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) The disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

Reply

rishil February 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Absolutely – but in this case I am advising TM Owners – AKA the Brand to use this strategy…

Reply

robert Nicholson February 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Hey Rishil,
This is pretty similar to the blog post I did way back – http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/typosquatting-and-why-registering-your-common-missspell-domains-is-essential

Reply

rishil February 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Excellent mate, missed that one!

Reply

robert Nicholson February 25, 2011 at 9:17 am

Yep – but as you wisely point out – its just such an easy way to pick up links! Great post.

Reply

Moosa Hemani February 25, 2011 at 11:49 am

buying domains like .net, .co.uk, .com.au and other for big brands specially who work globally is common but buying miss spelled domains and redirect then (301) to the main website is what most of the ppl forget.

i usually miss spell Google.com with Googlr.com and it takes me to Google.com again…

Reply

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