If you're a business owner, entrepreneur or really any one who has an interest in creating a website someday, you may have parked a few URLs with registrar services like GoDaddy, Register.com or others. If you currently have a live website, or you're getting ready to launch a website there is a clever way to help give your live website some "optimization juice". Moz has a really technical article on the benefits of a 301 redirect but the benefits are actually much easier to explain if you're not a techie: If you have 3 URLs parked, (let's call them A, B and C), with GoDaddy and decide to launch a website on URL "A", you will get at least "some" optimization juice by redirecting URLs "B" and "C" to website "A". For example if you click on www.lawyer-websites.net your browser will automatically redirect you to my homepage. This method is also beneficial if you are relaunching your business on a new website and have a ton of print marketing material that hasn't been updated with your new website address, (yellow pages, business cards, billboards, Etc). You want to steer those visitors to your new website, without landing them on an error page or forcing them to manually type the new website page. Also, in general, redirecting a domain that has been registered for a long period of time and/or has been well optimized will carry more weight value with search engines, (referred to in the SEO industry as "link equity").
Marketing Benefit Example:
Let's say you're a plumber and your current URL is BobsPlumbing.com, but maybe you see a business opportunity in San Bernardino, Ca. You can purchase a URL like SanBernardinoLocalPlumber.com for about $15/yr and within minutes set up a 301 redirect to point visitors to bobsplumbing.com. Now you can leverage print marketing locally in San Bernardino with that URL to deliver the message that you are truly a local plumber. You can bet that when I'm networking or handing out business cards or marketing materials to attorneys that it has my Lawyer-Websites.net URL on it, because I am specifically marketing to that target demographic and I want them to know that my URL represents a specialty. If at any point in the future you want to fully develop that redirected URL, you can simply redirect it to the server where your new website resides, (website host). It's kind of like forwarding a telephone number.
It's important that this technique is not abused as it could have an adverse impact on your optimization effort. In general redirecting a few URLs is not a bad thing, but like anything it must be used in moderation. Also, if you're only redirecting URLs that have no history or link equity, Google's Panda algorithm update my ding your website's Page Rank. This article was accurate at the time of publishing, but as search algorithms and policies change so do the benefits and rules of the strategy discussed above.
I hope this info is useful, and maybe all the more reason to have an SEO consultant assist with your website campaign.
Experienced SEO professional and business consultant.