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It’s been great attending Namescon this week, though a couple side-bar conversations had me scratching my head. In fact, on three instances I’ve heard people discussing this topic and someone stating that having keyword rich and exact match domain names is where it’s at. This choice alone can make or break you. And they were thinking of developing sites, not parking domains.
So let’s examine the value of a domain as applied to search.
Now, I thought we were all past this, but apparently some still believe this is the case. The thinking is, basically, that having a keyword-rich domain makes that domain more relevant to the topic. That merely having a popular keyword in the domain will help that site, regardless of content, rank on the high volume keyword. So many feel keyword research (admittedly a bit harder these days) will point to winners and losers. Winners are those with a reasonable volume of queries per month, while losers have almost none or none. They feel the content of the site is less important than having a word in the domain, basically.
So watching for, buying and using a domain name which corresponds to a phrase that gets high search volumes should see you ranking higher on that phrase, you getting more clicks, increased traffic, revenue, etc.
And 10 years ago, there may have been some truth to this…
Ranking today is a result of so many signals fed into the system the words used in a domain send less and less information into the stack as a percentage of overall decision making signals. This is great from our view (the engine) as it results in better results showing at the top since no one signal can be manipulated. From the searchers POV, it’s better simply because those sites trying to abuse their way to the top with a keyword rich domain and irrelevant or poor content cease to rank well.
You might be thinking, at this point, that a keyword inclusive domain name is not useful today, but read on…
Your Focus Should Be
If you’re focused on the user experience and relevancy, however, the value remains intact to a greater degree. Good domain names are easy to remember, easy to spell, easy to pronounce and often short. If you look around, you’ll see no shortage of made up words as domains, too. You CAN create a new word that passes many tests and you CAN build awareness of it and over time you’ll see it become an actually searched-on phrase in its own right.
To reach this point, however, there has to be something of value on the site. Something that makes people want to share the site, recommend the site and revisit the site themselves. This is where your content, user experience and relevancy come into play.
It’s perfectly acceptable to use words in domains in unique ways. Its fine to use words in domains in ironic ways, though be sure those looking for you understand your meaning. Think of The Onion. People don’t go there looking for produce.
Today, this is our reality. It’s inescapable. There are no shortcuts. Even the new generic top level domains (gTLDs) coming out near the end of February will be treated in this manner. Domain spamming isn’t new, so sites that provide value, are relevant and that people like will rank as usual. They won’t rank “just because” they have certain words in them, and thinking that keyword stuffing a domain (think: cars.cars) will give you an edge is dangerous. You’ll fall off that cliff in a hurry if abused. If it appears that it’s just all going to bring forward spam, well, you know we aren’t interested in that approach.
And to wrap back to those conversations I overheard, well, it was kind of fun to join those conversations and open some eyes. We’re all on a learning curve, but usually at different points. It’s always great to be able to help folks learn something new-to-them that can have a material effect on their success…or avoidance of failure.
Duane ForresterSr. Product ManagerBing
Hi Duane thanks for sharing the article. I am not sure as how this game works. But what i see is that i own stockmarketoasis.com i bought this domain to do content optimization experiments on it to see how google and bing reacts to my planned and structured content.
i have added many topics to the site from technology to news to bitcoins to investments and so on.
even though my domain name is related to stockmarket i am getting traffic for technology posts i have created with good content value.
the site has 10% of technology content but generates 70% of traffic and i have bitcoin articles around 50% which generates 10% traffic and son on for other investment articles.
what i see here is that no matter what ur domain name is, you content is going to rank high in searches as per quality
let me know your thought's
My approach to this goes like: It can halp persuade user to click, and therefore, since CTR is a well-known factor, it helps but not directly. Also, kw-rich domains may pretty much come across spammy-looking - driving more experinced users away.
There wouldn’t be that much talking about keyword-rich domains if people didn’t see them on SE result pages. Bing did improve recently cleaning up EMDs for competitive keywords and phrases, but the reality is… EMDs (less than a year old) still rule on the first page SERPs for keyphrase+location (city) pushing even famous established brands far away. Titles & URLs of the first page results look almost identical to each other. Hopefully, Bing will overcome the EMD fever soon and the myth mentioned in the post becomes as such.
I don't fully agree. EMD or not, Bing is quite useless in accepting new sites to its index. For example, we purchased the parked domain name MathGames.com. Built a totally custom site everything original good core metrics with our users with solid monthly growth.
And even after 4 months and filling out the forms provided by Bing - we are still in the black hole.
No feedback for devs, and very little communication really sucks because I know a lot of developers that want Bing to become a real alternative to Google but with things as simple as url submit to index not working how can one spend any meaningful time trying to optimize a site according to Bings guidelines.
Thanks all for the input. I have been researching this topic for a while and have to mention that there are convincing publications about SEO - less than 5 years old - out there that swear by keyword heavy or exact match(EMD) domain names.
I have a blog site (http://2fortheroad,co.uk) which does not have a keyword heavy name. I have tried various things that I've read to optimize over time, including neater html structure, image file naming/alt tags, less but specific meta tags, etc. Also we have endeavoured to provide sincere and useful content. I have a moderate number of inbound links and a facebook site which has 300+ followers, but I haven't had much improvement on the SERPs over time. (ok, it's not a business site so nothing lost, nothing gained, but I am wondering whether the EMD would be the ticket for me...)
I've had sites with exact-match names rank splendidly and others not rank at all. There seems to be too much else at play to rely solely on this. All other things being equal, I'll take the domain with the search phrase...
I dont know what think about it.
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