Choosing the Right Domain Name
Choosing the right domain name is crucial when launching a website, but do keyword domains have ranking power?
There are several reasons why domain names with keywords are of significant value, one being that it is believed they might be of help in ranking. Therefore it is crucial to pick the right one. There are three types of names to choose from:
- Keyword domain
- Word + keyword domain
- Brand domain
If you’re unsure which methodology is most advantageous, become familiar with this information before choosing.
An individual or company that owns a keyword domain name can create a strong connection with their audience by placing relevant words to the business in the domain name. An example of this type of domain is Widgets.com. Although some companies own generic domain names and redirect them to their websites for reasons unknown, this technique can be effective.
Let’s say; The URL coffee.com redirects to Peet’s Coffee, a specialty coffee roaster. That makes it simple for people to find Peet’s.
However, generic keyword domains have a disadvantage because “all the desirable ones” are locked down and excessively costly to take away from a domainer. Generic keyword domains also have some historical significance on the internet.
Before developing search engines and browsers, users typed the name of a product or service directly into the browser or search engine to be connected to the relevant website. This method of direct navigation generated a substantial amount of revenue for those who owned the domains and parked them. Parking the domain involved setting it up to display ads and nothing but ads.
Prior to the era of search engines, people could make money by parking domain names. As a result, if someone searched for a one-word query such as [burgers], Burgers.com might be listed as the result.
As a result, in 2011, Google decreased the search visibility of parked domains. Is there ranking power in keyword domains? It’s not anymore, but John Mueller of Google has something to say about it, which is more details below.
Word + Keyword Domains
The most common strategy is to include a word in a domain name that describes what visitors can expect on the site. Websites like Cheap[name of product/service].com, [name of product/service]Reviews.com, Fast[name of product/service], and so on are examples of this. Creating a domain name using keywords and words is not a terrible idea.
- Positive Aspect Of A Domain + Keyword
The Keyword immediately identifies the site’s purpose, and the word conveys the visitor’s intention.
Looking for a review? Check out [name of product/service]Reviews.com.
- Negative Aspect Of Word + Keyword Domain
Having a website committed to a particular niche can be a disadvantage, as it prevents the website from growing and diversifying.
If you started as one, it would be challenging to turn [JoesCameraReviews] into a site that reviews or sells other products.
Many sites rank very well in terms of keywords on the domain.
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Branded domains are domain names that don’t necessarily include keywords. Etsy, Amazon, and Zappos are examples of branded domains.
There is nothing wrong with using a branded domain to build a website, as long as the domain name doesn’t define the site’s content. Many sites with branded domains can rank well in search results.
Google's Four Insights on Keyword Domains
Google Senior Software Engineer John Mueller recently answered a question in a Webmaster Hangout, providing four indicators of the significance of domain names in rankings.
1. Keyword domains don’t have a time benefit.
According to Google’s John Mueller, keyword domains are not preferable to branded domains when ranking fast. There is a belief that keyword domains can achieve this. However, according to Mueller, this is not the case. Anchor text links can provide keyword domains with advantages, particularly when it comes to link building. This idea has been around for years. It is a topic that has been heavily debated.
Unfortunately, John Mueller’s remark did not address this supposed advantage. Here is what John Mueller stated: “…it takes time like any other new website… Obviously, there are lots of websites out there that do rank for the keywords in their domain name. But they worked on this maybe for years and years…”
2. Keywords in domains do not rank better.
According to John Mueller, it is true that keyword domains do not rank better than branded domains.
“…just because keywords are in a domain name doesn’t mean that it’ll automatically rank for those keywords.”
Ranking really depends on many factors, such as the content, the user’s desire for the content, and links. All of these things may well be more important than domain keywords. John Mueller didn’t explicitly say keywords in the domain name weren’t a ranking signal, but he did say there was no significant advantage to having the keywords there. This is an important takeaway.
3. Keyword Domains lost impact years ago.
Keyword domains lost influence years ago, John Mueller said. This is what John Mueller said:
“…just because keywords are in a domain name doesn’t mean that it’ll automatically rank for those keywords. And that’s something that’s been the case for a really, really long time.”
Google announced in late 2011 that it had updated its algorithm to remove parked domains from search results (here is the official announcement). This may be a reference to that algorithm update.
Google’s algorithm update announcement quote:
“This is a new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites with little unique content for our users and are often filled only with ads.
In most cases, we prefer not to show them.”
Despite the fact that Google no longer granted a boost to parked keyword domains, the notion that keyword domains were superior to brand domains continued to thrive in the search business. There may be a weak signal here, but there is nothing to corroborate that theory.
There have been no search engine research studies that have included domains as a signal forever. We live in a period in which heading tags (H1, H2) have lost their weight in the ranking. Current algorithms no longer give a weight bonus for title tags. We know this, and it questions whether Google still gives a natural rankings boost for a domain keyword.
4. Keyword domains can be as equally ranked as branded domains.
Another declaration invalidates the notion that domain names with keywords have an advantage in search rankings. According to John Mueller, the keywords in a domain have no bearing on its current ranking:
“…it’s kind of normal that they would rank for those keywords and that they happen to have them in their domain name is kind of unrelated to their current ranking.”
According to Mueller, domain names containing the keywords are not positively correlated to higher rankings.
Before Choosing A Domain Name: Do Some Research
You should always research domain names to see if they have been registered before or what they were used for. In rare instances, a domain used to spam may become stuck in a Google algorithm loop. The domain is banned for a month, then released for a few days before being banned once more, which prevents the site from ranking above the second page of search results.
Keyword Domains SEO Advantage
As Mueller points out, having a keyword in a domain name can provide several advantages. However, SEO advantages are not necessarily among them, as he indicates.
“…that they happen to have them in their domain name is kind of unrelated to their current ranking.”
Make Your Domain Stand Out
Choosing a domain name that would stand out can be accomplished by either emphasizing a keyword or brand name. According to a 2011 webmaster help video by former Googler Matt Cutts, choosing a domain name that stands out in certain situations might be advantageous.
“For example, if you have 15 sites about Android and they all have Android, Android, Android, Android, it’s going to be a little hard to remember to rise above the noise, to rise above the din.
Whereas, if you have something that’s a little more brandable, then people are going to remember that. They’re going to be able to come back to it. Even sites like TechCrunch, nothing in there says tech news.”
Takeaway on Domain Names
The choice of domain names can be advantageous or disadvantageous depending on the site’s needs. If the business wants to expand to encompass a broader range of topics, then a less specific domain name or even one not associated with the company’s brand is a good choice.
The business should consider its present objectives, the message the domain name conveys to visitors, its tale, and how well the domain name fits with the business’s future to determine if it’s a good idea. The ranking is not guaranteed by using a keyword in a domain name, making it a little more straightforward to select one. Starting with a niche-specific domain name is fine, but it may cause other websites to reconsider linking to your site or make you lose fans.
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