Is shoving keywords into your domain name really worth it?

What are the costs and benefits of having keyword-rich domain names? Does having the keywords you wish to rank for in the domain name really give you an advantage over your competition?All things being equal, yes. But before you throw down $7.95 on www.hotel-rates-in-bangladesh.com, consider what your goals are with the domain.

High rankings are great; “brandibility” is better which will translate to better rankings eventually and more likely will have a longer lasting results. A catchy domain name will increase brand awareness and is worth more than a domain name picked solely for SEO, especially if it’s difficult to remember and loaded with hyphens and underscores.

This doesn't work anymore and looks unprofessional.

This doesn’t work anymore and looks unprofessional.

10 Comments

  1. I’ve been buying domains for years. Some keyword rich, others not. Some with -, _, or no space between words.

    My experience shows that keywords can help in SEs, but it can actually hurt to have overly long domains with humans.

    I’ve recently started using James Brausch’s Nemeas to help me choose relevant domains that will rank better and have had good success. It does a statistical check against what ranks well and doesn’t rank well to give a potential domain name a score. Works well for me.

    Cheers and thanks for the good points on domain names.

    Eric

    Reply
  2. I used both and in terms of ranking, the full-of-keywords-stuffed-domain.com didn’t really help…with a good linking campaign you can get them equal in the serps. If you’re not actively searching for links it will help, like you said.

    That being said, at the moment I prefer branding above stuffing for a serious e-commerce biz, especially if you’re doing off line advertising too.

    Dave

    Reply
  3. Choosing a domain that includes the primary keyword (if it’s not too long, makes sense to do so, is a part of the business name, etc.) is just good business practice, and yes, Google does favor sites with a keyword in the domain. However, domain keyword stuffing with hyphens or underscores raises HUGE flags in Google. File names however, is a different story, and something that’s ‘warmly’ contested still.

    Eric, what you pose is intriguing. Can you offer more insight?

    Reply
  4. @Eric: I’ll have to check out Nemeas. Sounds useful.

    Reply
  5. >> I buy 100 keyword-rich domains and I redirect all to the main domain?

    And does that work well?

    Reply
  6. In terms of SEO what would be the best approach:

    1. Simply 301 redirecting a key phrase rich domain to the main site domain e.g. red-paint.com to companyname.com

    2. Writing some key phrase rich content on red-paint.com that is actually useful (not spammed) and providing a link to companyname.com.

    I understand that redirecting a large number of key phrase rich domains to the single company domain isn’t a particularly good idea. Is that true?

    Also on a separate issue regarding hyphens would Google recognise the key phrase “red paint” in redpaint.com or just red-paint.com. I was led to believe it was.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  7. A simple redirect will pass all link love and page rank. That is almost always best if the original url has similar content to the url you are redirecting to. Don’t try to redirect to a page that hasn’t nothing to do with the old page. Bad SEO, bad!

    Redirecting shouldn’t be a tactic in SEO. Use it as it was directed to be used.

    Reply
  8. hey guys, what i did here was this:

    my company name is Xpirt Website Design located at http://xpirtdesign.com
    (original url)

    i just registered the http://www.affordable-website-designs.com domain name because my main target keyword is “affordable website design”

    i did a 301 redirect from affordable-website-designs.com to my original domain xpirtdesign.com

    what do you guys think about that?

    my content is good as far as humans are concered, but i did throw a few h1 and h2 tags, bolded each keyword once, and used the keyword in the title, ect, appropriately.

    also, i used the keyword in my urls i.e (http://xpirtdesign.com/affordable_website_design_services.html)

    i do understand that most of your rankings will come from other sites linking to your site using the keyword anchor tag (as far as google is concerned).

    the the real question for me here is… Am I on the right track? I dont check this blog often but I would like some comments or advice, Feel free to email me at jamesweir@xpirtdesign.com

    Thanks alot!

    Reply
  9. I recently bought at domain name with the keyword I wanted to optimize for. At first it soared to the top, but then apparantly others started to do their SEO, so I went further down on the search results.

    In my experience you cannot rely solely on the domain name, you also have to do some serious SEO.

    One of the things to do is posting comments on blogs, and even though you have taken away that option, it still works :-)

    Reply
  10. “I would have to agree that focusing too much on keywords is not worth it. For the search engines, focus on quality content, and for your users, focus on making the domain name easy to remember.”

    Those are indeed both good things but having a great keyword domain name not only helps you rank higher but they are also proven to increase click through by users.

    It’s only natural that a domain name that is an exact match keyword .com domain name would rank higher than an unrelated domain name everything else being equal and it’s only natural that a user would view an exact match domain as an authority domain (i.e. cars.com for the keyword “cars” is definitely an authority domain).

    Reply

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