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.A catchy domain name will increase brand awareness and is worth infinitely more than a domain name picked solely for SEO, especially if it’s difficult to remember and loaded with hyphens and underscores. The ultimate goal should be to have a domain name that is both catchy and filled with your keywords.When this isn’t achievable, you should pick a domain name based on how memorable it is.You can still attain domain names with keywords shoved in them and either redirect them to your primary website or use them to market your main site.

One advantage to having keywords in your domain name is that you don’t have to worry about using targeted anchor text when building links.This can come in handy in your quests to parse links on high PageRank pages that do not allow the use of anchor text, such as Digg comment pages.Links without targeted anchor text always look the most natural to Google, but be forewarned that rapidly link-injecting your keyword-rich domain name across sites like Digg will look unnatural in the eyes of Google and will not help you in any way, shape or form.

While acquiring a domain name for branding purposes reigns supreme, if you have an opportunity to snatch a keyword-rich domain name, do not hesitate to grab it and use it to push the agenda of your primary domain.

Do any of you consistently use this strategy?

 

19 Comments

  1. I believe both approaches are fine depending on the site’s goal. If you are not interested in branding but rank for a bunch of keywords, then a keyword stuffed domain will help a lot and it makes sense using one.
    Thanks,

    Reply
  2. 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
  3. I think that there’d be no difference between domain w/ keywords than those without in SE spiders eyes though we can’t just ignore the fact that there’s a lil bit advantage of using it

    Reply
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. @Eric: I’ll have to check out Nemeas. Sounds useful.

    Reply
  7. When you can make a good-sounding, keyword-rich domain name without too many dashes, I say go for it. I’ve had plenty of success without doing it, though, especially when you use the keywords in the specific page URLs. It might be easier with the keywords in the domain, but does that matter if no one trusts your site because the domain name is so questionable?

    Reply
  8. Domains with keywords will help a lot for exact matches. Especially with Google. I notice everyday parked and MFA’s ranking above good and clean sites just because of the domain name.

    Reply
  9. There are even more benefits with a brand name filled with keywords you wish to rank for.
    This comes in handy when linkbuilding. Even if your are only allowed to use your brand name as anchor text, your still getting an backlink that is keyword rich.

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

    And does that work well?

    Reply
  11. 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
  12. 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.

    Hyphens are better, don’t let anyone tell you different. redpaint is seen as redpaint.

    Reply
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. I read somewhere that google dropped the relevancy of keywords in domain names circa 2003. Does anybody have any experience / evidence to the contrary?

    Reply
  16. hey guys…
    I am also having same query as James…
    Please reply to this query… I will be grateful to you..
    Thanx

    Reply
  17. “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
  18. You stated that having a keyword domain name means higher indexing. In my experience that is not the case. I have a website with the domain name that equals a competitive search term, and I am indexed 5-6 on the term/word.

    So I conclude that there is more to it than that. Other things must influence the ranking.

    Reply
  19. Thats true having a keyword rich domain brings up serp’s quickly.

    Reply

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