I get this question all the time – from clients or from people at events, “If I have keywords in my domain, won’t that help with SEO?” The simple answer is sometimes…it just depends on who you ask on any given day. So you say sarcastically, “Gee, thanks internet marketing experts – that helps…”, but hang on, I’ll explain.
Lots of experts in SEO marketing have sounded off on this topic for many years – as many as 10+ years in some cases. If you were to ask someone 8-10 years ago, the answer would have been “Yes, having keywords in your domain will boost your rankings“, because that was the way search engines served up results – at that time. You could go buy XYZDomain.com and you could expect your site to show up on page 1 for ‘XYZ’ keyword almost immediately. So, why not as much anymore? Simple. People learned how to game the system and the search engines caught on.
More recently, internet marketing experts like Search Engine Journal, Moz and even Matt Cutts, Google’s leader of their Webspam team, have discussed: How important is it to have keywords in a domain name? Keyword-rich domain names should not be your only focus, but they can help – and every little bit helps. One of the things I like most about keyword-rich domains is the search engines will bold the keywords in the search results, which can grab the visitor’s attention.
So, what is the answer? Well, ask yourself these questions:
- What is best for the visitors to your site?
- Is your domain going to be easy for people to remember?
- Do the keywords in your domain include/support your brand?
- Will you create content on a consistent basis that is directly associated/related to the keywords in your domain?
- Will you also support your content through social sharing/signals, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.?
- Are you just buying this domain because you can and don’t have any reasoning behind it?
How to Use This Information
At the end of the day, if you decide to buy a keyword-rich domain, just make sure that you follow some guidelines along the way:
- Be careful not to over optimize your website. With keywords in your domain, they can also appear too often throughout your content, which can look like spam. This is one of the main reasons why the Penquin algorithm updates hurt so many websites.
- Don’t just buy a keyword-rich domain name and then redirect it to your main site. If it’s a brand new domain, it will provide no SEO benefit as it hasn’t built up any previous authority.
- Don’t use excessive link building methods – that is one of the fastest ways to have the search engines penalize your site.
- Make sure before it goes live, that you have content to support not only the domain, but also content that is valuable to your visitors and your brand.