How does the domain name affect SEO?

21 replies
  • SEO
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I am just trying to get a general consensus on something.

I am looking at buying a domain name, and am wondering how the name itself will affect SEO? I'm hearing lots of arguments both for and against.

For this example, let me say I am trying to target the keywords 'Online Carpentry Training'. Carpentry isn't the actual keyword, but I'll just give it here as a clear example.

Now... let's imagine that 'carpentrytraining.com', 'onlinecarpetrytraining.com' and 'carpentrytrainingonline.com' are taken...along with other suffixes such as .net etc.

Some are saying that, and again, imagining these domains are available, that using a hyphen is a good idea for SEO. Example: 'online-carpentry-training.com' as Google will read the hyphen as a space, and therefore notice the 3 seperate words.

Other people are saying that it doesn't matter, and that buying something like 'easycarpentrytraining.com' is just as effective, as the domain name doesn't have much of an impact on SEO.

What are your thoughts. My main question is - should I go ahead and buy the hyphened domain name? Or does it not really matter?

Thanks!
#affect #domain #seo
  • Profile picture of the author Pierce
    Getting an exact match domain is always helpful. If not, you can always overcome that with good onsite SEO and more backlinking.

    As for the hyphen, I personally don't think it helps at all.

    Hope that helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author JimMichael
    That's my issue...the exact match domains are taken.

    My options are either to take the wording of the exact catch and add hyphens, or add another word before/after the keywords...such as 'easycarpentrytraining' or 'carpentrytrainingnow'.

    Not sure which route to take!!
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  • Profile picture of the author BarryOnline
    What geographic location is you target market?

    I target just the UK so for me I would go for something like onlinecarpentrytraininguk.com or onlinecarpentrytraininguk.co.uk

    If you are targeting mainly the US then onlinecarpentrytrainingus.com could be an option.

    Personaly I don't like or use hyphens, they look spammy. When I build a site on a domain I want it to look & sound good, something that will last for years.

    In terms of SEO, the power of exact keyword domians are no where near as effective as they used to be. It's still helpful to get the exatch match but I would not stress over it, it's not going to make a huge difference in ranking.

    Having just the keywords somewhere in the domain is fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author SiteSmarty
    Forget exact match names. Brand your site. Create exceptional content using language people search for and that others will link to.

    There's nothing more to it than that.

    Bob The Carpenter
    Best damn carpenter trainer in Chicago (Or where ever)

    Brands rule and always will.
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  • Profile picture of the author JimMichael
    The online training will be targeting North America.

    I was also looking at something like 'carpentrytrainingcollege.com' - but not sure if college is a good word to use for a site offering online training courses that are not accredited by any official body?
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    • Profile picture of the author BarryOnline
      Originally Posted by OfferTrunk View Post

      The online training will be targeting North America.

      I was also looking at something like 'carpentrytrainingcollege.com' - but not sure if college is a good word to use for a site offering online training courses that are not accredited by any official body?
      As already mentioned, a simple, brandable sounding domain would be good.

      like, ecarpetrytraining.com

      Having your main keyword or part of the keyword will help slightly with SEO, don't stress over it.

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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    You know, Im really getting tired of people bashing hyphenated domains.

    Heres the FACTS.

    Hyphenated domains CAN RANK, DO RANK, and RANK WELL.

    If you can get the EMD with hyphens - do it!

    Also consider using RMD "related match domains"

    You can do this by using the "tilda search operator" withing Google

    eg ~training

    Might give you something like ... 'Online Carpentry Course' instead of 'training'
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    • Profile picture of the author BarryOnline
      Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post

      You know, Im really getting tired of people bashing hyphenated domains.

      Heres the FACTS.

      Hyphenated domains CAN RANK, DO RANK, and RANK WELL.

      If you can get the EMD with hyphens - do it!

      Also consider using RMD "related match domains"

      You can do this by using the "tilda search operator" withing Google

      eg ~training

      Might give you something like ... 'Online Carpentry Course' instead of 'training'
      Wouldn't it be better to take your frustrations out in a thread where people are actually bashing the ranking ability of hyphened domains?

      No one here said they don't rank!

      My personal opinion & recommend on using them was based on how they look.

      We all have different tastes & standards when it comes to building websites. A keyword rich, brandable & professional looking domain name goes hand in hand with my site design.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dimian
    i just registered an EMD a couple days ago and am already seeing traffic from google with barely any content or backlinks
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
    Honestly it depends on what you plan on doing with the domain and site. If you are only going to be targeting 5 or so keywords with 20 or so pages and monetize with Adsense then I would go for a hyphenated domain with your main keywords or add a suffix like the others suggested. It will be easier to rank and get traffic to.

    If you are going to be building out the site and targeting more keywords, then I would buy a domain name that is brandable. This way will not be as quick in getting traffic as would a domain name with the keywords in it, but if you are building this site out and targeting many more keywords then the traffic will come via long-tails and not just your main keywords. Make sense?

    Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author ARVolund
    You really need to think about what your long term goal is.

    While there is an advantage to emd's it is smaller than it once was and you have to ask yourself a couple of questions.


    Are you only going to target one keyword?

    If so then an emd might be more appropriate but if you are going for a bunch of related keywords than it is much less important. Having the keyword in the url does help a lot but there is not a huge difference between

    yourkeyword.com vs your domain.com/keyword


    Do you want people to reach your site just via a click from Google or remember the name of your site?

    I have not noticed any difference in the ability to rank a site using hyphens in the domain name. Google seems to treat them the same. If all you are going after is clicks from the search engines than it is not a bad choice. However there are two things to think about.

    First off I have noticed that domain names with more than one hyphen do not get as many clicks as domain names without any. One hyphen does not seem to make any difference to searchers in my testing but with more than one my test sites received less clicks than the sites with just one or no hyphens at all.

    Second if you are going for a brand than you need to skip the hyphens, hardly anyone is going to remember to type it in so anyone who remembers your site name is going to type in the name of your competitor.




    Originally Posted by OfferTrunk View Post

    I am just trying to get a general consensus on something.

    I am looking at buying a domain name, and am wondering how the name itself will affect SEO? I'm hearing lots of arguments both for and against.

    For this example, let me say I am trying to target the keywords 'Online Carpentry Training'. Carpentry isn't the actual keyword, but I'll just give it here as a clear example.

    Now... let's imagine that 'carpentrytraining.com', 'onlinecarpetrytraining.com' and 'carpentrytrainingonline.com' are taken...along with other suffixes such as .net etc.

    Some are saying that, and again, imagining these domains are available, that using a hyphen is a good idea for SEO. Example: 'online-carpentry-training.com' as Google will read the hyphen as a space, and therefore notice the 3 seperate words.

    Other people are saying that it doesn't matter, and that buying something like 'easycarpentrytraining.com' is just as effective, as the domain name doesn't have much of an impact on SEO.

    What are your thoughts. My main question is - should I go ahead and buy the hyphened domain name? Or does it not really matter?

    Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by OfferTrunk View Post

    My main question is - should I go ahead and buy the hyphened domain name? Or does it not really matter?
    It depends on what criteria you want to apply.

    For SEO, it makes absolutely no difference at all - according to Google, and Matt Cutts, in various blog posts and in a video (I'm not thinking of the one shown above - there's another, specifically about hyphenation, which appears here in some other threads on this subject).

    For resale, a hyphenated one may be worth less because of market perceptions.

    And there's the possibility that at some point you'll lose some type-in traffic to the owner of the unhyphenated domain.

    But if those considerations don't matter to you, and your concern relates solely to SEO, hyphenation just isn't relevant at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author TopKat22
    I believe the reason the arguement, is because someone with great SEO skills could probably rank just about any domain name.

    However, if you are NOT great at SEO and are a newbie or just want it to be easier for yourself, get a domain name with a high search volume keyword in it without hypens and with .com ending.
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  • Profile picture of the author wowcolombia1
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    • Profile picture of the author marknel
      Its difficult to find available domains with exact keyword phrase so its better to have easy to remember and easy to type domain name.
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  • Profile picture of the author creature
    Listen to Google's (Matt Cutts) take on this topic.

    Matt Cutts Explains Underscores vs. Dashes in URLs | SEO Aware
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  • Having keywords in your domain name only makes a difference to your SEO when your domain name is the exact-match keyword that you want to rank.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shirlyn
    Hi, You can use hyphens if they are not been used by any one becasue it is good to create backlink for keyword having the name in domain with a good SEO strategy.
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  • Profile picture of the author nadavs
    As others said here, go for a brand. I had a 19-character domain name with two hyphens, and it ranked in first positions for many keywords. I changed it recently to something easier just for branding purposes.

    EMDs may give you a boost, but they are not a necessity. Look at all the big sites you know. Do any of them have EMDs?

    nadavs
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  • Profile picture of the author jays
    Hi,
    I came across a exact match keyword domain 9years old with 8k monthly searches - $250
    is it worth buying ?
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  • Profile picture of the author awj888
    its always going to be an advantage to use the keywords in the domain and if you can get exact then its best - also i know there are different views about this but usually a domain with hyphens is going to be less valuable.

    personally ive used both and found that at the end of the day a good backlinking stragey it doesnt what the domain name sais. you could have a site about carpentry with a domain carrinopenmaker or something equaly unrelated and still get it to rank. having a good keyword rich domain will just make it easier.

    i can give an example of one of my clients sites. They have only had the site for about 6 months. With no backlinking what so ever but great onpage seo and the keyword in the domain (with hyphens) and they are now ranking in the top 10 of over 440,000,000
    so all i have to say is get a good domain, and do the on-page SEO correctly then ranking will be much easier.

    and having said that - any domain can rank for any keyword provided you are building the right number and good quality backlinks!

    but yes adding thinkings like US or UK or even just a letter like onlinecarpentrytrainingX will make it rank well for that specific keyword, just make sure that you get a high search volume that its worth targeting!

    hope that helps :-D

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