Domain name stragegy - Keyword or Branding?

22 replies
  • SEO
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I've noticed that Google still adds a large amount of weight for having the keyword in the url (or maybe it's because all the backlinks contain the keywords in them). Anyway, do you think google will change this? Would it be a good strategy to make the url something like "alcoholanonymousmeetings.com" and then brand it as aameetings.com, and have the aameetings.com redirect to the original url?

Using this strategy you would still have your keywords in the url, plus you could market it as the shorter version to make it easy to remember. How would this method affect SEO?
#branding #domain #keyword #stragegy
  • Profile picture of the author RayW
    If you want the seo benefit of having the keywords in the url but want a brand to market, then if I were you, I would do (as you suggested) register the keyword-rich url and brand it as something easier to remember. But be sure to have the keyword prominently placed on the page (H1/H2 headings, internal links, etc).
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    • Profile picture of the author Letsurf
      Originally Posted by Ray Wynn View Post

      register the keyword-rich url and brand it as something easier to remember. But be sure to have the keyword prominently placed on the page (H1/H2 headings, internal links, etc).
      So I should have two url's right? and just redirect the short version to point to the keyword rich version? All backlinks I build should be to the keyword rich version right?
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      • Profile picture of the author willium4
        Yes, It's good that first register a domain with keyword and another domain which is shorten keywords redirected to this keyword rich domain.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    EMDs are not important for seo, you can rank an internal page just the same.

    hxxp://domain.com/keyword-1/

    Instead of pointing all the backlinks at the Index page, point the majority of the links at the keyword landing page.

    Guys that get stuck on EMDs over complicate domain names for no reason.
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  • Profile picture of the author Letsurf
    @ yukon

    It seems like every time I do competition analysis There are 8 or 9 sites in the top 10 that have been around for a while, have thousands of backlinks, dmoz, 100's or thousands of pages...

    Then there's 1 or 2 sites that you'd think would be way inferior in terms of authority. Less backlinks (equal or less quality links) less time in existence, overall less authoritative site but they are ranked right up there with the big boys. Every time the keyword is in their domain. Sometimes I see an inner page ranked up there but the majority of the time it's the less authoritative sites with the keyword as their main domain. I think there is a big difference in the way google and bing/yahoo handle keywords in domain names. Is that what you've found? Or you just think it EMDs have no value?
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    • Profile picture of the author outwest
      Originally Posted by Letsurf View Post

      @ yukon

      It seems like every time I do competition analysis There are 8 or 9 sites in the top 10 that have been around for a while, have thousands of backlinks, dmoz, 100's or thousands of pages...

      Then there's 1 or 2 sites that you'd think would be way inferior in terms of authority. Less backlinks (equal or less quality links) less time in existence, overall less authoritative site but they are ranked right up there with the big boys. Every time the keyword is in their domain. Sometimes I see an inner page ranked up there but the majority of the time it's the less authoritative sites with the keyword as their main domain. I think there is a big difference in the way google and bing/yahoo handle keywords in domain names. Is that what you've found? Or you just think it EMDs have no value?
      I disagree that EMDs help that much with ranking

      I have a kw I want to rank for on my resort
      it gets 9000 exact local searches per month

      I bought
      the kw
      blahbeachresorts.NET

      its the EMD .net
      You would think that would put me right up there with the BIG BOYS according to your theory

      the top 10 sites?
      Do not have the kw in the domain, the url, the title, the description, nothing

      and they really do not have that many backlinks with anchor text with this kw

      I am number TWELVE on the listings for this kw
      I have it also in my TITLE,
      DOESNT HELP TO HAVE THE EMD AT ALL
      IMO

      If it worked like you say I should be in the top 3 easily

      Another kw group (niche) I am starting
      There is one site who has the TOP TWO listings on Google for about 500 kws in this niche

      There is no way he can have the kws in his domain
      his domain HAS NOTHING to do really with even the niche that this is in

      why does he rank so high?
      TONS of HIGH PR backlinks for his inner pages
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      • Profile picture of the author Letsurf
        Originally Posted by outwest View Post

        Do not have the kw in the domain, the url, the title, the description, nothing

        and they really do not have that many backlinks with anchor text with this kw

        I am number TWELVE on the listings for this kw
        I have it also in my TITLE,
        DOESNT HELP TO HAVE THE EMD AT ALL
        IMO
        I'm a little confused at this comment. It sounds like you have done no on-site optimization at all AND no off site, so of course you're not going to rank well.

        What I was saying is that it helps tremendously but you also have to have your basics in place. You need great on-site seo and some decent backlinks. Where you get the benefit is that you can compete with much larger sites with many more backlinks that have been in business way longer...
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        • Profile picture of the author outwest
          Originally Posted by Letsurf View Post

          I'm a little confused at this comment. It sounds like you have done no on-site optimization at all AND no off site, so of course you're not going to rank well.

          What I was saying is that it helps tremendously but you also have to have your basics in place. You need great on-site seo and some decent backlinks. Where you get the benefit is that you can compete with much larger sites with many more backlinks that have been in business way longer...






          I do have the kw in my url and Title, (and description) by the way. Could I optimize it better, Sure,
          however this should not be necessary, since none of the top 10 are OPTIMIZED AT ALL for the kw, They are NOT targeting that KW, its just related to their site. A few have a lot of backlinks with that kw in the anchor text, but a lot of them DONT also

          So here we have 10 sites, with totally unrelated domain name to the kw
          the kw is not optimized on their pages, the onpage SEO factors ARE NOT THERE, on their sites, for the kw

          Me? I have the EMD, a lot of backlinks with the kw in the anchor text, and my onpage SEO Factors, ARE targeting the kw

          yet they easily outrank me

          Thats why I say EMD is BS
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  • Profile picture of the author xvisionxx
    I will go with brand name,because today domains count way less for SEO than in the past.
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  • Profile picture of the author bermuda
    Registering a domain name or purchasing an established website which has keywords as parts of it can be still useful and recommended because even if you use your domain name to build links for your site, they would still help getting better ranks as they would be keyword-rich votes but there are thousands of websites found at the top of Google even in highly competitive niches and still, they contain none of the terms specified but due to authority links, they rock.

    Everybody agrees with this matter that links are doing wonders over the net and as you may guess, even if your site domain contains terms which are absolutely unrelated to the commercial fields chosen but is powered by very strong incoming links, it can even outperform the keyword-rich competitors. For branding, the case is going to be more clear because you can virtually pick any term which is new and has not been used by any business entities and then register it.
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  • Profile picture of the author wolfmmiii
    Branding all the way!

    Think about it this way:

    Assuming you want to target 100 products, how cost effective is it to build out 100 different EMD sites vs a single authority site with those 100 products on it?

    Things to consider: domain costs, renewal costs, time to setup each site, backlinking, etc. I could go on and on.

    As I've said in other posts - forget EMDs (keyword domains) and build a brand!
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  • Profile picture of the author awj888
    best adivce it to get multiple domains, if you use your keyword rich one for SEO purpose and actualy ranking where you need to be then this is your primary. but you can also get a redirect from the actual brand. just dont make the same site 2 times!
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  • Profile picture of the author Letsurf
    @Outwest

    If all the sites on page one have no on-page seo then it sounds like a good opportunity for you. The fact that they have backlinks from higher PR sites is probably why they are beating you. But that's what I was trying to say about EMD's. When you get a backlink it always has the keyword in it one way or another if you're using an EMD. If the backlink is missing anchor text then it will still give you a point for beachresorts.com because the keyword is in the domain. It's well known that backlinks play the major role, but I think the EMD just amplifies the affect. Who knows though, google could change their alg any time to totally negate this .
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  • Profile picture of the author outwest
    I just posted that I am now number TWO on this kw
    but its not the EMD that got there

    its my main resort site for the resort I own
    and THAT SITE IS NOT ....ONSITE SEO for that kw

    its only in the title

    explain that you EMD lovers
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  • Profile picture of the author Fryde Markus
    Just see amazon and walmart. These are two giants when it comes to products. Do they have their keywords in their URLs? Of course not, it's just like their names won't easily be forgotten.
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    • Profile picture of the author Letsurf
      Originally Posted by Fryde Markus View Post

      Just see amazon and walmart. These are two giants when it comes to products. Do they have their keywords in their URLs? Of course not, it's just like their names won't easily be forgotten.
      As a business major I understand the concept of branding. But if I have one main keyword that I'm focusing on couldn't I get the best of both worlds by creating a keyword rich url and using it as the main site, then also registering a brandable url and have it redirect to the main site? All marketing would use the bandable url...
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      • Profile picture of the author wolfmmiii
        Originally Posted by Letsurf View Post

        As a business major I understand the concept of branding. But if I have one main keyword that I'm focusing on couldn't I get the best of both worlds by creating a keyword rich url and using it as the main site, then also registering a brandable url and have it redirect to the main site? All marketing would use the bandable url...
        Why create the extra work? None of my sites are EMDs and most rank very well for their terms.
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        • Profile picture of the author down
          I speak from my own experiences, keep on keyword and stay away from branding name. Branding name will bother you in the future.
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  • Profile picture of the author Letsurf
    After doing more research it looks like what Yukon said is correct. I've found that it doesn't matter if the keyword is in the main url (before the .com part) or not. As long as the keyword is in the url somewhere it helps significantly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Wilson
    Hi!

    If you want for people to return then make an easy to remember - branding name. If you don't care about that get an SEO one. You can also join these two together!

    Daniel
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  • Profile picture of the author BeeJay
    Doesn't the answer to OP's question depend on what he wants to do with the site?

    If its intended to be small niche site just to make money then branding it probably isn't the way to go.

    On the other hand, the SEOMoz lads seem to think brand metrics are going to play a more significant role in rankings for 2011/2012.

    So if OP's goal is to be the go to site for AA related matters then there's long term value in branding that might outweigh any seo boost an exact match domain might offer. The question for OP is can he see people recognising his brand enough to look for his site rather than punching in the keywords he'll no doubt want to rank for.

    Food for thought.
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  • Profile picture of the author Letsurf
    @BeeJay

    It's going to be a .org site so definitely want to brand it. But also want it to rank well too so that's why I was considering having two domains. Is there a downside in having an EMD and branding a different url then redirecting it? So the main site would be something like cancercareresource.org, but on the banner it would say ccresource.org... I would also own ccresource.org so if users enter that url it would take them to my site.
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