Jan 12 2011

Think Again Before Buying Keyword Domain Names

Category: organic seoTom Shivers

 

It has been estimated that 80% of all new websites seeking rank in Google are scraper sites or spam sites – sites that Google sees and then decides they are low quality and of little value to searchers. These sites are created with out much thought about the audience they are intended to attract and it’s not hard for anyone, even a search engine to see that they were thrown together for one purpose, quick search ranking. Google puts most new sites through a lot before they are allowed to enjoy good search rank.

Here’s another tidbit. Google became a registrar of domains in 2003 and yet they do not sell domain registrations. But, Google and other search engines do this to gain access to all domain name registration info. Hmm, what could the search engines be up to? They want to gauge domain trust based on a few simple facts, like what percentage of the domain name registrations by this company or individual are spam sites?

If search engines trust the company or individual who registers the domain name, then it’s likely they will trust future domain name sites, resulting in almost immediate domain trust and search rank for their sites. But, if the search engines don’t trust the company or individual registering domain names, well need I say more?

I’ve heard uninformed ideas like “it’s just an algorithm” or “it’s just a computer,” meaning “it can be fooled.” Granted the algo can be gamed from time to time, but usually not for long. People who believe these uninformed ideas don’t realize that Google employs PhDs (not just a few, but many) working on the algorithm to perfect it and account for “loop holes.”

The same thing applies to assumptions people make about sites that do rank well and how those sites rank so highly. For example, Google highlights or bolds the keywords in the search results page simply to help searchers find the context of what they are really after. This bolding of keywords has nothing to do with search rank per se, it’s simply a piece of software that finds the search terms and bolds them, similar to the find and replace feature in a simple text editor. Sometimes I hear people say things like “see that keyword shows up in the domain name and that’s why the site ranks high.” I’m saying that’s an assumption and although the keyword in the domain name can impact rank it is a minute factor and questionable whether it has much impact on rank at all.

Dan Thies, author of SEO Fast Start, says some domain names do rank well for an exact match domain name (i.e. a search for “SEO firm Atlanta” might pull up seofirmatlanta.com) as long as there are no sites that Google favors because of brand names or sites that are a better match for the search query. Branded search terms are used by people who are searching for a particular website or brand, for example a search for SEO book will bring up Aaron Wall’s seobook.com because Google knows that’s what most people want, rather than a site with a generic book about SEO. On the other hand, non-branded search terms don’t have to deal with brand names to gain top rank. But for competitive search terms, it’s usually not a game worth playing unless you are determined to build quality links to the site as well. Here’s what we know works – sites rank well in Google because of quality editorial links pointing to the site.

So here’s the upshot. If the search engines have no previous data to go on about new domains you register and setup sites for, they are likely to assume it’s another spam site until you prove them wrong. How do you prove them wrong? Prove that your (new) site is not just another spam site by:

  • Treating it like a separate business with its own target market and focus. Yes, that means unique content focused on the target audience.
  • Building editorial links to the site from places spam sites cannot – because editors only link to sites they have a good reason to link to.
  • Building links to the site from places that spam sites will not – because spam sites don’t have a marketing budget to promote their site.

Instead of setting up multiple keyword domain sites intended to gain top search rank, it’s far easier and more productive to focus all of your SEO efforts on one big website under one domain name that has a good history on the web. Setting up multiple sites often means fighting an uphill battle to prove to the search engines that your site is a credible, no spam site, and the amount of SEO work multiplies as well. It’s far more efficient to build up additional sections, categories and pages under a domain that has reached some level of credibility with the search engines, rather than starting from scratch with a new domain name even though it contains your keyword phrase.

There are other issues I don’t have time to go into with this topic such as duplicate content and permanently redirecting domain names. So please, think again before buying keyword rich domain names just to gain quick search rank; don’t play around with domain trust.

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One Response to “Think Again Before Buying Keyword Domain Names”

  1. Tom Shivers says:

    Here’s Matt Cutts take on how Google determines domain age. He also, very lightly, touches on how Google uses whois domain registration information… take a look at the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pnpg00FWJY