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Creating Domain Names

Posted on 2011-04-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-18


 I have a question creating domain names. I understand fully about optimizing the overall site, but I am not sure about domain names limitations. I have heard that google is placing less emphasis on domain names, but we still want to utilize this based on our products. We have done many searches, and for the most part, the sites with domain names of the products seem to always come up first. My question is how far can we go. I have 3 keyword phrases, each with 2 words. Putting these phrases together would give a domain name that covers our main products, and the subject of our products with high ranked set of keywords. As an example: selling Outdoor Furniture. Say keyword phrases: White Chair and red bench. The Domain name would be outdoorfurniturewhitechairredbench.com. Besides not having too much in the way of catchy names, can we be penalized in any way for having too many keywords, or the overall length? What about the new Branding that google is doing? How will this be affected by it? Can we improve this?

Question by:MikeMCSD

Expert Comment

by:Matthew Nguyen
ID: 35468334
Well, Google does not like people keyword stuffing on websitesper their guidelines: Keyword Stuffing, so I would assume that is the same for domain names.  As well, keyword stuffed domains have the reputation of being spam sites so searchers are less likely to click on them, as well as abnormally long domain names.  Even if you happen to rank on the first page, there's a good chance you won't be clicked on since searchers tend to click more on branded links.  Though it's not listed anywhere in the guidelines, 2-3 words in the domain name is rule of thumb in picking domain names.

In the same sense, there is still value in having keywords in the domain, but remember that the domain name isn't what is going to get your ranked, it's going to be the content and reputation of your site/page.  The example I use is BestBuy, they have no keywords in their domain name but are able to rank #1 for the search term "Printers."  As well, you are correct in that Google is looking at more brand signals than they are looking for keywords in the domain, here is a video from Matt Cutts at Google discussing this very subject:  Keywords in Domain

My suggestion, focus on the content of the page and building reputation/authority to your products and website, as you noted early in your post.  Even though there still is value in having keywords in your domain, Google is putting more emphasis on brands and brand signals in their rankings and less on exact match domains.
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Accepted Solution

freshcontent earned 2000 total points
ID: 35468715
I would say that the domain name example that you use is too long (outdoorfurniturewhitechairredbench.com).

If I wouldn't reasonablly type it in or remember the name, then it is probably too long for a common sense name.

However, I would say that having keywords in your domain name is a GOOD thing, especially if you back it up.

If you are in a competitive keyword area (e.g. outdoor furniture sales), then I would argue that a brand that has been around for a while AND does NOT have doman name keywords AND has good product content will still rank better than a newer site with less content but more keywords in the domain name.

Dont be discouraged from having a keyword rich domain, as it is still a ranking signal, but not as good of ranking signal as it used to be.

I would still encourage you to have a keyword rich domain name that isn't too long (outdoorproducts.com or outdoorbenches.com), but you should have great content, great products, FAST page load times, and a good user experience on your website to bring customers through Google.

I would also encourage you to focus on non-Google referrals to your website through Bing, Facebook, Yelp, and other places that customers are doing searches for products & advice.

For your branding question - if you are launching a new site it will take a while for you and your brand to get good, quality backlinks to your site and have Google or Bing recognize your site as a brand authority.  Use social media cues (Facebook, Twitter) to enhance your reputation and build a brand for a new website.


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