Online Media Consultant and Web Publisher
Keyword Rich Domain Names - Pros and Cons
There's arguments to be made both for and against having a keyword rich domain name. Using keywords in your domain name does currently give you a ranking advantage if your domain name exactly matches the keywords being searched for.
For instance, if your most important keyword was recycled aluminum cans, then owning the domain name recycledaluminumcans.com or recycled-aluminum-cans.com would give you a decided ranking advantage for that keyword, as long as the site was reasonably well-optimized.
It also makes it more likely people will link to you with the anchor text recycled aluminum cans, and that people will click more often on a URL which contains the keywords they're looking for. You can also capitalize on type-in traffic, such as when people looking for recycled aluminum cans simply type recycledaluminumcans.com into their browsers address bar to see what comes up.
The downside is that is only seems to work when the domain name matches the keywords exactly. Simply having a domain name containing the keywords you want in some order, but not matching them exactly, doesn't seem to confer a significant ranking advantage. That means the domain name can help you for exactly one single keyword phrase, but probably not much more. If it's a really good keyword phrase, then you might want to go for it. Otherwise, you shouldn't expect your domain name to be the key to high rankings.
The other problem with the keyword-rich domain name is that it locks you into a single category, even though your site may grow and evolve over time to encompass a wider range of topics, or even change it's focus altogether.
Keep in mind that, at least with Google, the most important ranking factors these days are the age of your site, and the age and quality of your site's incoming links. Let's say that after a few years the market drops out of recycled aluminum cans. Now you're sitting on an old, trusted site with lots of old trusted links, one that should be well positioned to take on just about any keyword as long as you gradually changed its focus over time. But thanks to your keyword-rich domain name, you might find it difficult to move into a new industry.
As another example, let's say your name's Joe Clark, and you're running for sheriff of your town. You might register joeforsheriff.com. However, if that job goes really well, a few years later you might want to run for congress. It'd be nice if you could use that old domain name, and take advantage of its age and old trusted links.
But you can't, because joeforsheriff.com looks pretty dumb when you're running for congress. However, if you'd had the foresight to register something a bit broader like joeclark.com, you could ride that domain name all the way to the White House. The domain would only get stronger with each passing year (provided you didn't change your name, of course).
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