Is There Ranking Power In Keyword Domains?

Keyword-containing domain names are considered valuable for a number of reasons, including a long-standing belief that they can be directly or indirectly helpful for ranking purposes.

choosing a domain name Launching a website is an important step, so it’s important to make the right choice.

Choosing a domain name generally falls into three categories:

  1. Keyword domain.
  2. Word + Keyword Domain.
  3. Brand Domain.

It is debatable which approach is best. What is not debatable is that it is helpful to know about the topic before making a decision.

keyword domain

A keyword domain is a domain name that consists of keywords. An example might be

Using a domain name with keywords in it can provide notion of authority,

Some companies have generic domain names and redirect them to their websites for whatever reason.

For example, redirects to Peet’s Coffee, an artisanal coffee roaster. This makes it easier for people to navigate Peet’s.

But, the downside of generic keyword domains is that “all the good ones” are already registered and prohibitively expensive to get out of a domainer.

There is also some Internet history related to generic keyword domains.

There was a time when Internet users used to type keywords of a product or service directly into a browser or search engine. this practice was called direct navigation,

Direct navigation resulted in significant advertising revenue to the people who owned and “parked” those domains.

Parking the domain was setting it up so that the domain name would show ads and only ads.

The lucrative business of parked domains was helped by the search engines of the time, which ranked those parked domain names in search results.

So, if someone typed a one-word query like [burgers]So Google can rank

Then in 2011, Google reduced the search visibility of parked domains from search results.

So, is there ranking power for keyword domains? Not anymore, but Google’s John Mueller has something to say about it, more on that below.

Word + Keyword Domain

So the popular option is to add a term to the domain name to help describe what a site visitor can expect on the site.

The result is cheap. as in the domain[name of product/service].com, [name of product/service], fast[name of product/service]And so on.

One word plus one keyword for a domain name isn’t a bad way to go.

Upside of Word + Keyword Domain

Keywords immediately brand what the site is about, and the term tells site visitors what to expect in terms of user intent.

Looking for Reviews? try [name of product/service]

The Downside of Word + Keyword Domains

The downside of this approach is that it locks the website into providing a niche and may limit its ability to grow.

So, if you start as [JoesCameraReviews]Converting that site into reviewing (or selling) other products would be difficult.

There are many sites with keywords in the domain which rank very well.

branded domain

A branded domain is a domain name that does not necessarily contain keywords.

Examples of branded domains are Amazon, Zappos and Etsy.

The great thing about a branded domain is the brand name that it doesn’t necessarily limit what the site is about.

Many sites with branded domains have little trouble ranking in search results.

Google offers four insights on keyword domains

In order to answer a question a recent John Mueller of Google, Webmaster Hangouts, offers four insights on the ranking power of keyword domain names.

Four insights into keyword domains and rankings:

  1. Keyword domains do not rank fast.
  2. Keyword domains do not automatically rank better.
  3. Keyword domains lost the strong ranking effect years ago.
  4. Keyword domains ranked the same as branded domains.

1. Keyword domains don’t have time advantage

It is believed that keyword domains are able to rank better faster than branded domains. But according to Google’s John Mueller, this is not the case.

There is a perceived benefit of getting keywords into links via anchor text. This is something that has been discussed for years. Arguments can be made for and against.

Unfortunately, John Mueller’s statement did not address this perceived benefit.

Here’s what John Mueller confirmed:

“… like any other new website it takes time… Obviously there are a lot of websites out there that rank for the keywords in their domain names. But they worked on this for probably years and years… “

2. Keywords do not rank well in the domain

John Mueller was adamant that keyword domains do not rank better than branded domains.

“…just because keywords are in a domain name doesn’t mean it will automatically rank for those keywords.”

Ranking has a lot to do with content, such as the user’s intent for that content, as well as the links. All these probabilities are important towards something like keywords in the domain.

While John Mueller did not specifically say that domain names do not have keyword ranking signals, he did confirm that there is no dramatic benefit to having keywords in a domain name. And this is an important insight.

3. Keyword Domains Lost Influence Years Ago

John Mueller insisted that the keyword domain had lost its influence years ago.

Here’s what John Mueller said:

“…just because keywords are in a domain name doesn’t mean it will automatically rank for those keywords. And that’s something that’s been around for a really, really long time.”

This may be a reference to an algorithmic update from 2011 (Official Google Announcement Here,

In late 2011, Google updated its algorithm to add a classifier to remove parked domains from search results.

A quote from Google’s algorithmic update announcement:

“This is a new algorithm to automatically detect parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites that contain little unique content for our users and are often just full of ads.

In most cases, we prefer not to show them.”

Nevertheless, the idea that keyword domains were better than brand domains persisted in the search industry, even though Google was no longer promoting parked keyword domains.

An argument can be made that there is a minimum sign. But there is nothing to support that theory.

It’s been a long time since any search engine published research that included keywords in the domain as an indication of any kind.

We are living in a time when keywords in titles (H1, H2) have reduced ranking weights.

current algorithm Don’t give extra weight to the title tag anymore. This we know, and it calls into question the idea that Google continues to offer a direct ranking bonus to a keyword in a domain name.

4. Keyword domains ranked similar to branded domains

This is another statement that refutes the idea that keywords in a domain name have a ranking advantage.

John Mueller explains that keywords in a domain are unrelated to their current ranking:

John Mueller’s statement on keywords in domains:

“…it is normal that they will rank for those keywords and that having them in their domain name is not related to their current ranking.”

Mueller clearly notes that having keywords in domain names has nothing to do with their ranking.

Research a Domain Name Before Using It

It’s always a good idea to research a domain name to see if it was previously registered and how it was used.

There are rare cases where a domain used for spam can get stuck in a Google algorithm loop, causing it to be banned for a month, released for a few days, and banned again , thereby preventing the site from ranking high. Second page of search results.

For more information about legacy domain penalties, read Google algorithmic bug puts sites in awkward position,

SEO Advantage of Keyword Domain

There are many benefits to having keywords in a domain name. But an SEO advantage isn’t necessarily one of the benefits, as Mueller makes clear.

“…that they have them in their domain name is unrelated to their current ranking.”

Stand out with your domain

It may be a good idea to choose a domain that is unique. It can be with a keyword or it can be with a brand name.

Former Googler Matt Cutts recommended in a 2011 Webmaster Help video that choosing a domain name may be a good idea in some situations.

Matt Cutts advised,

“For example, if you have 15 sites about Android and they all have Android, Android, Android, Android, it will be a little difficult to remember to rise above the noise, above the noise.

Whereas, if you have something that’s a little more brandable, people are going to remember that. They’re going to be able to get back into it. Even sites like TechCrunch don’t say tech news.”

Domain Name Takeaway

There are pros and cons to using different types of domain names for a website.

If the business wants to leave wiggle room to grow to include a broader theme, a domain name that is less committed to a topic or even a brand name is suitable.

Of course, one can start with a narrow topic domain name and change it in the future. But this could result in other sites changing their mind about linking to the site and fans of the site losing interest.

Therefore, the best advice may be for a business to consider what it wants to achieve right now, what impact it wants to make on site visitors, what story the domain name tells the visitor, and what it is. Also how well the domain name fits into the future of the business.

On the question of ranking, it is clear that there is no direct keyword-based ranking advantage for a domain name, which makes choosing one a little easier.

Watch John Mueller discuss domain names at the 21:50 minute mark:

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Featured Image: master1305/Shutterstock

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