What's in a (domain) name? Search engine rankings, brand equity, customer loyalty, and profits... for starters.
Are you an affiliate marketer with several Web sites? Do you break out in a cold sweat when you decide to build a new affiliate site and every solid domain name combination is taken? Are you constantly trying to get the edge over competitors on the search engines?
If you answered "yes" to these questions, you're suffering from Domain Name Anxiety Syndrome. The syndrome is rumored to have been created when affiliate marketers discovered having relevant, keyword-rich domain names could boost rankings on search engines.
Ever since, affiliate marketers have snatched up every possible domain name available, no matter how long or how silly. Why? Affiliate marketing is a business. The difference between a number one search engine rank and a number two could lead to success or failure.
That means we need to use every possible advantage we can to beat out our competition. Result: super long, keyword-rich domain names.
Does It Work?
Mark Stockton of SEO specialists 1 Design 4 Life thinks so. "It is emphatically the case that having keyword-rich domain names does help boost rankings a little. It is a factor in most search engines algorithms.
"If your site is called keyword1-keyword2-keyword3.com, it is likely that this will be the anchor text for most of a site's inbound links, and, certainly in the case of Google, the anchor text of inbound links is very important in their algorithm."
In theory, if you had two identical Web sites, the one with the keyword-rich domain name should have the edge and rank higher in search results.
"The real advantage of a keyword-rich domain name is in Yahoo, as they draw heavily on only three elements to decide rankings -- the title, description, and domain name," said Stockton.
"Just having a keyword-rich domain name is not going to make a great difference in ranking in most search engines. But if you combine it with the factors above and other SEO techniques, it is an advantage."
Nonscientific Case Study
I searched for "party invitations" on Google. I got 407,000 results. Look at a few of the domain names that showed up on the first page (none are paid listings):
Still not a believer? I searched for "DVD" on MSN and got 4,443 results. Here are some from the first page (again, none are "featured" or "sponsored" links):
Wordtracker's long-term report reveals that among the most searched-for words on the Internet are "google," "hotels," "yahoo," "sex," and "lyrics."
If you believe Wordtracker (and you should), wouldn't it make sense to string those words together and buy the domain name? Not necessarily. Long domain names have disadvantages, so be wary. Two of them are:
More About Domain Names
Ready to get started finding keyword-rich domain names for your next affiliate Web site? Start here:
Want to learn more?
Attend ClickZ Live New York March 30 - April 1. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live brings together over 60 expert speakers to offer an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!
Hong Kong, May 5-6, 2015
A Buyer's Guide to Affiliate Management Software
Manage your performance marketing with the right solution. Choose a platform that will mutually empower advertisers and media partners!
Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.
May 6, 2015
12:00pm ET/9:00am PT