Over the last several years Matt Cutts with Google has made made several public statements suggesting keyword rich domain names do not help your ability to rank for related keywords. It has been a topic of discussion for SEOs and marketing teams ever since. However in our own experience we have come to learn that Cutt’s statement is partly false.
The fact is that keyword rich domain names will always be crucial to your online marketing efforts. They will either work for you or against you but either way they will affect your efforts on behalf of your clients or the business you run yourself. Let us show you some proof.
Proof That Keyword Rich Domain Names Automatically Rank
Upon researching industries and keywords before entering a new online marketing niche we have found several examples that support our theory that keyword rich domain names are primed to easily beat out competing branded domain name websites. This remains true most often even if those competing websites have more page rank authority, better onsite optimization, and a more impressive inbound link profile than the keyword rich domain name. Lets take a look at some cold hard evidence.
Case Study 1: Uniforms Express
Brand URL: www.uniformsexpress.com
Competitor URL: www.baseball-uniforms.com
Keyword phrase: “baseball uniforms”
In this example, Uniforms Express, has a branded domain name in which they use their company name as their URL. In comparison, a competitor snagged the domain name, “www.baseball-uniforms.com”. Upon conducting a keyword search in Google for “baseball uniforms” here are the organic results on the first page.
As the example shows, the keyword rich domain name ranks several positions higher than the branded domain name. Well this would be ok if the keyword rich domain name had more authority, a quality inbound link profile, and great onsite optimization in comparison. But analytics show otherwise.
From the above screenshot we can see that the branded domain name, Uniforms Express, has more inbound links, a higher citation flow, a higher trust flow, a higher domain authority, a higher mozRank, and a higher mozTrust. Additionally if you were to take a look at both sites you would see the keyword rich domain, www.baseball-uniforms.com has limited content if any on their site while the branded domain, www.uniformsexpress.com has significantly more (although limited) content as well.
Considerations for Keyword Rich Domain Names Vs. Branded Domain Names
In the above example we would like our readers to note that title tags optimization does play a role in this example although not enough to help the keyword-rich domain name outrank the branded domain name on a level playing field. So what does this mean for you and your marketing efforts?
- Before building a website consider your industry, marketing budget, and marketing strategy. If have big money to spend then a brand name domain will work for you as long as you can expend more money on advertising and alternate brand marketing strategies. If people search online for your brand because you’re that big, ranking for keyword specific terms are not as important.
- For the 99% of everyone else who is not a big brand yet or does not have initial big brand marketing dollars; do everything in your power to grab a keyword rich domain name. Consider buying a keyword rich domain name if the price tag is reasonable to aid in your organic SEO efforts.
Keyword rich domain names will always rank because search engines don’t know if that domain name is just a keyword rich domain or if it is actually your company name. If your company name is literally “baseball uniforms” then your website should come up when somebody searches for your brand online. Confusing a bit? Yes. But a novel concept to wrap your brain around if you have a moment.
Related read: SEO for Startups and Beginners- What Google Recommends