If you’ve been following the GrowTraffic blog you’ll have seen a post back in November about the use of exact match domains to get a better place in the rankings and how Google was indicating this loophole / benefit will be phased out. Interestingly, new research has been released by the Open Algorithm Project (Domain Name SEO).
The Summary of Domain Name SEO from the Open Algorithm Project
- Buy .com, .org, or a local TLD (.com preferably).
- Avoid other TLDs like the plague!
- Search hard for an exact match, but don’t dilute the brand of the site to get one.
- No hyphens please (unless absolutely necessary).
- Shorter is way better.
- If you can’t get an exact match, don’t compromise branding to get a partial match, its not worth it (although having your main keyword in the domain name might be a good branding idea).
- Entities are important, own your space with marketing, PR, clever link building, microdata, etc.
Interestingly, I come at it from a slightly different angle being a UK-based search engine marketer – in this respect there are two top level domains to consider, namely .co.uk and .com – in the UK .co.uk is the default location specific domain. Essentially this takes the place of the .com domain in the UK – in most circumstances.
I always advise clients to use this domain (and if possible to buy the .com as well – but forward the .com to the .co.uk). In recent times I have found several occassions where I have seen .coms outperforming .co.uk domains and I’m starting to wonder if I should be advising people to use the .com domain.
The benefit of the .com domain is that it can go international, that it can carry more weight in the eyes of the visitors in the search results and so get a greater click through rate – however this can also count against a website, unless the .com website is a bigger brand in its own right there is a chance a searcher may choose a .co.uk over a .com domain concerned that the .com may be an international website or an American website.
Since the Vince Update in 2009 we’ve been talking about brands but perhaps as the Open Algorithm Project point has done about, maybe we should be talking about entities. A business, organisation or person that has a collection of interrelated web presences that all point to the legitimacy of the entity (as oppose to just a passive website).
The above points from the Open Algorithm Project do back up my Exact Match Domain blog however it’s an interesting twist to take into account top level domains.