Will a Keyword Rich Domain Rank Higher?

I firmly believe a keyword rich domain name still* plays a significant role in influencing your overall search engine position. I know some see these domains as in some way spammy or not as effective as the ‘building of a brand’ approach for your domain but there is no denying the clout that using keyword rich domains still has on your search engine optimisation results. I personally think that a keyword rich domain also shouts out relevance to any searcher on the web which in turn attracts more clicks, notice how the searched keyword jumps out in bold, I can certainly verify this from my extensive split testing through the use of pay per click campaigns.

One word of caution if you do go the keyword rich domain route, don’t go crazy stuffing keywords into your domain, limit it to no more than three, use your common sense, you easily see how using this technique, if abused could justify the spam tag. I would still* recommend for the majority of people to focus on a keyword rich domain to help boost your rankings, maybe leave domain branding for bigger companies with the budget and man power to deal with this approach.

Just to illustrate my point, enter the word ‘search’ into the three main search engines Bing, Yahoo and Google and you’ll see domains with the word search in it as the top ranked sites often above major search engines like Google the major brand lower down the page, you would imagine Google would rank top on all search engines for the word search, this shows how important a keyword rich domain is!

*N.B. Since writing this article the search engines have plugged this embarrassing and glaringly obvious example and it is not so obvious now but you can see that keyword rich domains still punch way above their weight and is still evident with a little bit of research. Google though has reduced slightly the weighting that these domains have carried over the ‘branded’ domain approach.

How important is it to have keywords in a domain name?

Another point to mention is that keyword rich domains, can themselves turn into a brand with exposure and success, for example 1800flowers.com. Now these are rare to come by now so try hyphenating the words, there is no evidence this has a negative effect, try also to use other top level domains for example .org or .net or for example if most of your business was in the UK the possibly .org.uk.


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