Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Registering SEO Domain Name Keywords

One of the SEO strategies that we often use at MB is to register keyword rich domain names. In terms of SEO, domains play a very large factor. If you basically register "keyword.com," and you have a decent number of outside website linking to your (Google rates this by "Page Rank") then there's a good chance you'll come up in the top results for anyone searching "keyword." If you register "modifierkeywordlocation.com" then you're almost guaranteed to come up for anyone who searches "modifer keyword location" or "modifier keyword in location."

This is a common SEO strategy, but to do it well you need to think a little first. To begin, you should always have a branded domain name. Forget SEO until you have a branded domain.

Let's take the Marketing Breakthroughs website as an example. Our main domain name is http://www.marketingbreakthroughs.com. The purpose of this domain is 99% branding. As well, there's the added benefit that some people will, even if they know a URL, will still type "marketing breakthroughs" into Google to get to our site. We obviously want to catch those users, but even if this weren't an added benefit, the branding advantages of having "companyname.com" make it your first choice for a domain.

Now, after doing an SEO Audit, you would come up with keyword phrases. There are too big factors when prioritizing keyword phrases:

1. What's the Search Volume - how many people search for this keword?
2. Are users searching for this keyword likely to buy?

The second factor takes a bit more explaining. You could easily sort a list of keywords by search volume and pick the top ones, but that's a losing proposition. For one, those keywords will be extra expensive. And secondly, you don't want to burn all your resources targeting keywords that won't bring in qualified buyers.

Let's say you have a website that sells baseball equipment. So you head over to Google's Search Based Keyword Suggestion tool and you type in "baseball." One of your options you'll see is "fantasy baseball." This has a high search volume, but is anyone searching for "fantasy baseball" likely to be looking for aluminum baseball bats to purchase? No. Someone searching for aluminum baseball bats will search "aluminum baseball bats" or "cheap baseball bats" or something. Those are the type of keywords to target. Don't target unqualified buyers with your keywords.

I don't want to get too much into brainstorming keywords, so I'll move on.

Domain names are competitive. You're not going to get baseball.com. Sorry. But you might get "baseballleaguesinottawa.com" if you register it. You might also get "ottawabaseballteams.com" or something. It all depends on what people are searching for. Depending on your location, you might also trying .ca names instead of just .com names. There will probably be less competition, and if you're actually in Canada, this won't hurt you.

Once you have a few domains registered (the number will depend on your budget and how important targeting various keywords are) you should try and get a few links to them with good anchor text. Good anchor text will be very similar to the keyword. Just don't make all your anchor text for backlinks identical.

You'll also want to look at your competitors and see what they're targeting with their keywords. See if any of them have SEO domains registered.

Also, don't register super long domain names. It's kind of tacky, and the likelihood of people searching those exact phrases is minimal.