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The Free Google Ride is Over for Lazy SEOs & Keyword Domain Names



There’s a lot of discussion surrounding a new video from Matt Cutts.

In it, the prominent Google engineer explains why you should not be swayed into registering a domain name that includes the keywords you are likely to target for your SEO efforts. He provides many examples of successful companies that have a branded domain name–and not a keyworded one.

Then he drops somewhat of a bombshell for all those SEOs that have been relying on the keyword in the domain to do all the heavy-lifting:

Now if you are still on the fence, let me just give you a bit of color. that we have looked at the rankings and the weights that we give to keyword domains, & some people have complained that we are giving a little too much weight for keywords in domains. So we have been thinking about at adjusting that mix a bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that given 2 different domains it wouldn’t necessarily help you as much to have a domain name with a bunch of keywords in it. – Matt Cutts

So, should you panic? Only if you registered something like “ringtones.com” and are sitting at #1 without lifting a finger to optimize it. In other words, the free ride may soon be over for those that managed to secure a keyword-rich domain name and failed to build relevant content or links.

  • Bryan

    This strikes me as sort of a “still doesn’t hurt” situation. Not everyone already has some catchy name for their business, and the company and name usually pre-dates web efforts when you’re not talking about hip web startups like his examples.

    For example, when you’re a doctor or lawyer, I still think it is beneficial to have a domain name with a keyword focus on your area of practice as opposed to just “lawofficename.com”. At the very least as a supplemental microsite anyway.

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      That’s a good point Bryan, and I’m sure Matt would agree with you. However, if you were ranking in Google just because you had that keyword domain name–and no other SEO effort–then it’s time to take a hit.

  • Nataliya Yakushev

    I observe the opporite in my niche. My domain’s been around quite some time holding top spots on google for the desired keyword. My competitors bought keyword-targeted domain (big $$$$) a year ago and did nothing (except buying thousands of links as there are no tomorrow) but sit and wait. Now year later their sites outranked mine simply because they have the domain. Google waits one year and after this domain authority is the same as 10 years old domain.

  • Forrest graves

    Great info ….brand is better http://www.jumpingoat.com

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    I’ve had clients truly believe that the only way they were going to rank was to purchase a keyword heavy domain name, but I think this can come across as very spammy. If you want go after keywords, go after them in the Meta tags and page content. The URL should reflect your brand first and incorporate keywords second.

  • http://www.kintster.com Kintster

    That’s I didn’t register domains that are keyword-stuffed. I want to try using a brand that’s my own. Great info!

  • http://www.abcoffice.com Cliff

    This is huge and very good in my opinion. I know that several companies in my industry are benefiting from having the keyword in their domain. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out. I’ve really enjoyed having the farmer update go live (bye bye ezine crap) and hope this one will be as helpful.

  • http://www.orbitalalliance.com Simon Yohe

    I didn’t realize there was still .com names available. LOL

    The video just mentions they are thinking about it…. not actually doing it. If you are looking for long-term value, building and establishing a brand is the utmost importance. Your corporate website is your visual storefront, and it needs to be taken seriously and with professionalism. I would recommend if you have a specific product/niche that you can obtain a keyword driven name at a reasonable price, buy it… you can always utilize it as an alias domain, or even create a micro-site to perform a specialized marketing effort to sell your product on the side. But remember, when all is said and done, content is king…

  • http://alexwhalley.com Alex

    Interesting,..
    Very interesting

    NOw what are your thoughts on Brands in the domain name and the copyright and legal implications?

  • http://www.mars-west.com Kayla Block

    I’ve always thought this should change…..domains should be about brandable corporate name…not keywords. I almost picked up a new keyword rich domain yesterday. Perhaps it’s good that I didn’t bother.