Websites that utilize their keywords in their domain names tend to rank higher in the search engine results for that keyword. In fact, it is preferable to use your primary keyword/phrase as your domain name as opposed to your company name. Even if you decide to use your company name or a short catchy name that does not describe your products, it is still a good idea to register domains that include your keywords, as these domains can be utilized at a later stage to drive valuable targeted traffic to your website.
So why do websites containing their primary keywords rank better than other sites?
There are three reasons for this phenomenon:
1. Search Engines place a very high value on anchor text. Anchor text is the text that the link is wrapped around E.g.
<a href="http://ikabot.co.za">Websites and Hosting</a>.
In this example, the anchor text contains two keywords; "websites" and "hosting". Both of theses keywords refer to services offered by iKabot and the search engines will relate both these services with iKabot and accordingly rate iKabot highly for these search terms.
However in many instances, external websites will use the sites domain name as the anchor text.
E.g. <a href="http://ikabot.co.za">iKabot.co.za</a>.
The name iKabot does not tell the search engine anything about iKabot's products and thus no benefit is derived in terms of search engine ranking. However if iKabot changed its domain name to relaiblehosting.co.za, the URL and anchor text would then have read
Not only will cheaphosting.co.za benefit when a person types in hosting, but also when they search for "cheap hosting".
2. Studies have shown that surfers are more likely to click on a link, in the search results, containing the relevant keywords. This selective click though behavior of surfers is especially relevant to people using slow internet connections, such as dial-up. Even if your competitor provides otherwise similar-to-equal enticements, if they are lacking the specific keyword within their link, they are more like to be overlooked.
3. If your domain contains your keyword, the search engines will generally
assume that your domain is at least slightly more relevant to those keywords.
However avoid keyword stuffing and avoid the use of multiple hyphens.
Excessive use of keywords and hyphens can result in your domain being penalized. For example, a used car seller in Cape Town might consider registering:
This domain is however too long and contains too many hyphens, making it difficult to remember It also contains too many words thus resulting in the possibility of being penalized for keyword stuffing.
Most often, highly sought after keywords have already been registered for the various products and industries e.g. cars.com. If this is the case, you can consult a Thesaurus and search for synonyms and homonyms e.g. a synonym for car is automobile. Remember that many people search using phrases and not single keywords. Thus buycars.com might be just as valuable as cars.com as there are many people searching on the phrase "buy cars".
It is important to define exactly what your site caters for and what comprises your target market. If you specialize in used cars, then usedcars.com or buyusedcars.com would be highly beneficial for you as it exactly matches your target market and there is a good probability that people are searching on the terms "used cars" and "buy used cars".
Determining the best keywords and keyword phrases can be accomplished
by utilizing one of the various online keyword tools that gather data
on the frequency of various keyword queries among the various search
engines. It is a good idea to spread your search among a few of these
terms as they all offer slightly different results.
Your ultimate selection will then comprise the most accurate results.
Here is a list of some of the best keyword tools available:
- Google keyword tool https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
- Overture keyword suggestion tool http://sem.smallbusiness.yahoo.com/searchenginemarketing/
- SEO Book Keyword Research Tool http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/
- WordTracker http://www.wordtracker.com/
- Digital Point's Keyword Research Tool http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/
- Keyword Intelligence http://www.hitwise.com/
- Keyword Discovery http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/
Note for established websites:
If you already have an established website and domain name, then avoid changing it for a more keyword targeted domain name. Search engines place a high value on the age of a site and the age of incoming links. By changing your established domain name, you are placing your site at a great disadvantage. This would also result in the loss of your valuable incoming links that you have established over a period of time.