For decades, small businesses have been naming themselves “A1 This” or “AAA That” because yellow pages and similar directories listed businesses alphabetically. They optimized their company name for the primary marketing vehicle of their time; they wanted to show up first in those listings.
The online equivalent, to a large degree, is choosing domain names. And SBSM reader Laura recently sent in a question about optimizing domain names with SEO in mind.
If exact match domains still have such a big advantage in 2010 over websites whose domain does not contain a keyword then is it a good idea to buy several domains with different keywords in it and redirect them to the same website or to the same website but to different pages? Is this considered to be spammy technique?
Laura, it’s true that exact-match domains and domains with keywords can tend to have an advantage over more generic, non-keyword domains. When there are few signals and lower competition, the value of an exact-match domain goes up. But despite that, I’d answer your question by saying no, you shouldn’t buy multiple domains with keywords in them as you’ve described here. Here are two reasons why:
- The plan you’ve described — to buy these additional domains and redirect them to the main site — wouldn’t benefit from the keywords in the new domains. In order to get any benefit from the keyword-based domains, you’d have to build out content on those domains; buying and immediately redirecting them won’t help in any way where SEO is concerned. (If the terms are common enough, however, you might get some type-in traffic that way.)
- If you were to decide to build out the keyword-based domains, the problem then becomes one of scale. Rather than having one web site to market and do SEO on, you suddenly have three sites, or five, or 15. You’ve created a ton more work for yourself. The better suggestion, in most cases, would be to focus all that time and energy, to build all that content and links, etc., on the main site. Helping that site, after all, was the reason you thought about buying all these new domains in the first place. So, focus everything on that site; don’t distract yourself with several additional domains/sites.
In some situations, using keyword-based domains can be a good idea. Two years ago, my wife and I launched four hyperlocal blogs — each one using an exact-match, keyword-based real estate domain. But with respect to my #2 above, we planned from the start to build out unique content on each domain, and that’s what we’ve done. So, if I knew more about your business and situation, I might recommend something different. But generally speaking, I rarely advise clients to buy multiple domains for SEO purposes.
Your turn: How would you have answered Laura’s question? Did I get it right, or do you disagree with me? Comments are open.