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Keyword or Brandable
domain question
mosley700




msg:246066
 2:31 pm on Feb 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Head Honcho wrote:
>>Easily brandable. You want "google.com" and not "mykeyword.com". Keyword domains are out - branding and name recognition are in - big time in. The value of keywords in a domain name have never been less to se's. Learn the lesson of "goto.com" becomes "Overture.com" and why they did it. It's one of the most powerful gut check calls I've ever seen on the internet. That took serious resolve and nerve to blow away several years of branding. (that is a whole 'nother article, but learn the lesson as it applies to all of us). <<

Do you still believe so? If so, what are the benefits of brandable domains? From what I've seen, keyword domains appear to be more effective when targeting specific keywords.
I'd appreciate any imput on this.

 

fathom




msg:246096
 12:43 am on Feb 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

hmmm... ya know, that begs the question -- if the original recipe will still active today -- do you think they'd be selling and making more revenue online than all other businesses combined? ;)

wooden




msg:246097
 2:29 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

There still is one benefit to having a keyword-rich domain: the link popularity benefit derived from a relevant and competitive keyword phrase in the link text. Yes, this is just from an SEO perspective, but for what it's worth . . . if you sell ding-dongs (widgets are sooo yesterday), and your domain is ding-dongs.com, most external links to your site will contain the text "ding-dongs." If this is one of your top keyword phrase targets, and and you put in average or above link development, Google will give your site points for anchor text relevance/link pop, n'est pas?

ulounge




msg:246098
 2:43 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Brett's advice is good for serious Internet entities, IMHO. Google is a great example. But it may not apply well to the majority of my smaller clients.

I agree with this 100%. Building a brand takes serious work and a large amount of resources. Unless you have the time, money, and resources to build a brand then keyword is the way to go.

John_Caius




msg:246099
 4:03 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

We have opted to go with the brandable domain option in the extremely competitive travel sector. This is partly because adding travel-paris-hotels.com to an existing list of travel-hotels-paris.com, hotels-paris-travel.com and paris-hotels-travel.com (example domains, no idea whether any of them exist) would make it virtually impossible to build up a unique and memorable presence.

However, we have been lucky in that we were able to use an industry-related phrase as our brand, a bit like e.g. houseofwindsor.com (example domain) for a site on the Royal Family, and one of the words in our industry-related phrase happens to be an excellent keyword for the industry as well.

So we are absolutely number one a brand, but we have a secondary advantage of having a competitive keyword within that brand name. The interesting thing is that the brand name is not in English, but one of the words is spelt the same as a useful keyword in English. The site content is in English.

fathom




msg:246100
 4:04 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

There still is one benefit to having a keyword-rich domain: the link popularity benefit derived from a relevant and competitive keyword phrase in the link text. Yes, this is just from an SEO perspective, but for what it's worth . . . if you sell ding-dongs (widgets are sooo yesterday), and your domain is ding-dongs.com, most external links to your site will contain the text "ding-dongs." If this is one of your top keyword phrase targets, and and you put in average or above link development, Google will give your site points for anchor text relevance/link pop, n'est pas?

hmmm... which is better...

<a href="www.blue-widgets.com">Blue-widgets.com</a> is a seller of blue widgets.

or

Widgery.com sells <a href="www.widgery.com">blue widgets</a>

Who says the anchor MUST BE the domain name. Adding the "com" part dilutes the anchor to the actual type in term, thus the brand name is always better.

From an SEO perspective this is the strategic way to do it.

Crazy_Fool




msg:246101
 4:17 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

i always go for a normal name for the branding, ie, widgets.com or widgetmania.com - it's easier to remember and it'll last forever.

then i use a number of multi-keyword domain names like fuzzy-blue-widget.com and shiny-green-widget.com purely to pick up extra traffic from search engines. i build "micro sites" for each one - just a few pages optimised for various search terms. visitors to these micro sites are "redirected" to the main site, ie, widgetmania.com, normally through one or two links in the micro site.

this way i get the best of both worlds - a brand name that'll last plus search engine traffic from the multi-keyword domains (while the search engines take domain names into account of course!)

[edited by: Crazy_Fool at 4:40 pm (utc) on Feb. 24, 2003]

wooden




msg:246102
 4:31 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

hmmm... which is better...

<a href="www.blue-widgets.com">Blue-widgets.com</a> is a seller of blue widgets.

or

Widgery.com sells <a href="www.widgery.com">blue widgets</a>

Who says the anchor MUST BE the domain name. Adding the "com" part dilutes the anchor to the actual type in term, thus the brand name is always better.

I agree, B is better, but when directory editors and other Webmasters are choosing the text of the links, you don't have sufficient control to obtain something like example B. If an editor or Webmaster has a request to list widgets.com, and they look at the site, and see the branding as "Widgets" and not "Widgets.com," then you are going to maximize the anchor text potential of that domain name, whether or not they accommodate your specific request of "Please use the following format when linking to my site . . . Widgery.com sells <a href="www.widgery.com">blue widgets</a>". Do you follow my logic?

mosley700




msg:246103
 5:03 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Who says the anchor MUST BE the domain name. Adding the "com" part dilutes the anchor to the actual type in term, thus the brand name is always better.

From an SEO perspective this is the strategic way to do it.

Most directories and people who are kind enough to link to you choose to use the actual domain as the anchor text.
I get link requests from people with brandable domains, along the lines of :
Our URL is Bluunuts.com, but please use the anchor text "Search Engine Optimization".

I always reply with, "no thanks, you can put spammy stuff on your own pages but I use the actual domain name as the anchor text."

Some people are also asking that the site description be clickable, instead of the site name. It looks spammy to do so, and I'm not going to sacrifice the quality of my pages because the fellow couldn't pick a domain with keywords in it.

The ".com" does not dilute the anchor text, IMO. The "." acts in the same way a hyphen would, and the keywords are parse-able.
Please correct me if I'm wrong.

born2drv




msg:246104
 5:31 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>>I'm not going to sacrifice the quality of my pages because the fellow couldn't pick a domain with keywords in it.

So what about initials for domains? ... Like if you're linking to Hewelett Packard or Merill Lynch you only put "HP.com" or "ML.com" .. or "HP", "ML"?

And what about truncations for domains? ... like Wala Widgets at wala.com (I couldn't think of one of the top of my head, but you get the idea).

Obviously the companyname/linktext can't be "Wala Big Blue Furry and High Quality Widgets" but "Wala Widgets" seems fine to me, even with a domain of wala.com.

mosley700




msg:246105
 5:48 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

born2drv
The name of HP.com is Hewlett-Packard. Same type of thing for the other domains you mentioned. Perhaps you can get a better understanding by reviewing how sites are listed in DMOZ or Yahoo. That's the easiest way to understand proper site listing and description procedure.
Hope that helps.

deft_spyder




msg:246106
 5:58 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

One aspect of online marketing I havent heard in this discussion is applying the strategy to the business it will serve. The nature of the online transaction is a huge part in whether kw or branding should be used.

My web business will be used once by the visitor, and then most likely never used again. That one visit by everyone who thinks about my product once would most likely use a keyword search, simply because they wouldn't know of a brand to speak of. For me, keywords seem logical.

For those here that sell, say books, and would like a referral, a return visit, and an easily typed url (that wont just be clicked from a SE) the game completely changes. Now keywords and branding both are important.

The rules might be:
--If returns arent important: kw (but avoid looking like a junk addy, make sure the kw's read well)
--If returns are important: branding, with kw if you can.

and above all, make sure the strategy applies to that sites business model.

AgentSmith




msg:246107
 6:03 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

For what it's worth, here goes my humble 2C...

The important factor here is brand equity, a reflection of marketplace's - whether target segment(s) and/or general marketplace - perception of your brand. The intangible nature of the web begs for an importance of brand, for both web-based business(es) and 'off-line' business(es) with web properties.

Branding, a process forms the foundation and strives in building a positive brand equity, isn't for just 'big boys'. For any business, brand equity is grows with each satisified customer. It will start from 0, and it will expand its span through the experience of the next customer.

A good brand/brand name would do the following...

1. Create a curiosity factor
2. Translate well into an action tool - such as a logo/icon

For the sake of discussion, let us compare these two...
1. Froogle.com
2. Product-Search.com

Which one of the two tickles your curiosity? (Be honest:)) One of the many reasons for a brand to trigger the curiosity factor is its uniqueness. Unique entity, by nature, is identifiable from the masses.

Which one of the two would translate better into an action tool, a logo/icon? A logo/icon enhances brand awareness by providing a visual aspect, which contributes in tangibility of the brand. It's easier for people to assign value to something that's more tangible and identifiable.

A good brand/brand name will become a valuable asset of a company. There are many factors that would contribute...such as perceived quality/value, positive association, etc.

As the question debated...keyword vs. brandable domain...
Botton line is a brand name can communicate something important to customers even if they can't see the product and/or service.

So yeah...choose it wisely...yeah...that sounds good:)

<-- End of my mumble:D -->

mosley700




msg:246108
 6:05 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I gotta say, again, that I think a keyword domain can be brandable at the same time. An example is McGraw Hill's Construction.com
Most people refer to it as "MgGraw Hill's Construction.com". Very successful branding there.

I just thought of something funny, and thought I'd share. What would ya'all think if the folks at HP decided to chage thier Yahoo! directory listing from:
Hewlett-Packard (HP) - designs, manufactures and services electronic products and systems for measurement, computation and communications.

To:

Affordable Computers - designs, manufactures and services electronic products and systems for measurement, computation and communications.

fathom




msg:246109
 6:56 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't believe anyone is saying a keyword isn't brand-able because it is.

What is being said here is that branding is a statement, an image, and a way for the person (not the bot) to remember you, and come back.

The example about search-engine-optimization.com is brand-able as a service - but not a company (any SEO company will do because they all offer this brand-able generic service).

Using that same example against:

Our URL is Bluunuts.com, but please use the anchor text "Search Engine Optimization".

I always reply with, "no thanks, you can put spammy stuff on your own pages but I use the actual domain name as the anchor text."

Doesn't make alot of sense -- if the domain name was SEOMark.com you wouldn't use the anchor "Search Engine Optimization", but if the domain was Search-Engine-Optimization.com and the company was SEOmark.com you would - that's weird.

A keyword domain name isn't spammy, but a keyword anchor is? Do I have this right?

You are really missing the point here.

When the domain name and company are one - the best brand awareness, the best brand recognition, the highest brand trust can be achieved and that brand image provides fruition.

When the company name is unavailable as a domain name (or impractical - maybe too long) then a substitute must be used, and the shorter the better.

Still the company & domain must become one. Why? People will trust a company - a disposible domain (keyword or otherwise) forget it.

Link popularity (and keyword domains) may indeed help to get you to #1 - but brand is the difference between your market knowing you are trustworthy and knowing you are "spam".

Keywords as the domains or keywords as the anchor - same thing.

[edited by: fathom at 7:00 pm (utc) on Feb. 24, 2003]

EliteWeb




msg:246110
 7:00 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I keep it mixed up, Im always one for keyword domain names but not overloaded. Ive found out that domain names only play a minor role in the situation and you can make anything out of a site regaurdless of a domain name. Ive seen sites only accessable by IP addresses in google with #1 ranking.

Branding is nice, a name that sticks but also having a short keyword domain name works. Do em both if you can for your own businesses or projects. Unique content of course. :P

Marketing Guy




msg:246111
 7:01 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Which one of the two tickles your curiosity? (Be honest)

Would it be the same without the Google association?

Not knowing either froogle.com or product-search.com, I would be more likely to go with product-search.com if I did a search for "product search" (and didnt associate froogle with google).

Scott

Napoleon




msg:246112
 7:13 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

My take is that brand is the most over inflated concept in marketing.

If branding is so important, why the hell do people search in the first place? Surely they would just type in the brand all the time? Well they don't do they - because branding fails. Simple as that!

Yes, branding is of SOME importance is certain scenarios, but on the web the level of importance diminishes. I have no great desire to have branded domains. Retake - I have NO desire to have branded domains.

Neither do I want ludicrously constructed strings either. I prefer DESCRIPTIVE strings - strings that are memorable and desribe the contents of the site.

Example? red-widgets-with-yellow-stripes.com

Stick that on the side of a lorry and people will remember it. They will also associate it with red widgets with yellow stripes.

That's the power of descriptive domains. It has nothing to do with SEs. As everyone points out, the keyword advantage is now minimal. It has everything to do with description.

You have a lot of characters available for a domain name. Why not use them to describe the contents of the site? You would do it in the physical world... why act so differently on the net?

I say: Descriptive Domains IN - Branded Domains OUT!

Join my campaign!

mosley700




msg:246113
 7:45 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

A keyword domain name isn't spammy, but a keyword anchor is? Do I have this right?

Yes! You're catching on. ;)

When the anchor doesn't match the site name/company name, it's spammy.
What would dmoz.org/hosting look like if we didn't follow that precept? All the hosting companies would be listed using the anchor text "Cheap Web Hosting" and you'd have to click on each one before you found iPowerWeb or LunarPages or whoever.

fathom




msg:246114
 8:03 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes! You're catching on.

When the anchor doesn't match the site name/company name, it's spammy.
What would dmoz.org/hosting look like if we didn't follow that precept? All the hosting companies would be listed using the anchor text "Cheap Web Hosting" and you'd have to click on each one before you found iPowerWeb or LunarPages or whoever.

hmmm... well let's see...

I have 35: 4 in favor of keyword anchors in DMOZ.org.

27: 3 in favor of keyword anchors in DMOZ.org.

19: 2 in favor of keyword anchors in DMOZ.org.

15 : 2 in favor of keyword anchors in DMOZ.org.

and a whole raft of keyword domains that can't get by 3?

Think topics

mosley700




msg:246115
 8:19 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

fathom
You've lost me. Please elaborate.

fathom




msg:246116
 8:39 pm on Feb 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Example:

Microsoft company

Microsoft.com domain

Many anchors are not "Microsoft" or "Microsoft.com"

Windows2000

Win98

Word

Office (that's a darn nice keyword)

Excel

Flight Simultator (that's a darn nice keyword)

Optical mouse (that's a darn nice keyword)

Any spam?

Lots more other brand name domains using keyword anchors, if you look.

chrisnrae




msg:246117
 1:30 am on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have read this and many other threads on this topic with interest. I have keyword domains. They have done very well for me. However, as someone mentioned above, my products are generally a one time need type of thing. Sure, there is some repeat business, but a very small percentage need my services twice. However, I do get contacted by people referred by customers, so even with a keyword domain, my site is still getting "passed along". Also, I think the fact that I am looking to market solely online is another factor in some respects.

I will admit that I do have one "junk" domain that I wish I hadn't gotten. I have a well ranked, good PR and heavy content site on it and do wish I would have gone with something other than a junk domain... but if I had it to do over again, I would have picked another keyword domain... just not such a long one :).

Rae

biggles




msg:246118
 6:54 am on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

i always go for a normal name for the branding, ie, widgets.com or widgetmania.com - it's easier to remember and it'll last forever. Then i use a number of multi-keyword domain names like fuzzy-blue-widget.com and shiny-green-widget.com purely to pick up extra traffic from search engines. i build "micro sites" for each one - just a few pages optimised for various search terms. visitors to these micro sites are "redirected" to the main site, ie, widgetmania.com, normally through one or two links in the micro site.

this way i get the best of both worlds - a brand name that'll last plus search engine traffic from the multi-keyword domains (while the search engines take domain names into account of course!)

What are people's views about this approach used by Crazyfool?

As long as the micro sites have valid content it appears to be a good way to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Or does the limited weight SEs now put in KW-loaded domains now make it redundant?

vitaplease




msg:246119
 7:30 am on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

.. Or does the limited weight SEs now put in KW-loaded domains now make it redundant?

For the moment SE's still seem to favour KW-loaded domains for the indirect anchor text reasons.

Lets not forget the user: Is he getting better search results by getting clean-dirty-blue-wheels.com in search engine results before johnson.com, for reasons mentioned above?

As a biased user, with WebmasterWorld-background, I tend to immediately distrust KW-loaded hyphenated domains in my field of business. The question is in how far Joe searcher will feel the same.

fom2001uk




msg:246120
 12:14 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's a thought.

Often, you get the domain name as the anchor text anyway. Not every site bothers to wite a title for the link.

Think about that now.

mosley700




msg:246121
 12:37 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

As a biased user, with WebmasterWorld-background, I tend to immediately distrust KW-loaded hyphenated domains in my field of business. The question is in how far Joe searcher will feel the same.

I tend to distrust them when they have too many hyphens, hmm, three or more maybe.
But I've gotten used to a lot of hyphens because I understand that a lot of good domains are not available. Any sort of distrust does not deter me from clicking though to actually see the site, though.

fathom




msg:246122
 3:07 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Personally there is noting wrong with hyphenated domains - their greatest asset is the fact they are disposable "the flavor of the month" or "year" and on to something use.

They can be a great ads, "tag line", or "slogan", a specific campaign... and once the campaign has run its course let is expire and on to something new.

When used in conjunction with other domain (more brick & mortar style) they can help tremenously to pull new blood into your primary
site.

I would lend to hyphenated domain only if a company has a single short domain first.

pearl




msg:246123
 3:47 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

This has all been very entertaining. Everyone getting all excited about something that only costs $8 each (domain names).

Ah, the power of "AND"... The answer is not "which", but is in fact "both".

Obviously, customers that do not know who you are, will try to locate a product or service via a search engine and the best search results tend to be driven by keyword-laden domain names (either keyword.com or keyword1-keyword2.com, etc.).

However, if the customer remembers your brand they will just type in your domain name.

If you are trying to run a business and you only have ONE domain name, then SHAME ON YOU.

Why wouldn't you try to capture the customer any way you can? You should own a good brandable domain name and all the relevant keyword-laden names you can get your hands on.

["Built to Last" is a great book that points out that the greatest companies - like Coca-Cola - understand the power of "AND"]

vdlddd8379




msg:246124
 4:36 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>As a biased user, with WebmasterWorld-background, I tend to immediately distrust KW-loaded hyphenated domains in my field of business. The question is in how far Joe searcher will feel the same.<<

I agree with Vitaplease's sentiments, above. Sites with keyword-laden or over hyphenated domains just don't look like legit companies to me. They have a phony look that makes me not want to give them my credit card. It's my understanding that they are also getting a lot more scrutiny by DMOZ editors who suspect mirror sites or redirects when they see those tortured domain names. Maybe I've just been inside the forest too long and can't see the trees anymore. Consumers are probably happily clicking away on these domains that come up in searches without giving them a second thought.

ken_b




msg:246125
 4:44 am on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm trying to recall the last time I saw a cool om page logo that said

wonder-widgets-at-widget-world-in-west-widgetville

Kavenien




msg:246126
 4:19 pm on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

A question:

What reasons exist that would prevent someone from aquiring 1 brandable and several keyword domains and having the DNS point them to the same site (IP)?

A suggestion:

It does appear that many of you can no longer see the forest for the trees. I understand this situation, as I am most definetely there. A solution I've been implementing is to use various non-computer or non-internet saavy individuals to perform searches for me whilst I record their actions and reactions. I started this with my relations to begin with, now I hire random people from the street to generate random blind results. While I'm not on the "top-of-the-hill", this research has assisted our company substantially.

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