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Can we now say officially that keyword domains are dead to Google?
MrSavage




msg:4358891
 10:12 pm on Sep 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I know there is and has been quite a marketplace for domains. You know, people paying thousands for those high value keyword domains.

My observations from my points of interest continue in the same way. I'm seeing less and less keywords in domains. Just today after some current searching I'm drawing a deeper conclusion.

Is it time to say the keyword domain marketplace is dead? I'm sure people selling domains don't want to believe it just yet. For sure I'm noticing it. Anyone else monitoring those trends?

I can say regardless if people disagree with me, the fact is all those expensive auction domains are fools gold. Sure the Google algo can change but in this regard it's not going to imo. It's all about Panda right? Since when does a keyword in a domain equate to quality?

Anyone feeling the pain of left holding "assets" which are now nothing more than "expenses"?

If anything I hope word gets out there and these people asking thousands of dollars for domains can actually get a dose of reality.

 

chrisv1963




msg:4358959
 5:35 am on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Keyword domains are far from dead. I can still see a lot of crap sites ranking on the first position of the serps, simply because they have the keyword in the domain name.

Blogspot URLs with the keyword in it are ranking well too.

topr8




msg:4358960
 5:44 am on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

keyword domains are not just about google serps.

if you are advertising on radio or billboards then a keyword domain also makes good sense as it makes the domain more memorable.

onepointone




msg:4358961
 5:55 am on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I can still see a lot of crap sites ranking on the first position of the serps, simply because they have the keyword in the domain name.

Agree, but more for the low-competition keywords. I don't think the keyword benefit helps much for competitive searches.

As long as people use google for their address bar, I think keyword in domain will still help a little.

MrSavage




msg:4358963
 6:10 am on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree with what was said. In the more competitive or shall I say profitable keywords those "specialty sites" using keyword domains are now sitting on the bottom of the ocean as it were.

I think the key phrase here is "staying power". The staying power of a niche keyword domain site is dead in my opinion. From a Google perspective of course.

In a sense it's like this. Not a lot of competition, you exist fairly well. As searches in Google increases, they then go looking for Wikipedia or should I say quality authoritive giant sites.

Sure there is a marketing aspect to a keyword domain. Then again maybe in Google's mind they don't trust those domains as much anymore. Makes sense to me. Could be one of the many flags. Thin site and keyword domain? Affiliate links? You get the picture.

I'm just offering caution to anyone shopping for domains. In my opinion Google didn't just lower the value, in fact I feel they killed it entirely. Shame really because when you have a keyword domain, you as a searcher can be assured that the website is all about that keyword phrase. Not good enough for Google it appears.

htdawg




msg:4358967
 6:32 am on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

In my opinion its 50/50. if you have a good keyword domain you have a better chance ranking for it and rank faster as well. on the other hand if you have a domain that you want to brand like some well known sites, it will take quite a while for it to start ranking well for your keyword phrases.

onepointone




msg:4358972
 7:11 am on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

"word" domains will still keep their value.

Plenty of internet giants whose domain name has little or nothing to do with what they do. Are still words, maybe not "keywords".

Amazon, Twitter, Adobe, etc. Easy to remember, as said before.

lucy24




msg:4358977
 7:20 am on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Idle query: Are we talking

widgets.com

or are we talking

I-was-so-desperate-to-get-widgets-into-my-domain-name-that-I-had-to-take-this-piece-of-garbage.com

?

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4358979
 7:34 am on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing less and less keywords in domains. Just today after some current searching I'm drawing a deeper conclusion.
I'm just offering caution to anyone shopping for domains. In my opinion Google didn't just lower the value, in fact I feel they killed it entirely.

I am not sure how you came to this conclusion but I am not seeing this at all. Do a search for any word or phrase and you will still see domains and URLs containing these words featuring high in the results.

Since when does a keyword in a domain equate to quality?

It doesn't but it almost always equates to search relevance. I believe that if Google took this out of the algo their results would be seriously compromised. But remember that the domain name is just one part of the algo albeit IMO an important one. Let's not forget that it is common practice for a business name (or domain name) to say something about what the business does. It always has been (think Ford motor company or International Business Machines).

Google's own SEO guide also suggests that this is acceptable. they call the fictitious site they use in their optimisation example "Brandons Baseball Cards" and use the domain name brandonsbaseballcards.com. If they don't want us to use key words in domain names then they are surely sending out the wrong signals.

Khem




msg:4358987
 8:24 am on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Since Panda, the only site I look after that was affected - lost 4 places on page one to Keyword domains - the sites that 'leap frogged' mine, are badly made, have very little content, slow to load and have, from what I can see, very little merit for the industry - apart from the Domain name.

Nagani




msg:4359049
 1:41 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Since Panda, the only site I look after that was affected - lost 4 places on page one to Keyword domains - the sites that 'leap frogged' mine, are badly made, have very little content, slow to load and have, from what I can see, very little merit for the industry - apart from the Domain name.

Yes, since Panda, one of my sites that has just local listing back links lost to a brand new keyword domain with no back link. Another brand new keyword domain sprung up to the first page at the same time. My conclusion is Panda put more trust in the keyword domain than it did before. Of course, the competition is pretty low for that keyword. For highly competitive keywords, the importance of keyword domain is less significant, especially in Google USA.

Webwork




msg:4359051
 1:54 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anything that anyone has ever "done to exploit" Google/Bing/AnySE has a predictable shelf life, i.e., inevitable failure comes with the exploit . . mostly . . and in its own due time . .

"Prime" keyword domains - Money.tld, Travel.tld, College(s).tld, StudentLoans.tld, Hotels.tld, MortgageLoans.tld, FreeWhatever.tld - will very likely have staying power "for all purposes" - if reasonably well developed - and will likely curry some degree of "incidental benefit" from SE algorithms, but not because the website name - in this case a keyword domain - was intended to exploit an algorithm.

As long as student loans or home loans are known by those names/phrases I would much prefer to own and operate a website by that same name, with the tld attached, because of other benefits besides some inherent ranking benefit. In the end, it may well be such thinking - and development - that inevitably leads to sites with keyword domain names ranking because of their issue-relevance staying power (students needing loans), relevant keywords (why not 1 of 200 ranking factors?), instant brandability (reduced brand development budget, post domain acquisition), clarity (of site purpose), billboardableness, audio-friendliness, anchor text=keyword-domain=clarity=more-clicks, etc.

That said, I wouldn't count on the durability of this-keyword-domain-for-free.tld sites . . but you never know when an algo might hiccup. ;P

[edited by: Webwork at 2:00 pm (utc) on Sep 6, 2011]

HuskyPup




msg:4359054
 1:57 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

billboardableness


!.!.!.Word of the year to Webwork:-)

Webwork




msg:4359055
 2:02 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think credit is duly due to Dooley on that neologism.

See WebmasterWorld thread re "~Does your website name meet the billboard test?". [webmasterworld.com...]

MrFewkes




msg:4359056
 2:05 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think it depends on the level of competition and popularity how hard they get hit.

Makes no difference - they will all die as we all fall below the fold anyway.

From experience in low competition (2000 Exact match PM - UK local) - keyword doms have worked well for me and are still ranking.

jmccormac




msg:4359068
 2:49 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

There are two types of keyword domain. The first deals with keywords that users are likely to type in as part of an url expecting that there is a website on the end of it (example.com). Then there are keyword domains that are intended to feature well in the SERPs (profession + location .com ) etc. The first type tends to hold its price as it gains most of its traffic from type-in users, but the prices for the second type can fluctuate and are vulnerable to search engine algorithm changes.

Regards...jmcc

indyank




msg:4359091
 3:12 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am not even sure what makes some folks feel that keyword domains are dead. I know of some of the most competitive terms where they still remain on top.

You should probably rephrase it as exact matches are almost dead and don't help you anymore. Be it title or domain names.

MrSavage




msg:4359129
 4:22 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

indyank, that's what I saying. If exact matches are dead, so too is the value of those formerly highly prized and priced domains.

The web is so vast there are bound to be examples and counter examples. I just think out of all the algo parts, this one is pretty easy to analyze. I'm also aware that this subject is not without bias. Should you be a holder and seller I'm sure the last thing you want to agree with is the sinking or sunk value in exact keyword match domains.

I simply believe that if you can operate outside of subjects which will get gobbled up by giant name brand sites, then your smaller site will exist. However the day when your niche is covered by a big site or starts being searched a lot, your small site stands no chance. The reliance on having the exact keyword phrase in your domain is paper to Google's water.

Of course there are substantial sites that don't rely on the former strength of their keyword phrase domain. I get that. The difference is that they are established and they can survive in spite of their domain and not because of it.

The fact is people are selling domains with the thinking that the value is still the same as it was a year ago. Bing still holds value in those domains but that's about it and yes that could change also.

I just don't think that people have come to grips with the fact that Google has altered that entire domain marketplace industry with the algo change.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4359136
 4:38 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I just don't think that people have come to grips with the fact that Google has altered that entire domain marketplace industry with the algo change.

You seem to be the only one who is seeing this?

HuskyPup




msg:4359144
 4:47 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

You seem to be the only one who is seeing this?


Nope, check the latest Sedo auctions and see the low values on some very good names, Panda has changed things, it would be interesting if jmcc could tell us the increase in parked domains this last 6 months since I am certain they are up substantially.

An increase in parked or unwanted names could singify a downturn in business confidence or an inability to comprehend what is now required to rank well and I suspect dealing with the Panda is proving extremely difficult in some widget sectors...then again I may be completely mis-reading everything! Nothing new there:-)

indyank




msg:4359149
 4:49 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

What I meant was you can still have keywords in your domain name that aren't exact matches of the most widely used search terms, yet do very well on the SERPS for the exact matches you desired to rank. Until now, people used to buy exact match domain names but the game has changed a little here and a few seem to have learnt the new trick in buying keyword domain names.

But there are so many other strong influencing factors at play these days and it isn't easy anymore to have just one thing in your favor and expect to achieve what you want. From that point of view, I do agree that the advantages of some of these factors like keyword domain names has been diminished.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4359154
 5:15 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

^ I agree ^

I have found that choosing a domain like redplasticwidgets.com can help in searches for "red widgets" and "red plastic" provided that some of the other ranking criteria are met.

walkman




msg:4359186
 7:47 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is it time to say the keyword domain marketplace is dead? I'm sure people selling domains don't want to believe it just yet. For sure I'm noticing it. Anyone else monitoring those trends?

I can say regardless if people disagree with me, the fact is all those expensive auction domains are fools gold. Sure the Google algo can change but in this regard it's not going to imo. It's all about Panda right? Since when does a keyword in a domain equate to quality?


If it were for Google all traffic would go through them and domains wouldn't even exist since instead of going directly to topproduct.tld you would search for "top product" in Google and they'd decide what to show you on ads and on "organic" search. The good news is that Google is one fading factor online, at least in the USA, and while it seems bad today, make plans for the future.

I am loaded with top names for a certain cctld, loaded. And with those names I can also build a brand almost forcing Google to rank me on top without me paying them.

Bottom line, they are "keyword domains" and then they are "keyword domains." And of course life is long, I made a living online before I knew how to 'SEO' for google so long term plans should not be with google or a certain search engine in mind.

martinibuster




msg:4359187
 7:47 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

FWIW, one of my sites always ranked in the top five for the first word of it's two word "brand" name. It's not a keyword anyone is trying to rank for, it's just part of the brand name. As an example, let's call it Swift Widgets and as an example say it's ranking for the word "Swift." The site itself was never about "Swift" (example). "Swift" is just a descriptive word that made the domain a brand name. The single word never delivered traffic because nobody searches that phrase.

Nevertheless I think it is an interesting measure of how much incidental weight was being placed on the word in the domain (particularly via anchor text) to rank it, versus how much the site is actually about that word (which is zero, it's not about that word).

The site has been ranking in the top five for a few years but this year started to slip and most recently has dipped to the second page of the results, which is pretty much where it belongs, if at all. So from this one example, it could be said there is evidence that Google may be dialing down some of the noise from incdental anchor text influence.

shazam




msg:4359194
 8:01 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

EMD's are far from dead. In a new niche I am pursuing ALL the top ten results have the keyword in the domain. It's actually kind of silly

keyword1.com
keyword10.com
keyword89.com
keyword90.com
keyword5.com
keyword177.comk
keyword.net
keyword.org

This sort of thing, with the real 'keyword.com' of course doing quite well.

In other niches the EMD's appear to have taken a slap upside the head with a panda claw.

The cost and difficulty in obtaining an EMD makes the domain a semi decent indicator. The scrapers/spammers stay away and tend to go with cheaper disposable domains. The companies that invest in a good domain often do what it takes to make a good site and have a more realistic long term view. They are often more interested in developing their brand. So g should pay attention and use the domain as a ranking factor in my opinion.

bhartzer




msg:4359203
 8:23 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

EMDs are far from dead.

That's exactly right. In fact, a few of my test domains--that are Exact Match Domains (.com), with one-page "light on content) sites have remained in Google's top 10 rankings, even through the Panda updates.

MrSavage




msg:4359212
 8:44 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm also considering the weight of keyword domains from the point of .com, .net, .org, etc. It's entirely possible that Google is retaining some value in .com, but lessening the rest.

I too have some exact domain websites that have continued to exist in top rankings. However, I do not think this indicates staying power. It simply indicates that "Google" hasn't deemed that keyword phrase as important enough yet. In other words, one that niche can fit under the umbrella of say, CNET, Engadget etc, that keyword domain will succumb to the new Google way of establishing rankings.

The point I'm making, as I did to start this thread, was to suggest that the value that once was, is actually no longer. The marketplace imo has yet to face that reality. Always counter examples, but I have some experience in this realm.

tedster




msg:4359226
 9:38 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's entirely possible that Google is retaining some value in .com, but lessening the rest.

If so it would be something completely new. Google has always ignored the TLD (the extension itself) and allowed the relevance/trust/popularity/authority/quality factors in the algorithm to do all the lifting.

wheel




msg:4359246
 10:26 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

In other words, one that niche can fit under the umbrella of say, CNET, Engadget etc, that keyword domain will succumb to the new Google way of establishing rankings.

There's a problem though. Someone searches on CNET, what side do you expect? www dot cnet.com.

Even if Google starts adding significant branding signals in so that exact matches don't work when they're not a brand (like cnet), well, I suspect that the fallout would simply be too great. too many people searching for a company and not getting it. Pure speculation, but IMO likely.

I just don't see the death of exact match keywords any time soon. And no real benefit for users by removing them or lowering their rankings,so why the push.

MrSavage




msg:4359261
 11:09 pm on Sep 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

To clarify a couple points.

I'm not saying I have any evidence of preferred TLD. It's simply that it would not surprise me if Google is saying that the .com is the authority and the .org is more likely a freeloader.

My example of CNET. It's this way. If you have a site about "waterproof pink plastic laptops", you may enjoy some traffic for those searches of "waterproof pink plastic laptops". Even better if you own the exact domain. However, if Google sees increased volumes of searches (popularity), it will lump that search phrase into laptops, and your niche is out, and now the CNET's and Engadget's of the world reap that new popular keyword phrase. With popularity of a phrase, the bar gets raised to a point where your niche site is suddenly going head to head against the CNET's of the web. That's when your site is dead. Sure you can keep building it up, but at what point would you be credible enough when going up against CNET? How many lifetimes?

I've been monitoring my points of interest and guess what? Slowly but surely those niche sites are giving way to CNET, Engadget, etc. Afterall, you may be asking Google about sites on "waterproof pink plastic laptops", but Google interprets your search as meaning laptops and therefore you want the best laptops site, not the best site covering that particular topic.

I'm just suggesting that if you think buying a keyword domain will allow you to compete in remotely competitive or soon to be competitive searches, you are in my opinion, wasting your time.

I think of it this way. Sports. Imagine that high school team going up against a NFL team. That's you vs. them. Keyword domains were like you getting to add a few extra players (okay maybe more than just a few extra) to your team so that you could actually make the game competitive. That was then.

It makes sense right. Domains aren't telling Google very much anymore. Afterall, a keyword phrase domain means quality? No. Sure it might mean relevance, but Google doesn't need a domain to determine that. Perhaps they did use it heavily in a relevance ranking, but they are putting much more stock in other factors. That's my opinion.

I'm not saying I like this. Afterall, keyword domains should have high value. No schmuck is going to get a high volume .com unless they have paid for it and are serious about having a legit site. I consider the domain aftermarket as part of the fabric of the internet. If this is truly the way of Google now then they are really turning the egosystem on its head once again. All in the name of search quality?

edit: I should mention that I'm not so pig headed as to think I know everything regarding this subject. If I see reverse trends I will certainly update those also.

This 44 message thread spans 2 pages: 44 ( [1] 2 > >
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