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For SEO, Usability & Brand Building is a Perfect .org or Imperfect .com Better?

     
11:02 am on May 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In terms of SEO and usability what is better?

- a perfect keyphrase match and .org

- a less perfect keyphrase match and .com

For instance, if I want to start a website on the theme "Example Keyword".

The domain name ExampleKeyword.com is already taken; and I cannot buy it. What would be the second best choice:

1) ExampleKeyword.org - it is available

2) or SampleKw.com - where "Sample" is a lesser used synonym of "Example" and "Kw" a very popular abbreviation of "Keyword".

Opinions?
2:00 pm on May 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What is the nature of the intended site? If it doesn't naturally fit the .org extension very well it may be worth thinking about a .info or an other extension that may make more semantic sense. In the end it's how you want users to perceive you and easily remember you.
3:06 pm on May 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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what gpmgroup said.
In most instances, i'd go for the .com - a .org is really not a "com"mercial site.
EMDs, or keyword-rich domains are are difficult to come by, and a made-up-word, cool name domain can sometimes do more than a perfect keyphrase match org.
9:22 pm on May 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The site provides unbiased scientific consumer information, but does not sell anything (other than via Google ads), so I guess it fits the .org tld.

What worries me with the .org: users may automatically swap the tld for ".com" in their brain when trying to remember it, then never find my site.

What worries me with the .com: users may automatically remember the wrong domain ExampleKeyword.com (which I do not own).

I am thinking also of possible radio or printed press advertising. Can you imagine a radio host saying "Visit SampleEg.com for consumer information about Example Keyword" and the audience remembering the correct domain? Or the host saying "Visit ExampleKeyword.org for consumer information about Example Keyword" and the audience remembering the correct tld?

Of course, an obvious solution would be to buy one of each domains... but then I run into a financial quagmire of choices, because I would need to buy so many variations.

Dilemma.
10:02 pm on May 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If the word pairing defines the industry then I'd be happy with the dot org at the right price.

Examples: PublicAdjusters.tld, FreightForwarders.tld, etc.

I'd worry less about the domain and more about the site's unique design, uniquely valuable content, community building, etc.

If it's just going to be rolled out as another MFA site (Made For Adsense) site I wouldn't agonize the .com vs. .org vs. whatever.

I prefer one word industry defining .org domains.
11:17 am on May 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I purchased both .org and .com for a particular name. I paid almost 50 times more for the .com domain.
I noticed the .com ranks much better due to a number of factors such as being registered since 1995.

Depends if you're looking to create a new brand (I'd go with the .com) or use the EMD to rank on Google. (I would go with the .org)
3:36 pm on June 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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i haven't seen a lot of .org domains in google :)
10:45 pm on June 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Most times it is a krap shoot. You can have nifty keyword.tld and still lose in the long run.

There is more involved t hen the tild itself, and that is marketing, branding, user awareness (word of mouth) and cash (the later greases the wheels you want to spin easy)

Is one (com or org) better than the other? Only time and effort and hard work will tell.

For all that, the com will do better in most cases... at this time of teh net we have at least two generations of users, if not three who instinctively type "com" after any domain name. Keep that in mind.
10:49 pm on June 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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i haven't seen a lot of .org domains in google :)

There is one that comes near the top of most searches.

A search for organisations in a particular arts field brought up 8.org or .org.uk sites and 2 .co.uk so it seems to me that legitimate .org sites come up at the right time.
11:03 am on June 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ignore the keyword in domain. Go with brand names.

A perfect brand beats everything in SEO due to Google is hammering manipulation practices and that is what you are attempting here.
4:33 pm on June 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A perfect brand beats everything in SEO due to Google is hammering manipulation practices and that is what you are attempting here.


SEO and brand building are connected but quite separate. SEO is about ranking. Brand is about value associations. I can build a "brand that ranks" but that begs the question. I may rank a newly created/launched "brand" . . but . . . "what else you got?".

Setting aside ^that^ idea let's talk about "new brands", because that's what I think we're talking about in this thread - in the direction it's now heading.

New brands face issues of atomization and scarcity of attention due to atomization of inbound information channels: search, social media, apps, streaming media, surfing, email, traditional media, etc. While "search engine" optimization remains important SEO is likely a concern of diminishing importance. I would not overweight SEO's importance in my business's sustainability planning. Indeed, it's often argued that defensible traffic - traffic not subject to the caprices of the SERPs, is the ONLY viable sustainability plan. But . . . that's another can of worms to dig in to.

In the context of new brands competing for attention, to begin to establish their brand, I suggest the trend is for brand builders to shift attention from search engine optimization to discovery + recall optimization. Why? Because in 2015 there are far more channels than search that today lead to being discovered / revealed as a "brand new brand".

In the context of discovery AND recall, in the attention economy, one impediment to discovery and recall that can be dimished or removed, is "brand (name) -> value (utility, etc) connection". How? By using a name that is "already known". However, relying on "name alone" will not - but can be - the end of the all important Cluetrain Manifesto dialogue. "So, (says the new visitor) I see you've got a great, memorable web address. What else you got?".

What you do with a "built in brand" (Cars.com, Loans.tld, Mortgage.tld) - the association between (corporate generated) value+values & "their naming" - is a separate issue. That's a matter of building and offering value. The distinction is "brand name" versus "brand".

In the era when ALL businesses are coming to grips with the reality that "brand is what others SAY about you (your . . cough . . brand), NOT what you (the brand) says about itself" - your proposition of building "the perfect brand" is . . . one helluva notion. Do tell. How DO you do that? :-/, :p & ;)

As an aside, Aaron Wall / SEOBook has spoken at length about the roll of brands in G's SERPs.
10:29 pm on June 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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SEO is about ranking.


I agree but...

Brand is about value associations.


I agree but...

That starts the moment you get noticed. e.g. Exposure!

Trying to drive exposure through a single, generally cost free advertising channel such as organic SEO is a flaw in logic. SEO includes PPC & social media, as well. Neither of which takes more than a few minutes to start... and thus you have near real-time Exposure!.

Reducing the keyword need to a major disadvantage.

A keyword in domain is a cost placebo in organic SEO which is also a loophole towards exposure development and that is most often just a drag on conversions. Brand is 3M...

Memorable, Mello, & Mass appeal.

I've been exposed to thousands of Analytical accounts and they always show brand oriented phrases convert to sales the best. Brand terms tend to be most of the top ten. Some business models might be immune to that... maybe info sites where advertising is the business model.

The cost placebo ... you won't get any ranks without links and you won't get the links without costs... expertly crafted content by subject matter experts or paid links which generally includes trading article for links or some other exchange in lieu of cash. Putting you right back where you started.

If you have to spend money on something spend it on a channel that drives "what else you got?" ...in 15 minutes since you ain't ranking that keyword in 15 minutes without costing massively more.
1:39 pm on June 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That brand oriented phrases (Bosch spark plugs, Centrum vitamins) convert to sales of those items simply reflects that the purchaser has already formed a brand / trust relationship and was likely was only searching for the best price on that branded item. I'm not certain where you are going with the bit of widely observed and accepted truth that "brand oriented phrases convert to sales".

Real-time exposure? Hundreds of millions seek it every day. Content? It's spewed out. Quality content? $$$ today and $$$ tomorrow and $$$ the next day, because it's got to be fresh and anyone with $$$ can play the game. Links? An SEO strategy that search algorithms just keep changing.

Best bang for one's buck? I'll start with and stick with an instantly memorable and associative Web address, say Insurance.com, if I can afford it. Pay once. Claim the advantage. Move on to other strategies that also cost money.

If not . . . pay and pay and pay for other services.

Soup.com -> Knorr. Loans.com -> Bank of America. Vitamin.com -> Nature Made. Aspirin.com -> Bayer.

Why? Maybe because they can afford to? Maybe to defend their precious (costly to develop and maintain) brand from an attacker by placing defenses at positions of advantage?

"Canons at the point of entry to the port! Canons and outposts on the high ground! And seize that domain, too!" Hmmmm . .

Hey, if your clients don't have the budget to take the high ground - the keyword domain - there's still room to skirmish . . with all the masses fighting that battle.

"More content! More links! Pull harder! They're getting ahead of us!"

C'est la vie SERPs.
1:27 am on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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convert to sales of those items simply reflects that the purchaser has already formed a brand / trust relationship


TRUST... with a domain name... probably not?

TRUST... with a real company... absolutely!

Hey, if your clients don't have the budget to take the high ground - the keyword domain - there's still room to skirmish . . with all the masses fighting that battle.


It isn't about the high road it's about trust. You said that as well.

Best bang for one's buck? I'll start with and stick with an instantly memorable and associative Web address, say Insurance.com, if I can afford it.


Insurance.com isn't an insurance company it's an affiliate marketing company and they sell leads to insurance companies. While some leads might be sold to brand names others are sold to tom, dick, and harry. In fact, any insurance company that will pay them for the lead... clearly that isn't what the folks looking for insurance wanted... they want a trusted relationship.

Quality content? $$$ today and $$$ tomorrow and $$$ the next day, because it's got to be fresh and anyone with $$$ can play the game. Links?


The perceived value that your beloved keyword can't do anything more than brand without $$$ but brand first starts with trust if the company is actually trustworthy and the domain will never provide that.
2:16 am on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Look, I respect your intelligence and SEO experience . . and . . I don't know the size of your "domain trust / no trust" sample set BUT I'm fairly certain my experience with domain -> trust far exceeds your's. Based on my own direct experience I'm calling BS on your assertions about the amount of curb appeal / street cred a "this is the name of the industry" domain brings to the game. Every little experiment I've undertaken has immediately received interest, cooperation, etc. - just based upon the high credibility of the domain / address combined with the slightest intelligence in starting to build a relevant site. There's simply a built in authority, which yields trust, that comes with certain addresses. Of this I know from direct and repeated experience.

There was a reason I made acquistions in the .Org space, anticipating a time when I would change my life's direction from law to web development. I invested in industry defining, a/k/a keyword domains in verticals that held my interest. Why? Perceived authority. Embedded trust. Memorability. Billboardable. Low overhead when it comes to explaining "who are you" and "what are you about". Right out of the gate.

YMMV and we can opinionate all day but I'm not wasting time, money or effort laboring to "brand a domain" or eek out trust when I know, from experience, that I've got it from the start and it's mine to fritter away . . or not.

[edited by: Webwork at 7:50 pm (utc) on Jun 13, 2015]

3:09 am on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Kiddies....

The point has been missed.

The OP was also off the mark for the question asked, but the answer is:

Identity

... and this is not necessarily a "brand", but a go to point that can be ELEVATED to a brand if all goes well.

Who'd a thunk yahoo was anything more than a chuckle in old Pulp Western Fiction from the 1930s?

Writing names in the snow with a body fluid is not helpful, and it might make the Huskies puke. (or others reading this thread)

ORG or COM?

That was modified by the OP to "perfect" (I assume domain name ...) or a lesser desired keyword. I'd rather the OP explain the business model first before attempting to answer that question as some names have value and some values require no special name. If get rich quick general sales and jobbers (or affiliate) then who freakin' cares? How many sites with "4", "free", "now", "2" "ur", "door" or some other nonsense are out there, and doing well because their PRODUCT page (or comparison in pricing with others) managed to rank? That's the get rich quick side and "sendmeyourmoneynow" should be perfect. :)

BUT, if the idea is to build a web presence, then the goal is to be where MOST folks are and that's COM, not ORG... and, OP, there's got to be something more "special" about your project to make the decision or ORG over COM.
10:24 am on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Look, I respect your intelligence and SEO experience . . and . . I don't know the size of your "domain trust / no trust" sample.


I learned a valuable lesson from here... Post rebuttals base on the post not the poster.

As tangor points out the difference between our views is simple ... Identity.

Brand Identity is about trust.
Keyword Identity is about greed.

Your posts points that out in many different ways. I won't fault your strategy as there is nothing wrong with being greedy but that doesn't make a superior SEO strategy.

The domain name has little to do with SEO in general. I can make anything rank... you're saying you can't... and I think you're wrong - you could if you actually tried to leave your comfort zone.
2:34 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I won't fault your strategy as there is nothing wrong with being greedy but that doesn't make a superior SEO strategy.


Brand Identity is about trust. Keyword Identity is about greed.


Hotels.com
3:19 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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How many hotels does hotels.com have?

When a hotel rips me off do I get a refund from hotels.com?

A great marketing ploy ... Another party that wishes to make money off the supply and demand of others.

Will they guarantee my hotel experience or will that be the hotel that does that?
8:58 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Brand Identity is about trust.
Keyword Identity is about greed.

Hmmm....

Double hmmm....

Isn't the ultimate desire of a brand owner to become a keyword? :)
1:19 am on June 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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To replace their brand?

Or to complement it.

The real answer being sought by the OP would Expedia done better if they weren't Expedia but instead bought hotels.com for the right price years earlier.

I say no.
1:36 am on June 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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You guys are still in a pissing match!

We don't know the OP's business, so there's little we can say other than COM has more traction that ORG, period. End of story.

As for the examples and speculations used in recent commentary on this thread, none rise to the top, nor do any sink to the bottom, but:

a keyword is GENERALLY something people search for like "beef", "fish" "sex", "hotel".... these are things or items.

A brand is a NAME.... a business usually, or a government, state, city, religion, heck, even a water park....

an Identity can be any of the above, but does not have to be. A series of numbers, for example, can do the trick.

The REAL QUESTION that was asked in te OP is if the ORG (with a better "word" would do better than a COM with a less better word.

The true answer is: try it and see.... heck it atin't that expensive these days to buy a couple of domains.

I see it as Identity as a "keyword" or as a "brand".... and BOTH can do well.... but IN MY OPTION the COM will always do better.

I need to shut up.... my old age is showing an I have a 10lb roast cooking which needs a little TLC. :)

/rant off
10:40 pm on June 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thank you tangor; I have taken your advice some time ago and bought the corresponding .org domains which I redirect 301 to my .com domains.

Some confusion came to this thread because my subject line had been changed by moderators to:

For SEO and Brand Building Which is Better: A "Perfect" .org or Imperfect .com?

whereas I remember having originally titled

For SEO and Usability Which is Better: A "Perfect" .org or Imperfect .com?

I do not have a brand, and I am not selling anything online. I only run a consumer information tool. So, my keywords are not a brand, or even not "money" keywords. They are just information keywords.

One user pointed out to me a possibly significant detail:

Ctrl+EnterAdd "http://www." and ".com" around an address

That shortcut may be used by some and explain in part why .com still rules.
2:02 am on June 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've been thinking about this and I think much consideration should be given to how "this name versus that" might play in social media.

A while ago I paid a scary sum for a two-word domain name and while the SEO potential was positive, an equally important reason I wanted it was the name's social-media usability. (1) The two-word phrase was short enough it could serve as my user name without needing to be truncated or altered in any way, and (2) the exact name was still available for the taking on all the social networks I cared about.

The two-word phrase isn't one that gets a lot of searches but it's instantly meaningful to my target audience when they see it. So it's gradually becoming a brand, with help from both social media and SEO.

As for SEO, I have lots of pages to work with and I aim to rank for far more than just the two-word phrase that forms the domain name.

One other thing to consider, SEO-wise, is how the name(s) you're considering gets treated by Google's broad matching. That can be a mixed blessing sometimes!
7:01 am on June 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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>> Hotels.com
Since I've been around at least as long as both of you and since I play in this area...

OTAs offer something completely different to a hotel (or a group of hotels):
* a chance to compare hotel prices in a location (or number of locations)
* a chance to compare hotel availability in a location (or number of locations)
* simplified booking procedure
* no language problems when booking in a foreign country

>>The real answer being sought by the OP would Expedia done better if they weren't Expedia but instead bought hotels.com for the right price years earlier. I say no.

Actually I would say that the real answer is not if Expedia would have done better, but whether RoomKey would have done better. I say yes.