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Domain Names And SEO

Jun 3, 2008
Do domain names have an effect on search engine rankings? Yes they do. A domain name can have a positive effect on how a site ranks in the search engines. A domain name that contains targeted search terms can help a site to rank better for those terms. This is where getting a good domain name comes into play for SEO strategies and here is why.

Domain names with keywords in them don't affect rankings just by having the keywords there but that does have some effect on rankings. The main reason for the effect they can have is from inbound links. With domain names that have the targeted search terms in them it is usually much easier to get links to the site with the same keywords for anchor text. This is because people tend to link to a site with the site title or domain as the link title or anchor text of the link. Also when submitting a site for inclusion in directories like DMOZ for example, it is usually the official title that is accepted for the title of the link in the directory. Having the keywords in the domain name means that there is a very good chance links any inbound links to the site will have those Keywords for the anchor text of the link.

For a sample case study I will take a look at seo.com. The main search term that seo.com is targeting is the acronym of SEO. If you search in Google for SEO, you will see that seo.com is currently ranked at #7. Doing some research into the inbound links of seo.com will show that many links are using SEO in the anchor text. The site ranks well partially because of the domain name but also because the domain name has made linking to seo.com with SEO in the anchor text natural for people linking to the site.

To help the internal pages of the site to rank better, be sure to also include targeted search terms in the names of those pages. Before creating the pages do some keyword research and find the best search terms that relate to the content of each internal page. Name the pages using those keywords. Using hyphens is acceptable with page names but keep the page names short. Don't use too many keywords. Stick to the 2 or 3 most relevant keywords.

So it is important to plan your SEO strategy right for the beginning. Do keyword research at the very beginning and find the most targeted search term you can. Get a domain name that includes that search term. However, when buying the domain name be sure to avoid using hyphens and making it very long. Hyphens make the domain look spammy and they are not as marketable. Long domains also are just not as marketable.

Following these SEO Strategies will help to boost the rankings of the site. Doing some keyword research first and then buying a keyword targeted domain name is one of the first steps in creating a site that is SEO friendly.
About the Author
Dustin Williams is an SEO specialist and currently works for SEO.com. He has been building websites and marketing them on the internet for over 6 years. Many of his SEO techniques can be found in his SEO strategy guide.
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