Designed to be Found – Part 6 – Domain Names
One of the most common beginner mistakes that people make in attempting to promote something online is to invest in dozens of domain names and attempt to use them. The fact is that it is twice the work to promote two domains as it is to promote one.
There are other domain-related SEO issues of course, so let’s run through a few.
Keyword-based domain names
It is true that having a keyword or two in the domain helps it to rank for those words. However, a well-optimised site should be bringing in 50% of its traffic on what we call ‘long tail’ search terms. The ‘long tail’ search terms are queries of four words or more, and so individually phrased that they only occur once in any data sample.
It is far more important to have a ‘brandable’ domain – something that works for people, is easily remembered and catchy, and something easy to spell out over the phone or at a water-cooler conversation.
Incidentally, so many search spammers used lengthy, keyword-laden domain names for so long, that it is now strongly advised you avoid ever using more than one hyphen in a domain name. Three or more hyphens in a domain name are considered a warning signal of potential spam.
Multiple domain names for one set of content
Having multiple domains only splits your efforts and attention, and creates the potential for duplicate content issues. Duplicate content is where the exact same content can be found at several URLs, and offers nothing valuable to the search engine in indexing the same thing at a different address.
Choose one primary domain for each set of unique content and promote just that one version of it. Rather than pointing other domains at the same content, have other domains serve a 301 redirect (permanent redirect, not a 302 temporary redirect) to the primary version, keeping it unique and valuable.
Look out for part 7 next week…