Using Domain Name Keywords to Up Your SEO Game
Bob, Jesse and Sue discuss the value of using domain name keywords in improving the SEO of your business. As Jesse says in the episode, “a rose by any other name isn’t going to get found in a Google search!” The team discusses the importance of owning your keywords and staying true to those targets to help your business get found online. They also discuss the value of focused micro-sites for your business that aim at specific brands or services that you offer. This episode offers great answers to frequently asked questions regarding the functionality of your domain name, from SEO ranking to customer approaches.
As always, you can always go to localseotactics.com/questions and ask us a question for the show. We’re here to help. Thank you for checking us out!
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What you’ll learn
- The value of focused microsites to building you brand and improving your SEO.
- Why it’s important to consider your keywords in naming your domain.
- What are “Top-level domains” (TLDs) and are they important for your domain name?
Transcript for Does It Help My SEO If I Have Keywords In My Domain Name? -103;
Caleb Baumgartner: Welcome to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I am your producer, Caleb Baumgartner. And in today’s episode, Bob, Jesse, and Sue are once again tackling a listener question, this time regarding the value of targeting keywords in your domain name. How does having a target keyword for your business and your domain name affect your SEO? The crew will give you the knowledge you need to create a domain that will help you rank in your industry. We’re always looking for new questions. So hit us up at localseotactics.com/questions. Thanks for listening, and enjoy the show.
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, here once again with Bob Brennan and Sue Ginsburg. How you guys doing? All right, Sue, where in the world are you?
Sue Ginsburg: Okay. Today, coming at you from the virtual world of Williamsburg, Virginia, where a listener asked the question that we will be discussing today. So back into colonial times temporarily.
Jesse Dolan: Pretty sweet looking, I’ll tell you that much. Early May here up in Minnesota. Trees are just starting to fill in a little bit, but that looks very inviting, things to come.
Sue Ginsburg: I agree. So the question that we will be discussing today is, “As the collector of domains, over 1100 at this time, I have several in the sector of my service retail business. What is the best way to use them for growing my business?”
And I’ll start with a short story. We are just starting to work with a really good business in the Bay Area, whose business is fire and water damage recovery. And when rain comes in and floods your basement, ruins your carpet, whatever, who are you going to call besides Ghostbusters? You’re going to call somebody who can do a service like this. You’re likely in a rush, pulling out your phone. Oh no, what am I going to do? And you Google water damage resource, water damage cleanup, et cetera.
Well, years ago when they chose their domain name and their business name, they did it strategically. They did it wisely. And their domain name is water damage recovery, as their domain. I mean, how great is that?
Jesse Dolan: Perfect.
Sue Ginsburg: And then do you think that gets them a head start in search ranking? It’s SEOed right into their name. So this shows the importance of domain names, which are more important probably than people may think. And with that, I will share the quote of the day from Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Now, this was Shakespeare back in the day, telling us that it’s not really the name, it’s what’s on the inside, which may have been true then before there was an internet or any such thing as domain names, but in today’s day, where the internet is where we search, getting found online by your prospects, customers, and Google is another story.
And we all know that a name does matter, and more specifically, your domain name does matter. With SEO built right into it, you do get a jumpstart just by having SEO in your name. So all other things being equal, who do you think will rank higher, for example, on a search for local SEO, a business that possibly could be named Local SEO Tactics or one named Flying Elephants? Which do you think?
Jesse Dolan: Right. I’m going with the former.
Sue Ginsburg: Yeah, we’ll go with the former. So today in this discussion, we want to share different ways to use domain names to your advantage to grow your business. And we fully understand that business owners may or may not be aware of the importance of domain names and how you can use your domain name, one more thing you own to help grow your business. How do you do that? Well, I’m going to toss that question to Jesse and Bob. And from that, we’ll all learn something about using domain names and be a little smarter about one other way to grow our business.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. Two things I’d say to kick it off. One is I applaud you on the whole Flying Elephants example. I always come up with random, abstract examples on things, whether it be red balloons or otherwise. And that’s just great. I don’t know how you came up with that, but I love it. I’m probably going to use it. We’ll probably hear that in a future podcast, and I’ll try to credit you for it. And then I’d take a little tweak on Shakespeare from an SEO perspective, and say a rose by any other name ain’t going to get found when you’re searching for a rose on Google. I just came up with that. You guys are all free to use it.
Sue Ginsburg: Brilliant.
Jesse Dolan: But to your exact point, like with the algorithms, with Google, with keywords, everything else, within the realm of SEO, the name is super important. And for the listener question, how are you going to leverage all these domain names? We talked a little bit previous to this on different strategies and which angle to take on it. Quite frankly, for everybody listening, there’s a Pandora’s box here of possibilities and where you can go with it. So hopefully we’re going to distill it down to a couple things here, but first and foremost, I guess I’d like to start answering by maybe dispelling some perceptions that people come to us with all the time.
So if you have a business name, again, if it’s, you know, Jessie’s Plumbing, I always say, Bob’s Plumbing, this time I’m going with Jesse’s Plumbing. If I have 30 domain names about various plumbing related things, just cause I thought, hey, there’s the keywords in that name, there’s the keywords in that name, I’m going to own them and I’m going to redirect it to jessesplumbing.com. If it’s leakypipesfixer.com, there must be SEO value in that domain name. And if I just buy that name and just have it redirected, so every time somebody goes to leaky pipe, blah, blah, blah, they’re going to go to my site. That must help me for SEO, right?
No, not really. Just buying domain names for the purpose of redirecting to your website isn’t going to really help directly for SEO, with one big caveat. If for some reason that domain that you purchased used to be an authoritative website ranking in Google with a lot of pages in the index, things like that, then yes, there is an SEO tactic of buying those expired or old domain names, or if you purchase it from somebody, if it’s an active website right now and you purchase it and just redirect it to your website, then yes. But the big caveat here is this domain name that you’re owning and redirecting to your existing site in this model has to have some kind of value in Google ahead of time.
If that domain was never published as a website or was a website five years ago and Google has effectively purged it out of its index and it’s completely irrelevant, if you go and buy that just because it’s got a couple keywords and all you do is redirect it to your website, it ain’t going to do anything but cost you 20 bucks a year to keep renewing that domain name. Now, there is a strategy of something that you had mentioned, Sue, buying those domain names for a defensive tactic. If it’s jessesplumbing.com, if I go out and buy jessesplumbing.net, maybe a misspelling of my name, maybe different variations, just to own them so my competitors can’t own them, okay. Again, that doesn’t have SEO value, but as a business owner, that’s going to have some value, and it’s still going to cost you five to 20 bucks per year per domain name, but depending on your brand and your image and everything else, that might be a good investment.
Now, the only direct way without getting into black hat tactics, and a lot of funny business, that these other domain names can help you for your business through SEO is micro-sites. And Bob, we’ve championed this before, and we’ll talk about it here a little bit. You can have more than one website for your business. A lot of people, when we pitch this to them, and we’ve been doing this for years, get a little freaked out, like, well, I have jessesplumbing.com. I don’t want to build another brand.
But if you had, again, leaky pipe, even like minneapolisleakypipeplumber.com, okay. Now, if you turn that into a website that’s about leaky pipe, leak … Why can’t I say that? Leaky pipe repair in Minneapolis, Minnesota, now you have some traction there, and we’ll call that a micro-site. You can have multiple of those. What’s your two cents, Bobby? Can you have too many? Should you even have a couple, if you don’t have one now? We’re pretty well-versed in this and done it a lot, so I’ll just throw that at you to get your two cents on it.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. My whole strategy with micro-sites, it’s about ranking, but it’s also about converting. So a fairly decent example might be, let’s just take the auto industry. If you have a Ford Transit or you want to work on Ford Transits, and there’s Ford dealers, right? And you own a Ford Transit, you type in Ford repair, and you land on the dealership’s site and there’s some specific service or something you want with Ford Transits, it’s a bunch of hoops you have to jump through to get that done. If I was a dealership, I would actually create sites, a local dealership, I would create sites as it relates to certain critical either car types or vehicle types, that when that person lands on it, they go, “Oh, heck yeah, Transit. These guys do Transit. Look, everything is about Transits. This is what they do.”
Jesse Dolan: Specialist here, experts here.
Bob Brennan: Boom, I’m calling. And that would be my strategy as it relates to micro-sites. I mean, you can still do that with a main site by proper SEO, so that page is served up, but I wouldn’t take any chances. I would continue that theme with separate micro-sites on that topic, for the purpose of conversion. And that’s kind of my deal there. And then the only other offering that I’d throw out there is the analogy, I’ve been in business long enough that I actually advertised in the yellow pages.
Jesse Dolan: What?
Bob Brennan: Oh, yeah.
Jesse Dolan: Like .com, you mean?
Bob Brennan: Yeah. So the salespeople would say, you know, if you’re interested in doing this, you may want to start another business or business name that is AAA Plumbing or Abbott Plumbing or whatever the deal is that gets you to the top of the yellow pages that cost you almost nothing, right, if you just get that little line? Because the typical consumer, and again, you’re all probably younger than me, so you don’t remember this, but you would open up the yellow pages and you would start with the first one and say, okay, I’m going to call Acme whatever and see if they are open and they can fix my plumbing or whatever the case is.
So that same strategy you can roll over to the current digital age, where you want to get that domain name that is almost a keyword match potentially and create either a micro-site or actually create your business around that, if it makes sense to do that.
Jesse Dolan: I think a by-product, which is intentional and good, is let’s just say if you still have your main website for your business, like you said, you can still optimize for that keyword and get ranked, and you can have a micro-site targeting the same keyword and rank that, too. Now you’ve got hopefully two results at the top of Google, and you’re taking up more real estate and pushing a competitor further down the page. As we know, being in that top three, in the map pack, and then being on that top one, and even two or three for the natural search, things like that, man, you’re taking up A, real estate, but then B, such a high percentage of the clicks. That’s just great.
So don’t have to choose one or the other, I guess is my main point there, right? You can have your business and these micro-sites. You don’t want to have duplicate content, the exact same thing on both sites, because then that’s going to be a problem. So you’ve got to be a little unique, but for sure, so if you’re sitting there, back to that question, Sue, with a bunch of domains, if they’re about your business, if any of them have a geographic reference for the city or the state, and then some kind of product or service keyword in there, those are golden for doing this micro-site strategy.
Otherwise, there’s not tons of direct things you can do from an SEO standpoint to benefit your business. I mean, again, we’re not getting into selling those domains, whatever, but just how do these help my SEO and build my business? Really, if we had to pick one, it’s turn on some micro-sites, and try and get those babies ranked to help your business out. So hopefully that helps.
Sue Ginsburg: Any thoughts on .com, .net., .co, whatever else is out there today? Are any stronger or weaker than the others? And is .org still for nonprofits only? I don’t even know anymore.
Jesse Dolan: So none of that is like legal. You’re not going to get somebody knocking on your door, like, “Hey, we noticed you’re operating a .org and you’re not a nonprofit,” or something, but it’s more the convention. That was more important a number of years ago. But now there’s, they call them TLDs, or top level domain, the .com, the .net, the .seo, whatever it is. So from an SEO ranking standpoint, none of that should matter.
Where it does come into play is more of in your mind as a consumer and the memory and the retention of it, which can have an indirect impact on SEO for what people are searching for or typing in and things like that. But no, purely from a ranking standpoint, you theoretically should be able to rank anything, no matter what the .com., .net., .org is.
Sue Ginsburg: Interesting.
Jesse Dolan: But I would say that goes back to that previous point, too, like from a defensive standpoint. If you’ve got a brand that’s strong and you want to protect it, maybe go buy up the .net, .org, of whatever your main domain is, just to cover the bases there, too.
Sue Ginsburg: Could be confusing. Somebody could be making good off your hard work to get ranked, and we don’t want that to happen.
Jesse Dolan: Absolutely.
Sue Ginsburg: Well, that’s great. Thanks. So for this one, if you remember one thing, and one thing only, you remember that yes, a name does matter, and so does the domain name associated with that name.
Jesse Dolan: Right on.
Sue Ginsburg: And I’m sorry to contradict William Shakespeare, but different time, different age. And if he were here, I’m pretty sure he’d agree with us.
Jesse Dolan: He would, he would. All right, well, I hope that answers the question there for the user that submitted it and helps everybody else out. Again, everybody else, if you’ve got a question, whether it’s a big question or small question, even if you think it’s kind of silly, send it on in. To be clear, we’re not just going to blindly put it on the show. Sue does follow up with everybody and engage with you to talk about it more, get an angle, and just connect.
So send us in a question. We’d love to grab it, to digest it, and then to use it on the show. You can go to localseotactics.com. Down at the bottom, click on the button for submit a question. You can send us through a contact form, just type it out, or you can even call in, leave a voicemail, and we’ll use your audio on the show. If we do that, we’re going to send you off a fancy Intrycks t-shirt, completely free. There’s no shipping and handling. This is like completely gratis. So check it out, localseotactics.com. Thanks for hanging out, Bob and Sue, and answering the question. And everybody else, we’ll check in the next episode.
Sue Ginsburg: All right, see you.
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