How Important Are Keyword Domains?

Over the past couple of years I’ve become obsessed with keyword domains. Not only does Google seem to give them much more weight over other URLs competing for the same keyword, but it’s also a great way to build a brand. Matt Cutts said himself that “Generic domains that users are likely to remember, will indeed carry more weight than others. There is a real value to FuneralHomes.com for example. Google does give keywords in the URL a certain amount of weight, but you don’t need it in order to rank.” It’s kind of weird that he used something like funeral homes to make his point, but I think the message is very clear.

I got my first experience with keyword domains in the online poker affiliate industry. We purchased several keyword domains while I was at Protos Marketing including pokersoftware.com, pokerterms.com, macpoker.com, and durrrrchallenge.com, among others. What we found was these URLs ranked MUCH easier than anything else we were doing. We put very little effort into any of these sites, but all of them shot up to the top 5 of the Google SERPs. This is in an industry that was a) VERY competitive b) in some cases very established (something else Google looks at).

This put me on a mission to start snapping up keyword domains for my new company, Terran Marketing. Over the past couple of months I picked up affiliatewebsite.com, wordpresstheems.com, wpthemes.net, themesforwp.com, rvclubs.org, rvparks.org, rvroadtrips.com, and most recently websitehosting.com.

I’ve been using several factors when looking at buying keyword domains.

1. I want my keyword URL to be an exact match term that gets a lot of search traffic. For instance, “WordPress Themes” gets searched over 800,000 times per month. “RV Parks” gets searched over 650,000 times per month. “Website Hosting” gets searched over 250,000 times per month, but it’s also a keyword domain for “Web Site Hosting” which gets searched 300,000 per month for a total of 550,000.

2. I’m trying to buy URLs that match terms that will only grow in the future. I have personal reasons for the RV domains, so that excluded, I’m trying to buy concepts that are only going to grow. I don’t think anyone can argue that as the Internet continues to grow Website Hosting and WordPress won’t continue to grow with it. The same thing goes for affiliate marketing.

3. I’m looking for keyword domains that also have a good affiliate program associated with them. Since I’m an affiliate marketer, there is no reason to rank number one for keywords that don’t have a related affiliate program. WordPress Themes offer a great opportunity for affiliate marketing. Website Hosting pays some of the largest CPAs in the entire affiliate marketing business, usually over $100 per acquisition.

Keyword Domains Are A Good Investment

I speculate that keyword URLs are a great investment. Domains in general continue to increase in value, but keyword URLs increase in value at a higher rate. Even if domains that I buy don’t get developed, they will increase in value.

5 Comments

  1. I think you have a 5 to 10 year window of getting value out of keyword domains. IMO smart phones, tablets, apps and eventually social search (Facebook/Twitter/etc.) will someday make content-light keyword domains obsolete. The result will be a much smaller internet, where only established content sites, manufacturer/brand sites and truly value-adding service sites (expedia.com, etc.) rule the day. Keyword domains will have to truly prove some worth or they will be made quickly irrelevant.

    Reply
    • I couldn’t agree more with mobile becoming more of a factor. I’ve been reading a lot about that lately and it’s the obvious trend.

      I also totally agree about the content-light sites; I think that applies to all sites and not just keyword sites. However, I’m building sites that are content centric around the keyword domains that I’m purchasing. I don’t just put up crappy shell sites because I know in the longrun that is exactly what google is trying to fight against.

      Reply
  2. You hit several key factors when it comes to generic domain names and your are buying some right ones.. but I would use caution using the term WordPress, as it is a trademark.

    That is another reason why GENERIC domain names are so valuable. Trademark free (for the most part) There are thousands of website hosting companies that brand themselves, but there is only one WebsiteHosting.com!

    Reply
  3. Hey there Michael
    I wasn’t aware of you before today but I stumbled upon your blog after reading about your acquisition of WebsiteHosting.com. Many congratulations on that, a great name which I’m sure will pay dividends for you.

    Just browsing your blog and I notice you stated “I’m not a big fan of .net, .org, .info, or anything like that”
    I’m of much the same opinion and was therefore just curious as to why you acquired WPThemes.net, RVClubs.org and RVPArks.org?

    Reply
    • Jim – thanks for stopping by. I’m definitely not a “big fan” of .net, .org, or .info domains, but there was a method to my madness there.

      1. They were either 3 figure or very low 4 figure purchases. (relatively cheap)
      2. The .com’s in that area we’re for sale.
      3. They are still exact match keyword domains.
      4. There was a specific reason for each of the purchase

      wpthemes.net – I already have wordpressthemes.com and was able to put up a sister site really easy
      rvclubs.org – there is 0 competition in this area and I can get to #1 with the .org
      rvparks.org – The .com isn’t for sale, but I think I can get some variation later. This will give me time to build traffic and rankings in google until I make another purchase.

      Reply

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