Your domain name is as important as your business’s name; it is not only representative of your business, it is a practical identifier as well. This is why the best are short and easy to remember: Google.com, Twitter.com, Facebook.com, Yahoo.com. None of these identifiers really say what the site does or concerns; for instance, we don’t see ThisIsASearchEngine.com or DoYourSearchQueryHere.com. This is what Matt Cutts is talking about in a new video. The head of Google’s Webspam team discussed domain names that make heavy use of keywords. Is it better to get a keyword-stuffed domain name or one that is shorter and more brandable?
Cutts says that it is possible to be successful without having “keyword laden domains.” He points to Zinga, Google, Yahoo, Digg, other very brandable terms. The advantage of a domain name with keywords is that it does tell searchers what your site does before they click on it, which savvy searchers are increasingly looking for. Another instance in which it makes sense to go with keywords is when they are included in the name of your business. A commenter on Cutts’s video points out that it may also be beneficial to add identifiers, and keywords, like “law office” to a name to help searchers identify the site more accurately.
Cutts ultimately, though, comes down on the side of brandable. One reason: say you have a site which sells Android phones. Your domain is “Androidphones.net.” How is a visitor going to remember that when there are dozens of other sites with “Android” in the name? How is your site going to stand out from AndroidPhones.com, AndroidPhone.com/.net, or any of the other endless possibilities?
Another reason why domain names laden with keywords may not be such a great idea is that Google is going to be giving them less weight in the future. Cutts says:
Some people have complained that we are giving a little too much weight for keywords in domains. So we have been thinking about adjusting that mix a bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that given two different domains it wouldn’t necessarily help you as much to have a domain name with a bunch of keywords in it.”
SEO is constantly evolving, and it is very possible that you were told to choose a domain name like AndroidPhones.net because it would make you more visible. The tides are turning once again, and you may want to rethink that strategy. The move is aimed at sites that achieved high ranking on the basis of their domain name alone.