Earlier, I discussed in detail why I think generic domain names are so important, and I would now like to provide a real world example of the importance.
My wife and I are looking to re-do our kitchen and bathroom floors. Black slate looks cool, but it’s difficult to clean and we want to give our kitchen a fresh look. While at dinner with friends on Friday, we saw that they had black granite flooring that my wife and I both liked. We decided that we were going to look into new flooring options, and our first to stops were HomeDepot.com and Lowes.com, both of which did not have the type of flooring that we want.
Since we haven’t done much renovation other than wood floors from Home Depot, we don’t really know many home improvement or renovation stores in New York, and I haven’t owned or needed a phone book in about 8 years. That said, my first step in searching for granite floor tile were Google searches for “granite floor tiles,” “granite floor tile,” and “granite flooring.”
Had any of these domain names been owned by a flooring company, it’s likely they would have ranked fairly high in Google, since the term isn’t ultra competitive. Fortunately for the existing companies (well, the 5 highest ranking companies anyway), the keyword domain names, GraniteFloorTiles.com, GraniteFloorTile.com, and GraniteFlooring.com aren’t developed.
People often look at generic domain names for their type-in visitor value. Although this is important, it isn’t the primary reason why I like generic domain names. Based on my development experiences, I have found that keyword domain names generally rank very well in the search engines (Bing moreso than Google), while their competitors with more brandable domain names don’t rank nearly as well.
I may or may not have bought my granite tiles from GraniteFlooring.com, but when all things considered are equal and I don’t have any brand loyalty to a local store, it makes things easier for the company to rank well organically and not have to consistently pay for visitors through SEM, which can be useful but requires continued investment. Generic domain names aren’t the answer, but they make finding the answer much easier.
Yes, exact match domains tend to get a significant boost in the search engine rankings. .Com and .Net domains tend to get a “superboost” while the search engine benefit for .TV domains tends to be diminished (still a noticeable benefit but given how most people only select sites on the first page or two, being on page ten or fifty is of little value). Having seen a number of my .TV sites not rank very well despite a fair amount of content, I decided to acquire the .Net domain for a site I was working on and prepared to launch with .TV. Three weeks after launch, my site is on the lower portion of page one of Google for the two-word phrase and the photo on my header is on the third page of Google images for the title used in the Alt tag for the image. I have translated the content into Spanish and launched on a .TV site. So while the Spanish site lags the English site by ~10 days, I should get a decent comparison of how the two extensions compare in SE results with comparable development. Note however that two other Spanish .tv developments have managed to generate some OK traffic from Spanish-speaking countries. So perhaps .TV sites don’t rank too well in the US while perhaps fair better in other countries/languages where the competition isn’t as intense.
Seems that the new Google Caffeine update is favoring generics and domains that exactly match the search term.
Interesting post Elliot, your ideas remind me of another post I recently read on exact match domains:
Keywords in domains is one of those ongoing debates that I don’t think will ever be solved. One the one hand, you’re right – all other things equal, domains which include keywords are more likely to benefit from extra traffic from higher natural rankings, but I don’t think all other things are ever equal. A domain without keywords could have superior branding (an open company name brief can be more creative and original) which could easily outweigh any keyword matching benefit.