Thursday, July 25, 2024

What’s So Great About Long Domain Names?

You have no doubt been bombarded with emails from all manner of marketing ‘gurus’, including most of the big names, telling you to hurry up and get in on the “once in a lifetime” marketing opportunity of owning a long domain name of up to 65 characters.

Apparently the main attraction is that you can now stuff your domain name with relevant keywords for your site, and by doing so, increase your site’s ranking in the search engines.

The way most are talking, you’d be forgiven for thinking that owning a long keyword-rich domain is the key to bringing heavy traffic to your site!

Here is one such example: “Register domain names that are rich in keywords and drastically increase your search engine rankings! Search engines just eat up the domain names that describe the website and are loaded with keywords!”

However, none are offering any proof of this, just a ‘helpful’ link to their ‘preferred’ registrar. Almost without exception, not the cheapest, but one that pays a nice commission (for cheap try at $13.50 a year).

I personally think the value of such domain names highly questionable, especially for the average webmaster/mistress.

There is no proof that search engines place significant weight on keywords occurring in domain names. It’s only speculation that they look at the URL at all. Some search engines specialists feel that they do, others think not (more likely some search enginess do and some don’t).

Even if the search engine does actually check the URL for keywords, it is not very important exactly where in the URL they occur. Almost the same effect can be obtained by creating sub-domains incorporating your keywords i.e. or by using keywords in your directory and file names as I often do. For example:

A long domain name stuffed with keywords as search engine ‘fodder’ is most unattractive as your main domain and breaks all the rules for a good, memorable domain name.

This means it will only be useful used in conjunction with a doorway page. However, the majority of the major search enginess are placing increasing emphasis on link popularity in one form or another. As a result, I suspect that doorway pages will become less and less effective as a marketing tool (it’s hard to create good link popularity for many doorway pages on different domains).

In addition, many search engines’s are very unhappy with the massive amount of spam they have been receiving through the misuse of doorways. What is to say they won’t decide that all doorway pages are spam in the near future? Or continue further along the path of combining ‘human’ index data with their results to improve quality? So much for the $$$$ you just spent on ugly keyword-dense domain names!

If using keywords in the URL had a major effect on rankings (as opposed to a possible minor effect), it would already be a very popular technique even with short domains (just fewer keywords). This is not so. In addition, in a single keyword search, the site returned at the top of the search results would usually contain your search term in it’s domain name. As it is, this only happens occasionally.

There is no single ‘trick’, ‘secret’ or whatever to gaining good search engine ranking. It’s a complex process, taking many factors into consideration. In addition, search engines are modifying their algorithms so often at present, that what works today may no longer do so tomorrow.

Keyword rich domains may improve your rankings in some search engines, but not by much. The cost of buying a load of domain names would be money better spent on the services of a quality search engines specialist that charges based on results.

This is not to say the availability of longer domain names is of no importance. Previously you may not have been able to use your desired name because it was over 23 characters. Or you may wish to dedicate a domain to a particular product the name of which exceeds the old limit. You might even be able to think up some good ones for possible resale in the future at a substantial profit!

However, short and catchy domain names are better. They are far more memorable. They are easy to type directly into the browser, and there is less possibility of the user making a mistake when doing so. Just compare, or even, with!

Although it doesn’t hold up in the Amazon case (you don’t want to spend millions to be remembered!), you should also try and find a name that relates to the business you’re in, or your company name.

Oh, and don’t believe anyone that tells you there are no good short domains left. You just need to be more creative these days!

1999-2000 Azam Corry “Do it Better. Do it Faster. Do it Right!”

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