Traditionally, web site owners try to incorporate most if not all desired keywords on the domain name. Of course if you’re a little late in the party, your choices would be severely diminished. There are many considerations in choosing a domain name, for example, some experts advised that if you have double- or triple-worded domain, you should put hyphens between them to help search engine bots better understand your domain name, instead of treating it as a strange amalgamated keyword. However, today’s search engines are backed by powerful algorithms, which can take apart squeezed-together keywords.
At October 2007, Google did something that was quite a surprise for many website owners. The Internet ‘deity’ gave many websites the infamous Google Slap, as a sign of disapproval on the way many web sites operated. It didn’t only affect Internet marketing websites; it also targeted sites that sold links, however, only very few Internet marketing websites that survived the slaughter unscathed.
It was quite clear that Google sent a strong message to the Internet community that it was fed up with the ways these sites proliferated, many of which were just single-page websites that added no real value to the Internet other than publishing largely duplicitous contents.
So what is the correlation between this event with whether you should use your main keywords in your domain name? Everything in fact! Google has established complicated algorithmic filters to curb sites that concentrate heavily on certain competitive keywords and use duplicated material.
The following is an example how the Google’s keyword-suppressor filter can be detrimental to websites with domain that incorporate main keywords. Let’s consider two new webmaster owners, let’s call them John and Mike, who are developing sites about different topics. John is very excited about making a large amount of profit from online marketing and decides to buy a domain called successful-internet-marketing-ideas.com. However, Mike is really into toads and frogs. He is fascinated with a little-known species called Eritrea Clawed Frog or Peracca’s Clawed Frog (Xenopus clivii), and consequently names his new website eritrea-clawed-frog.com.
Unfortunately, like many new website owners, John makes two glaring mistakes
- He ignorantly dives into a very competitive and oversaturated area, there are nearly 100 millions webpages in the Internet that contain these keywords.
- He incorporates “internet marketing” keywords into the domain name, although he also uses two other words (successful and ideas). Using two very popular keywords will likely trigger the activation of Google’s keyword suppressor filter. Without doubt, his website will languish in a search engine limbo for very long time, which is often called as Google Sandbox.
In a nutshell, John needs to have tons of unique contents and natural buildup of quality backlinks to prove that he is worthy of inclusion in the first page of Google search result for ‘successful internet marketing ideas’ keywords.
So what of Mike and his band of toads? His site that discusses about Eritrea Clawed Toad may actually fare a little better. There are less than 5000 web pages that mention this species. 5000 may seem like a lot of web pages, but in the realm of Internet, it is actually a very small number, as many other keywords are mentioned by more than one million of webpages. There is obviously one huge drawback, there could be less than 50 people who search the Internet for this species in a month, hardly enough to cover the annual domain and web hosting fees, in addition, he needs to compete with two very strong players in biological classification field, Wikipedia and iNaturalist.
Without doubt, if Mike can provide fresh and unique content, such as field observation of the species, and; personally-taken images and videos, Google will definitely put his site relatively quickly in the first page.
Although John may have a hard time to escape the Sandbox and compete with millions of other websites, it doesn’t mean that you must avoid this area completely. You may have a better chance by using unrelated keyword for the domain name, to avoid the activation of keyword suppressor filter. This is a favored path used by many online marketers when working in highly competitive areas. On the other hand, in 5 or 10 years there could be more interest on the Eritrea Clawed Toad, so Mike could finally make a slight profit for his efforts!
So, should you use your keywords in the domain name? It isn’t a good idea if the industry that you’re aiming for is heavily saturated. Obviously, you can still do this on topics, or on the Mike’s case, species that no one knows exists. It’s hard to tell about the limit where you no longer should use keywords on the domain, but if the keywords are used by more than one million pages in the Internet and the competition appears to be fierce in the first few pages of the search result, you may need to exclude your targeted keywords on the domain name.