For many adult Internet marketers, branding, traffic generation and domain names go hand-in-hand — a walk down an ever-changing path, with many turns along the way. Keyword-rich domain names have long been valued for their positive impact on search marketing and the high quality traffic it delivers. Likewise, many catchy names (think Bing, Google or Yahoo) that readily lend themselves to serious branding efforts are prized for their ability to be memorable — and successfully trademarked.
In the first example, however, many spammy multiple keyword domains have been penalized with lower search rankings; while in the latter case, the availability of suitable “blockbuster” domain names that will withstand trademark registration may be scarce.
XBIZ recently took a look at the current status of domain names and their impact on branding, search marketing and traffic building.
According to Internet traffic specialist Brad Gosse, domain name choices have been becoming increasingly less important to most search engine rankings over time — but the fundamental benefits remain.
“It still pays to have your keyword in a domain name,” Gosse told XBIZ. “It’s also a huge benefit to use well-aged domains, but these factors are much less important than link popularity and social media links, etc.”
Beyond any search-engine marketing (SEM) benefits, other traffic-influencing factors can come into play in regards to domain name choices.
“Branding is obviously the big benefit to having a good domain,” Gosse explains. “And some people do still type their keyword and ‘.com’ into the search and URL bars.”
Overall, however, operators shouldn’t get too hung up on the value of having just the right domain name as a necessary ingredient in search marketing today.
“You can rank any domain for any word with the right external factors,” Gosse notes. “Age and keywords do help, but they make a small (perhaps 10 percent) difference in overall organic SEO.”
Having said this, few operators today would turn away any gain in search traffic.
According to ABCNamebank CEO Naseem Javed, author of “The World’s Largest Branding Revolution Starts January 2012,” (www.aarm.org), the next wave of domain name influenced brand building will soon come from the expected flood of new gTLDs — but he says that these efforts are best left to established, viable brands.
“ICANN’s new gTLD program of global cyber name identities is neither for diluted, conflicting nor dysfunctional names; nor for names that are unworthy of such expensive and exclusive undertakings,” Javed stated; underlining the problem of brand worthiness by noting that “… the fact remains that despite such heavy costs of customer acquisition, dysfunctional names still constitute the majority of business names on the web.”
Javed says that companies often mistakenly believe their brand “is the sole ‘powerful name identity’” associated with it, explaining that this misconception leads to confusing messages for consumers when other offers rank higher, making top search rankings vital.
“Saving split-seconds so potential customers don’t get distracted by hundreds of other options is the hidden secret of cyber name identity domination,” Javed explains, adding, “Search results will become clear indicators — shining stars and lost souls — creating a wider divide among winners and losers of the name identity game.”