Domain Names and Anchor Text
© Aaron Wall
Branding vs Naming
Many people say that the name of a website
should be original. It should convey some
sense of branding unlike any other site. They say your name should not be generic.
The truth of this matter is that branding is more developed by how you interact with
people than by what your name is. Your name can be used to help develop brand, but many
smart webmasters use their domain name for more than just branding.
People take the branding idea one step further and rattle off some of the best
technological leaders. Amazon, Google, Yahoo!, Ebay, etc. None of these sites say what
they do in their site name.
Google is so powerful because it is the only Google. It was a wide open market. Yahoo!
became Yahoo! because there was no great well marketed directory on the web. Ebay became
Ebay because nobody else had a PEZ trading marketplace. (Ebay is yet one more great thing
we all owe to PEZ).
Most successful businesses or websites will not be like Google. Most will not be a
runaway technological success. Most businesses become successful from soft innovations.
Small focused consumer centric changes can help you craft a successful business model.
For every Yahoo! or Google on the market there are 1,000 Door Hangers.com or Cheese.com
websites which are doing just fine "bringing in the cheese."
Anchor text is extremely important to search engines. What a link says is as important
as who is saying it. When I link to your site with the words "I eat cats" as the
link text a search engine will evaluate that link and assume you eat cats.
You can't control all the links you get (meow), but you can help control some of them.
People often link to you using the words in your
as the link text (also known
as anchor text.) If your domain name has your primary keywords in it then you have an
extremely powerful business advantage over your competitors.
Using Dashes in Domain Names
Most of the benefit of dashes in the domain name have eroded in the last year or two.
Domain names themselves have been greatly devalued in search engine algorithms, and most
links use the site name vice the domain name as the anchor text.
I am of the opinion that you usually can pick out a keyword rich domain name without
needing dashes. It may take a bit of creativity and a bit of time, but it is possible. If
you are aiming to sell products vice become a consultant you may be able to do well making
a living from search engine traffic and not need as strong of a branded name behind your
Brandable Generic Domain Names
Sometimes they do still exist!
I wanted to write an ebook about SEO. Less than a year ago the domain name SEObook.com
was still available. It will not always be that easy to find a domain name, but if you
think hard enough you should be able to find a brandable domain name which is also keyword
High quality directories usually prefer to list sites by their name vice "insert
keyword phrase here."
Having a domain name like mine makes it very easy for me to get inbound links with
"SEO Book" or "Search Engine Optimization Book" as the link text. This
allows me to rank better for those search phrases, and eventually it will allow me to rank
good for "SEO" and "search engine optimization."
Creativity in Domain Naming
If the domain name with your keywords is already taken you still have many other
options. If my domain name was taken odds are I could have still got a domain name like
seo-ebook-book.biz, but that seems a bit too generic and lacks the creativity to keep it
somewhat brandable while still making it keyword rich.
Usually you can add other words around the main words in your domain name to keep the
keyword rich words in there without making it overly long. TheSEObook.com is one example
of an alternate domain I could have used. I could also try synonyms. I just looked and
SEOreport.com was gone. My next guess for a name was SEOsecrets.com, and it was still
available. There are
a ton of good domain names still on the market .
Domain Name Summary
Search engines such as Google heavily weight link text in their relevancy algorithms.
Soft innovations drive most successful businesses. It is highly unlikely that my business
or your business is going to be the next Google. Often times keyword rich domain names are
available which will give you a considerable competitive advantage over your competition.
About the Author
Aaron Wall is the author of
The SEOBook, possibly the
best search engine optimization ebook on the planet.
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