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Choosing Domains for Search Engine Placement

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Dear Ross: What is your perspective on the search engine placement advantage conferred by a domain name that’s identical to the main search phrase for a site?

In other words, would the domain CarSales.com provide a significant advantage to a site built there for searches on the phrase “car sales”? And if so, how does that advantage compare to the advantage that would be conferred by the domains Car-Sales.com and CarSales.net?

Thanks in advance,

Jon S.

Hello Jon,

My experience with keyword oriented domain names has been extremely positive. Even the long and verbose hyphenated domains seem to perform well on the search engines. Just how much it makes a difference is debatable. I have found that a keyword targeted domain can add as much as a 5% advantage (off-the-cuff estimate) within a promotion. In other words in competitive situations it might be all that stands between edging out your competition to that next higher placement. All that I know is that it provides a little more ammunition during a promotion and that is always a welcome situation.

Now before choosing your domain name there is an important question to consider: do you want your viewers to remember your address? In most cases companies need to purchase a domain that is easy to remember so that their return visitors remember it and type it directly into their address bar. If you are concerned about this then you should pick a domain that is relatively short but concise… if you can find an available one. The ‘carsales.com’ is a great example and can add some relevance to your site. But an even better option is hyphenating the domain, if you don’t think it will effect the branding power. By adding a hyphen you are effectively isolating each keyword which appears to have better results on placements.

Should you not care about domain branding (making it memorable), you have relatively free reign over the length and targeting of the domain. In this case hyphenation is by far the best option since it seems to have better chances of success.

Happy placements!
- Ross Dunn

Ross Dunn is the CEO and founder of StepForth Search Engine Placement Inc., an SEO firm that has been providing expert services since 1997. Rosss considerable experience in the world of search has made him a respected writer for countless publications and an SEO consultant for small business and Fortune 500 web properties.

Choosing Domains for Search Engine Placement
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About Ross Dunn
Ross Dunn is the CEO and founder of StepForth Web Marketing Inc, a web marketing company founded in 1997 and based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Ross Dunn is a Certified Internet Marketing and Business Strategist (CIMBS) with a background in web design and online marketing. His broad Internet experience in combination with a talented staff has made StepForth a name synonymous with top results. WebProNews Writer
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