How To Automatically Score Better on Search Engines

    July 26, 2004

The debate has loomed now for years: Does it matter whether you use your best keywords in your domain name or not?

The answer: If you want to automatically score better on Google you will.

Now, before you take me to task and tell me Google doesn’t care what your domain name is, let me explain.

Google may not care what your domain name is, but it DOES seem to care a great deal about the text in the links others use to link to your site. (That’s the underlined words in blue.)

Case in point: “waffles”

When you go to Google and you type in “waffles” as a search term, an interesting thing happens: John Kerry’s website comes up 3rd (as of today-it used to come up first.)

Why is Senator Kerry’s site coming up here? Simple: Not long ago thousands of sites linked to his site using the word “waffles” as part of a “blog bomb.”

They all used the word “waffles” in the link text.

How does this apply to your domain name?

Let’s say you want to sell Genuine Dominican Widgets. (After all, the Dominican Republic is really known for two things: Great baseball players and great widgets.) The most searched for phrase-the one you want to target-is “cheap Dominican widgets”.

Your best domain name would be: “”

Most other websites when linking to your site will use your domain name in the link text, giving you an instant keyword “lift.” While this is only one part of the equation, over time it can become an important part as more and more sites link to yours.

Next question: Do I need hyphens?

I recently heard an expert saying “no”, citing the way Google seems to notice keywords in a domain name link even without the hyphens. Based on some recent experience I disagree.

Let me show you why:

If you search the following terms, you will see wildly different results…

Build E commerce web site

Build Ecommerce web site

Build Ecommerce website

Build E commerce website

Now, all four of those are very similar search phrases, yet each one gives different results. If you want to make sure you target a particular one, you will need to make sure you let the search engines know where the “breaks” are in your keywords.

Getting ready to build a site? Taking a few minutes to target keywords with your domain name may pay off with big dividends in the long run.

Kevin Bidwell is owner of

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