Google’s John Mueller Cautions Against Keyword-Rich Domains
Keyword-rich domain names were once thought to be an effective way to increase a website’s visibility and improve search engine rankings.
However, there are several reasons why keyword-rich domain names can be detrimental to a website’s success.
In response to a thread on Reddit, Google Search Advocate John Mueller shares his opinion on domains with exact match keywords and why they might be a bad idea.
Mueller On Domains With Exact Match Keywords
In the r/SEO forum on Reddit, a user asks if it’s worth it to pay a hefty fee for a domain containing the exact keywords they want to rank for.
“I’m not a fan of keyword-keyword domains, but YMMV. Random thoughts:
everyone thinks you’re a spammer
changing business focus, or even expanding, is harder
you have no brand name, there’s nothing that people can search for which “obviously” should show your site. You’re always competing, you’re not building value with long-term users.”
Mueller doesn’t elaborate further, but I’ll do my best to interpret his thoughts in the following sections.
People might think that a website with a keyword-rich domain name is associated with spam.
This is because spammers often use keyword-rich domain names to manipulate search rankings and attract unsuspecting website visitors.
As a result, a website with a keyword-rich domain name may be viewed as untrustworthy and unprofessional, which can drive away potential customers.
2. Business Focus
A keyword-rich domain name can make it harder to change your business focus or expand your offerings.
For example, if a company with a domain name like “best-running-shoes.com” decides to start selling other athletic gear, it can be challenging to convince customers that the website is a trustworthy source for those products.
In contrast, a brand name domain like “Nike.com” allows the company to expand its offerings while maintaining its brand identity.
3. No Brand Name
A website with a keyword-rich domain name lacks a brand name, which acts as a unique identifier to help customers remember and distinguish a business from its competitors.
A website can be easily forgotten or confused with similar websites without a brand name, damaging its reputation and customer loyalty.
4. Nothing To Search For
A keyword-rich domain name means there’s no business name for people to search for.
When customers search for a business by name, they’re more likely to find and remember it than if they search for a generic keyword like “running shoes.”
This means that a website with a keyword-rich domain name may struggle to attract long-term customers looking for a specific business name.
5. Always Competing
A website with a keyword-rich domain name always competes with other websites with similar keywords.
In contrast, a website with a unique brand name can build a loyal customer base that returns to the website regardless of where it appears in search results.
While keyword-rich domain names may have once been seen as an effective way to increase a website’s visibility, they can harm its reputation and hinder its long-term success.
Building a solid brand identity with a unique domain name can be more effective for building customer loyalty and growing your business.
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