For those that don’t know, expired domains go to “expired auction” on the 35th day after they expired. The total number of domains at auction today were about half the usual number, for the simple reason that all the expired auctions today were originally registered 35 days ago on Christmas, when obviously there are more people thinking about gifts, Santa, eggnog and turkey than domains! As such, today’s list is rather weak. As while as usual there are some good ones, I really had to go deep into the list and maybe clicked on a few that usually would not have made the list. A good day to take a holiday from domains. “Expired Christmas”? lol
The shorter list allowed my to ramble on a bit. There was a forum discussion earlier asking about the SEO benefits of a keyword domain versus a brandable domain .. effectively leading to the real question …
“Does your domain matter when it comes to SEO?
Keep in mind I am no SEO expert .. but my take on this is that the answer is initially no … but actually indirectly a big yes. Here’s why …
I think we can all agree that the direct “score” Google DIRECTLY gives a site because of it’s URL has been vastly decreased if not completely eliminated. With the primary focus shifting evermore to actual content.
HOWEVER … there are most certainly other measured metrics that are still very much a part of your search rank that indeed are directly influenced by your domain name.
Most notably click-through rate .. meaning that if (from the search results page) people click to your site more often than other sites, you will score more than other websites in that component of your search ranking. This is where a good keyword domain can distinguish itself from a made up brand (Or a great brandable can out perform a bad one). Effectively let’s say you were selling utensils and your URL was Forks.com .. then even if you were new and started with a lower ranking, people would still be much more likely to click through to your website than another website called SpikeyThings.com (even if that site was listed above yours) … then just by the very fact people click through more to you, Google will then give you search rank points .. theoretically not because of your URL .. but because of the human response to your URL (effectively Google sees click-through as a measurement of trust and authority) …
So in the end your URL did not initially matter at all to Google .. but your domain very much matters to people searching for the term .. and thus in the end .. Google most definitely cares about and measures the human response to your URL (via click-through rate and possibly other metrics). So you most certainly do get bonus points indirectly due to the quality and precision of your URL, simply because people will be significantly more likely to click to a website with the URL “Forks.com” rather than “SpikeyThings.com”.
This quite obviously goes much further than Keyword vs Brandable .. as it really is about trust, authenticity and pre-qualification. Essentially what ultimately matters is that your domain inspires human searches to click to your search result more than the results above you. There are plenty of reasons for that, among them, many reasons that people imply from looking at your domain name. Ultimately your domain should inspire trust and the impression of authority on the subject of search (or at least more than your search competition).
So yes, ultimately an on topic keyword will get preferential treatment over an off-topic keyword. As will a great brandable likely get preferential treatment over a not so great one. For keywords it’s fairly simple and straight forward … but when it comes to brandables, that’s where domaining can become more of an art than science. But that’s a subject for another day … lol.
That being said .. even if you had “Forks.com”, if your site sucks or has no content, that would lead to people bouncing back to the search results page to find a better site, which Google would easily see and measure, which would in turn kill your search rank .. so while your domain name most definitely is indirectly very much part of the equation, content ultimately is a very crucial factor.
Hope that all made sense .. Happy Expiration Christmas to all! 🙂
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