Many companies have no problem investing capital and resources into product development, management, infrastructure and staffing etc., but very few have the knowledge and understanding of the power of keyword domains and just how important harnessing the power of those domains can be to their overall marketing strategy.
Why Are Domains So Important?
There are many reasons why domain names are important. They can impact the amount of traffic you receive to your website. They play a major role in where your websites rank in search engines. They affect the consumer’s perception of your brand.
Savvy investors were quick to snatch up all the one word, category defining domain names and bluechip corporates have paid huge sums of money to acquire the best domain names for their industries. For example, Motorcyles.com is owned by Honda, Insurance.co.uk is owned by Lloyds TSB Insurance Services, Holidays.co.uk is owned by FirstChoice, and ASAP Ventures Ltd (an online car rental company) paid £150,000 for Recycle.co.uk.
While almost everyone can see the value in owning a one word, generic domain name, most people do not realise that two word and three word keyword domain names can be just as effective. In fact, these “long tail keywords” can be even more effective because they are more specific and more targeted and many companies don’t realise these domain names can be acquired for very reasonable prices. They are sitting there, ripe for the picking. But it’s just a matter of time before their competitors come along and pick the vines clean!
Benefits of Keyword Domain Names
Acquiring exact-match keyword domain names provide many benefits. First of all, they can capture pre-qualified, targeted leads without any SEO and without any web rankings. A lot of people still type their search terms directly into their browser, and a percentage of those people will type their search with a .com or .co.uk into their browser.
For example, rather than going to Google and searching for “restaurants in London” a certain number of people will simply type in restaurantsinlondon.co.uk into their browser first, to see what’s there.
The restaurant owner who had enough foresight to buy that domain name reaps the benefits, while all the other restaurant owners in London can only hope to show up in the search rankings.
A second key benefit of keyword domain names is increasing organic search traffic. One of the many factors in the algorithms of the main search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing is the domain name itself.
Exact-match keyword domain names are considered to be the most relevant, and as a result, websites with keyword domains tend to rank higher than websites without keyword domains for exact match searches. In fact, the Search Engine Ranking Factors report for 2009 (an annual survey of experts in the SEO field) ranked keyword use in the root domain name as the third highest ranking factor for on-page optimization.
A third key benefit of keyword domain names is increasing click through rates. People are more likely to click on your website if they see a keyword domain in the URL when compared to other URL’s that show up in the search results.
Even if you are buying CPC ads from companies such as Google Adwords, more people will click on your ad links if they see a keyword domain for the URL.
A UK company called Memorable Domains recently conducted a study which showed that when used for pay-per-click advertising, use of a generic keyword domain over a non-generic, non-keyword domain increased the number of ad impressions and raised the click-through-rate of ads by as much as 42%.
Because keyword domains can effectively lower the long-term costs of marketing while simultaneously improving the net results, acquiring domains for those keywords for which you are already paying to rank for in search engines, or to advertise for on pay-per-click programs can save you a lot of money.
A fourth key benefit of keyword domain names is building brand recognition. Consumers naturally associate generic keyword domains with market leadership. For example, if a consumer looks for Service nd Location and they find your website
(eg. propertyinoxford.com or chesterlawyers.co.uk), they assume you are the market leader for that service in your location. It gives you instant credibility.
What’s Wrong With Your Current Domain?
Now that we have covered the many benefits of keyword domains, let’s take a look at the flip-side. Many businesses make the huge mistake early on of buying ONLY their company name as their domain name.
For example, they buy a domain such as SmithandWatson.co.uk. This is especially true with law firms. First of all, you SHOULD own the domain name that matches your company. The problem is many businesses stop there. If someone knows about your business and searches for “Smith and Watson” you will be fine, but what about all the potential customers who don’t know about your business? They will never find you! You need additional domains to cover all the bases.
You should own the location + service domains for all of your products and services for each geographical region you serve. By doing so, not only will you reap the benefits, but you will also block your competitors from achieving the same thing.
How Much Are Keyword Domains Worth?
To answer that question, let’s put it in perspective. How much is a lead in your business worth? Let’s say you are a lawyer. One new client might earn you £3000. He may become a repeat client. He may refer other people to you. That one lead could be worth a small fortune to you. Wouldn’t you pay £1000 or more to own the domain that brought that pre-qualified, targeted customer to you? Of course you would.
Many companies have no problem throwing thousands of pounds into billboard ads, magazine ads, newspaper ads, television commercials, and radio advertisements. That is fine, but there is one big problem with all of that. People can’t click on a billboard ad, magazine ad, newspaper ad, TV commercial, or radio ads. That is why the internet will always be the king of marketing.
When it comes down to it you really have no idea how many customers traditional forms of advertising bring in. Savvy businesses are starting to take out a chunk of their advertising budget from traditional marketing methods and invest that money into generic keyword domain names.
Generic keyword domains have many benefits and can be a much more cost effective way of acquiring pre-qualified leads for your business than traditional marketing practices. While you take advantage of those benefits you can also prevent your competitors from gaining leverage on you by acquiring the domains for themselves. Generic keyword domains are like virtual real estate, and you can own all the best properties and create a monopoly. While you capture targeted leads your competitors will be left out in the cold.