There are broadly two kinds of search engines: spider based
engines (like AltaVista, Google etc.) which go to a web site and
add the pages present in the web site to their databases, and the
directory based engines (like AOL, Netscape), which instead of
spidering sites, primarily take their results from a directory.
Spider based engines
For the spider based engines, my research shows that having
keywords in the domain names does not significantly boost your
rankings - it only gives you a *very small* advantage in some of
the engines. In order to get good rankings in the spider based
search engines, you still have to do all the other things that
are necessary to optimize a web site for the search engines -
simply having keywords in the domain name will not ensure that
you are automatically placed at the top. If you do a good job of
creating search engine friendly web sites, you can get excellent
rankings without having keywords in the domain name.
Directory based engines
Now, for the directory based engines, having a keyword rich
domain name helps because it allows you to include the keyword in
the Title of your listing in the directory. This improves your
chances of ranking highly in the directory based engines since
most of them give a lot of emphasis on whether the keyword is
present in the Title of the site's listing in the directory.
Single page domains
However, the mistake that most people make is to simply register
a keyword rich domain name, create a home page which also repeats
the keyword a number of times, and then add some links to their
primary domain. The reason that this doesn't work is that with
the spider based search engines becoming more theme based, they
are increasingly looking at all the pages in the site to
determine the site's ranking. A domain with a single page in it
can just not hope to rank highly in such engines. Also, no
directory is ever going to accept a domain which contains only a
single page, and whose primary function is to take people to
So, should you or should you not register additional keyword rich
domain names? You can, but only if you are prepared to spend the
time and money to create completely new web sites for these new
domains - i.e. these new domains should stand out as complete
sites in their own right - their primary function should not be
to take visitors to another domain. Also, you simply can't repeat
the content present in your primary domain in these domains -
all these domains should contain unique content. Otherwise, the
directory based engines will not accept these domains, and the
spider based search engines may penalize these domains for
Of course, if you are just starting an online business and
haven't yet registered any domains, you should, by all means,
register a keyword rich domain as your primary domain - since you
are registering a new domain anyway, you should take any
advantage that you can get.
Also, if you do register keyword rich domain names, you should
separate the individual words of the keyword by hyphens - this
helps the spider based engines recognize the individual words of
the keyword. However, since many people forget to type in the
hyphens when they are trying to directly go to a web site, you
should also register the domain without hyphens, and redirect
people from this domain to the domain containing hyphens.
Article by Sumantra Roy. Sumantra is one of the most respected and recognized search engine positioning specialists on the internet. Read more articles on search engine placement by going to 1stSearchRanking.com
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