In the past, Google has given preference to domain names that contain relevant keywords, so these keyword rich domains were gobbled up faster than branded domains. In the wake of the Panda and Penguin updates, though, some experts are questioning if the keyword rich domains are going to find themselves on the wrong side of the algorithm. What should you know if you either have such a domain name or are considering one for your website or business?
On Business2Community, Nick Stamoulis writes that Google’s “next logical step would be an algorithm update that targets keyword rich domains.” Why? It is possible that, in the effort to return higher quality results, Google will begin to weed out those domains that appear spammy. Let’s say there is a site called “buycheapt-shirtshere.com.” It doesn’t happen to contain a keyword; that’s its sole purpose. It is not branded in any way, and the theory is that sites like this are usually content thin because they are microsites, or offshoots of a main site.
If you use a keyword rich site, don’t panic! Make sure, though, that you use any other opportunity you have to provide relevant, high-quality information to searchers. For instance, informative descriptions and title tags will be vital. If you do not have any branding within your domain name, it is important that this fit naturally into the metadata.
New or existing, if you use keywords in your domain, make sure that your content is relevant and interesting to the reader. Google is combing through content with an eye towards providing the best answers for searchers; do not over-optimise in terms of keywords within the rest of your site. It’s not that Google will target your URL; but it will penalise your site if it is too heavily peppered with keywords, which, to Google, equals spam.
If you opt to use a keyword rich domain name, make sure that you are using it to add value and convenience to potential users.