NOTE: This is Part 3 of a series of articles on Dynamite Domains
People choosing the wrong domain name for their website is one of the biggest mistakes I see people making online, and it's usually due to little or no SEO consideration when they're looking to choose a domain name. They register a domain name that works against them (rather than getting a domain name that works for them) which results in low rankings, little or no traffic and, of course, unrealized profit potential. If only they'd chosen the right domain name in the first place.
In this article, we're going to put a little more meat on the bone, and we're going to look at other SEO factors you should consider when choosing a domain name and they are:
- Google page rank
- Age of domain
- History of domain
- DMOZ and Yahoo listings
We'll look at how these relate to new domain names and to what we call aged domain names.
New and Aged Domains
Just to clarify, New domain names are unregistered domain names that are available for registration at almost any registrar, whereas an aged domain name is a domain name that's already been registered and therefore it’s possible that it’s gained age and sometimes other SEO attributes.
One of the most important SEO factors for domains is backlinks. A backlink is a link on another website that points to your site, and search engines see back links as a vote, if you like, and can reward your website depending on a number of factors.
For example, a link from a very old, well respected and authoritative website like CNN.com, for instance, would be worth a lot more than a link from a smaller, one page website that was setup just last month.
The relevance to the niche you're targeting and the site you're linked from also plays a part. For example, if you were targeting the car hire niche, and you were linked from two sites that had exactly the same authority level yet one site was about cars and the other one was about kittens, although there would be some credit for the kitten link, the one about cars would carry much more weight.
The more of these high-quality, relevant back links a domain has, the more SEO value it will carry.
When you register a new domain, you'll start off with no backlinks. So, you'll have to start investigating various backlinking campaigns to try and help get you site ranking.
If, however, you're able to find an aged domain name with a good amount of established backlinks then you will be in a very fortunate position, because building good quality back links can take a huge amount of skill, time, effort and, of course, money.
Another important SEO factor is Google Page Rank (also known as PR). Google has an algorithm that's able to detect the quality and the quantity of backlinks to each page on your website and, along with other factors, will award each page of your website a page rank value (this “rank” value ranges from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest rank). So, CNN.com, for example, has a page rank of 10, and a brand new website will usually start unranked or with a page rank of 0.
These rankings are calculated approximately to the power of ten, so a page rank 3 is ten times more powerful than a page rank 2 and so on. So, if you get higher ranking, even by one rank, it means quite a lot. The actual domain name itself will carry the page rank of the homepage (which is usually the highest ranking page on the website anyhow).
A new domain name initially has no page rank. This will increase over time as you acquire both backlinks and content for the site. If you're able to find an aged domain name with a good page rank then, again, you'll have a great advantage, because to build a high page rank can take more time, effort and, in most cases, money.
The age of a domain name is also an important factor and is determined from the date the domain was registered. So, if you own a domain that was registered in 2006, for example, it will be four years old and the older the domain name, the better as Google tends to show more trust towards older domain names than brand new ones.
New domain names require the currency of time to gain age, so if you can acquire a good aged domain name this will obviously save you this time.
More important than age, though, is the history of a domain. If a domain name has ever had a website on it that contained content relevant to the niche you're targeting then, if all of the factors were the same, this would carry more SEO value than a domain without relevant history.
Again, if you manage to find a domain that has a good relevant history, it puts you in a very advantageous position. Conversely, a bad history can be a disadvantage (for example, if the domain was involved in a non-relevant industry), in which case a new keyword optimized domain is probably a better option.
Again, new domain names need time to gain history, so if you can get your hands on an aged domain name with a relevant history then this gets the thumbs up.
Directory Listings (DMOZ and Yahoo)
Another important SEO factor is DMOZ and Yahoo listings. DMOZ and Yahoo are organizations with high authority website directories. It's never been more difficult to get accepted by DMOZ, and Yahoo costs about $300 a year to maintain a listing so, because of the process to gain entry in their high quality levels, Google gives added weight to sites that have listings in their directories.
A new domain name will need to go through the process to get listed, whereas if you're looking to shortcut this process by getting your hands on an aged domain name that's already listed then, again, you will be saving time, money and effort.
If we're going to compare domain names to plots of land then I'd compare Google to a map, because it's a way for people to find you. So, it's important that you get on Google's map, which is otherwise known as their Index.
Indexing basically means getting the search engines to notice that your new website is here, and getting them to include you in their database, so you show up in the searches. If your site isn’t indexed then it can't rank in the search engines for your target keywords.
Also, the more indexed pages a website has, the more SEO weight it will have with the search engines.
Getting new domain names in that index can take several weeks or longer. However, some aged domain names can be bought which already have pages indexed by the search engines. So, if you can get one of these, this will save you more time.
As we're seeing, domain names can come with readymade SEO attributes. So, choosing the right domain name is the essential foundation for your SEO campaign and should come with the necessary consideration it deserves in order to save you time, money and effort in the long run.