domainings dead

Domaining’s dead. And so is the traffic to your websites, if you’ve been depending on keywords in the domain url for your SEO.**

It was shocking, but there were people and companies in the past that paid $17 million dollars for a domain name even though you and I can buy them for as little as $10. However, there was an SEO GREAT REASON for it. Google USED to care & give value for the keywords in your domain url.

I have a website called which I’ve had for close to 4 years. It was a horribly designed blog which had a lot of google adsense ads in it and I just didn’t have time to ever monetize it. I didn’t even SEO beyond the keyword value in the domain name which was enough for over 3 years.  It was getting about 100 visitors a day (mostly from India). It was ranking VERY HIGH for lots of keyword phrases as well related to “free phone.” However, I noticed recently it’s been dropping out of the sky for all those keywords. On top of that, a big client of mine started dropping as well for some keyword phrases that were in his domain name. He was a little worried about the significant ranking drops despite that fact that his year over year traffic was still great due to our SEO and he was getting lots of great traffic from all the other keywords we helped him optimized. However, we just found out that he’s no longer getting that keyword value from his domain name.

Matt Cutts also confirms this here. You heard/read it first here on the top Organic SEO Services Blog in the world: Seattle Organic SEO. We stay on top of this stuff so you don’t have to.

*Gotta give props for Pat Murcello for the link to Matt Cutts video
**Also, when trying to find a great picture for the post, I looked up “godaddy” in google images. You should check out the images. It makes godaddy look like almost a porn site. Are godaddy’s owners all about female exploitation? That’s probably another reason why they charge more than my old faithful Namecheap.

  • Brandon – Thanks for pointing out the Matt Cutts video. Google has made adjustments in terms of the weight they give to keywords in a domain. Brandable domain names like “digg” and “reddit” have appeal, especially when you have a decent marketing budget and you want to make a splash – or found a game-changing company. But for an everyday business, a domain name with keywords in it still has a lot of value. The reason is just as Matt Cutts cites: when you have keywords in your domain and people link to your site using the URL as the link text, it’s a significant SEO advantage versus a domain without keywords.

  • brandon

    Alexei – You’re very welcome. Yah, they used to give a LOT of value for the keywords…no more domaining now though.

  • brandon

    You raise some very valid and interesting points. Thank you.

    Please note that my “extreme” post to some degree is more just pointing out we can’t rely strictly on the keywords in the domain moving forward. This is what should of been the case at the beginning, but obviously, Google’s only been in business for about 11-12 years now. So, we shouldn’t blame them 100%.

    Great to see you the other day at the WordPress Camp even though it was short. Appreciate the read and hope you’re doing well in your business. Your group has been amazing and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a leader in our field. Cheers.

  • Hi Brandon,

    Thanks for the news and your case study. Sounds like it’s a part of Google’s efforts on purifying SERPs which only reinforced with the Panda update. But the experience of many webmasters is different and I’m doing my research regarding this.

    Thanks again and keep up posted on all the good stuff!


  • Brandon

    Thanks for this information I guess once Mr Cutts has said it it will become true!
    Do you think you will be in a strong position if you have the keywords in the URL and make sure you optimising well for those terms not just relying on URL strength. Or the URL will have no benefit at all?



  • Thanks for being so on top of these changes. There’s just so much info out there about blog and web site creation and development. It really helps to have a guide like you!

  • Hello and great info,
    I just started the web master thing so you know it’s quiet over whelming for me. Even before reading this I notice that a lot of sites were ranking high with domains that made no since at all. Guess I have much learning to do……Thanks

  • brandon

    @,Mark, @Alex, @Dave, @Crystal, and @Alterik – thanks all for your comments. I’ve been a bit delinquent in replying to comments on the blog.

    So, very valid points above. Like I had mentioned earlier, I was being a bit extreme with the original post. The value has not disappeared 100%, but the weight is nowhere where it used to be though and that was my point. My additional point was to NOT rely on the keywords in your domain for your SEO. There are too many other aspects to the algorithm to truly position yourself in the SERPs.

    This year has been an interesting year with the algorithm literally going through changes like a yo yo and so while the impact was felt significantly for sites we were monitoring at the time, it seems like for some reason Google has decided not to pull the entire weight they appeared to be pulling at the time because some of the sites have bounced back partially. They, however, have become MUCH more aware though that other aspects of SEO need to be focused on.

    So, I place an asterik *** now identifying that the weight’s still much less, but not entirely gone. Again, thanks for the great comments.