search engine optimization

Creating and Using Domain Names, Smartly – Affilicon Israel 2009

6 Comments 01 June 2009

Image by Denis Collette

Image by Denis Collette

I’m live blogging the presentation by Monty Cahn, Founder and President of Moniker.com, SnapNames.com and DomainSponsor.com. He is speaking about online branding, building traffic from domain names, and domain name registration.

SnapNames catches expired or dropped names. If you see a name that you want, you can put a reservation on it and be one of the first to get the name.

Moniker manages 3 million names worldwide. Moniker’s customers are investors in domain names (his customers own, on average, 100 names per person). Moniker also sells domain names through a third party so the seller doesn’t know who is buying. Vice-versa as well. Sells premium domain names as well. Hosts weekly show, Domain Masters on webmaster radio FM, about people who have successfully made money off of domain names sales.

Why Domains Matter:

177 million domain names registered worldwide. Continues to grow: 16% growth rate last year. Domain names are ranked by size: .com, .cn, .de, .net, .org, .uk, .info, .nl, .eu, and .biz.

The sales and aftersales of registered domain names continue to grow at 20% a year.

Why? Domain names are an asset – they are donated to charity, written off on taxes, sold and bought. Growth of social networking (everyone wants an unique identity), growth of broadband cable networks.

Direct navigation is one of the most important vehicles to drive traffic to your site.

Choosing a domain name:

Defensive Strategy: By registering a key word or name in an industry, you can block a competitor.

Offensive Strategy: look at most popular keyword searches associates with your product/service, category top keywords, mistyped brand and domain names. Tip – have friends/staff type the brand name 50 times on the computer and register any mistyped names.

Buy and redirect! Popular example: Books.com redirects to BarnesAndNobel.com. You can by new brands to redirect, rebrand your business, or create a sub-brand for your company.

SEO Impact: if you have a top-ranked site in Google, competitors have to spend a lot of money on ads to get the same traffic.

When register a domain name – register for at least 3 years. Google will look at your registration and how long you are invested in the name. Renew for multiple years for higher SEO. Alternatively, buy a domain name that has been registered in the past with an older registration date. An old name will offer instant advantages in terms of page ranking, traffic, inbound links, etc. Look up at archive.org to find out if a domain name has been used in the past. The stronger and more relevant the keywords, the higher the page rank you will get.

Make sure the domain name is not blacklisted with Google! How to find out: look at archive.org to see if there is bad content from the past. You can look at previous page ranks through the Google Pagerank bar. Also, check Yahoo, MSN and other search engines.

The big winner in a “tie breaker” between you and a competitor are the keywords in your domain name. Think about two word domain names that are “long tail” names that drive traffic, such as LookYounger.com for directed and qualified traffic. Long tail names convert views to customers at higher rate than others.

What is the value in registering another extension? #1 extension is .com,  and most people will search for that extension first, unless coming from a country of origin such as Germany or UK. If you are doing business outside of the US, buy those country’s domain extensions as both offensive and defensive strategies.

Never launch a brand with a dash in the middle (e.g. books-local.com). However, for search engines MSN and Yahoo, the dash does increase SEO ranking.

Use fun, humor and interactivity to generate “free” viral traffic. Buy the domain name that is associated with your viral campaign. Example: mytalkingstain.com (Tide-to-go stain remover).

How to acquire a domain name? If not available, look at online auctions (keywords that are coming up for $60 for sale, etc), live domain auctions, online listing services, expired and deleted domain services, private brokerage and stealth acquisitions.

Remember: cover your brands whenever and wherever possible: Misspelling, word and phrase variations, singular and plural, foreign languages (you may want the variation of the word in another language where you have a lot of customers), dashes/hyphens for search relevance, register various extensions.

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  • Unfortunately, sometimes those harmless-looking, perfectly-named domains may have a checkered past. Before picking up a domain name that may be banned or blocked due to previously delivering malware, trojans, or porn, you need to do a background check.

    There is a free Domain Background Check cheat sheet at http://siteriver.com/domaintest.php – just enter the domain name you are researching and over a dozen links are created to domain check, anti-malware, and other tools. You can quickly check if your domain name is ready for business or is still on parole.

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Phillip- thanks so much for the fantastic link and information. I checked out siteriver.com/domaintest.php. It’s a very useful site for anyone curious about a domain, or looking into the domain’s history. Thanks for stopping by and letting us know!

    [Reply]

  • Unfortunately, sometimes those harmless-looking, perfectly-named domains may have a checkered past. Before picking up a domain name that may be banned or blocked due to previously delivering malware, trojans, or porn, you need to do a background check.

    There is a free Domain Background Check cheat sheet at http://siteriver.com/domaintest.php – just enter the domain name you are researching and over a dozen links are created to domain check, anti-malware, and other tools. You can quickly check if your domain name is ready for business or is still on parole.

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Phillip- thanks so much for the fantastic link and information. I checked out siteriver.com/domaintest.php. It’s a very useful site for anyone curious about a domain, or looking into the domain’s history. Thanks for stopping by and letting us know!

    [Reply]

  • I would also like to extend thanks to Philip. I am writing a newsletter and was looking for a information like this. Checking domain history becomes important everytime someone buys a new domain name.

    [Reply]

  • I would also like to extend thanks to Philip. I am writing a newsletter and was looking for a information like this. Checking domain history becomes important everytime someone buys a new domain name.

    [Reply]

About

Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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