• Episode  52
  • Derek Gehl


Keyword rich domains or brand domains? Learn whether or not you should choose a keyword rich domain or a brand domain for your next website and digital business in this episode of #AskDerek.

Transcript of: Keyword Rich Domains VS Brand Domains

Hi there, Derek Gehl here and welcome to another edition of the Project Ignite Podcast, Video Edition.  Video Edition meaning that if you’re listening to this on iTunes or Soundcloud, you can also watch on our website or on YouTube and you will get to see my smiling face! Alternatively, if you’re watching this video on YouTube you can also listen to it as a podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud.  Just head over to iTunes and search for Project Ignite or Derek Gehl and you’ll find me.

Today I’m going to answer a pretty quick question, one I get all the time.  Probably one of the first questions people ask when they want to go out and register a domain name is:

“Do I want to have a domain name that has my my primary keyword in it, or do I want a brand domain that is catchy and memorable?”

The answer is…BOTH! (If you can).

More than likely that’s not going to happen though, so let’s start with keyword rich domains and talk about those for a moment.  One of the ranking factors Google looks at with their algorithm is keywords in the domain name (AKA keyword rich domains).  So do keyword rich domains impact how you rank?  Yes, they do.  If you have a keyword that you want to rank for, for example a dog training website, and you can get that keyword domain (eg. dogtraining.com) then absolutely you would want that URL.

But the fact of the matter is that keyword domains like dog training are few and far in between these days so you’re typically looking at longer tail keywords like howtotrainadogtosit.com.  Do people search this?  Yes.  Is it memorable?  No.

This is where we get into brand domains vs. keyword domains.  Here’s where I sit on this – if we go back about 3 years, Matt Cutts from Google said that keyword rich domains don’t have an impact anymore because they took the power away from what they called exact match domains (domains that were an exact match to a keyword).  And they did do that. I had some exact match domains and I saw that those did drop as they had been riding purely on being exact match.

Having your keyword in your domain is still valuable to help rank better in Google, but not at the cost of having keyword rich domains that are not memorable.  So if I had to choose between having a domain name that is long and convoluted and has my keywords but that is hard to remember and that people won’t be able to type versus creating a memorable brand domain, I will choose memorable.  If I can have a keyword and memorable domain I’ll take it, but I’m going to go for brand domains first. I want something memorable if I’m creating something for the long term – keyword comes second.

The fact is, Google has over 200 different factors they look at in their algorithm and having a keyword rich domain name is just one of them.  So if you don’t have that keyword in your domain name, can you still rank for that keyword?  Absolutely!
Keyword Rich Domains
You definitely can, the keyword just gives it a slightly extra boost.  And keep in mind, your root domain is only one page on your website. You’re going to have all of the sub-pages that can then have whatever keywords you want on them that you’re optimizing those individual pages for.

So, the answer to the question “Do I need to register keyword rich domains, or something memorable?”  is… Focus on something memorable that creates a brand and resonates with your audience first.  If you can find something that has a keyword in it, that’s great. If you can get an exact match, two word domain name that says what you do, by all means grab it but those are few and far in between, unless you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars.There you go.  When you’re looking for the domain name for your business, focus on something short, easy to type and memorable – good brand domains.  And if you can get a keyword in there – great.  If you can’t, it’s not a big deal because all of the other things you’re going to do are going to get it to rank for that keyword anyways.

Keyword Rich Domains VS Brand Domains
I hope we’ve clarified that.  This is another episode of #AskDerek Project Ignite Podcast.  If you like what you hear on YouTube, give us a thumbs up and leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you.  If you’re on iTunes, leave us a rating and review – that’s the fuel that gives me the motivation and momentum to continue to create these videos for you guys to help you create more success on the internet.

See you in the next episode!

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  1. Hi Derek great video and solid advice, what I find helps with most of my clients is getting the main keywords in the domain, but if the brand is fairly unique placing this in the main title tag works wonders and gives a client two bites at the cherry. A good example is a company I worked with called ” Dewhurst Agri” who sell used JCB, the domain also has used JCB For Sale in the domain.
    Keep up the good work.

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