One of the best tactics that I implement when performing search engine optimization is finding a keyword rich domain name that has the business’ highly competitive keyword phrase in it.
Why are keyword rich domain names so powerful?
Time and time again, when we use this tactic, combined with great on-page optimization, sites I work on move to the top of the rankings for that keyword phrase. Pundits debate why this is the case; some pundits believe that you move up quickly in the search engine results pages (serps) because back links are typically created using your URL. When the URL has a keyword phrase in it, you begin to rank well. Others believe it is because Google uses the domain name as a ranking factor in the algorithm in addition to back links. Whatever the reason, it works.
SO, here are my recommendations regarding the use of a domain name as an SEO strategy.
Purchase two domain names, one keyword rich and one vanity or branded domain name. An example is www.travelandwords.com and www.travelwritersconference.com. In this scenario, the website is hosted under www.travelwritersconference.com, but for marketing purposes, www.travelandwords.com is used and 301 redirected back to www.travelwritersconference.com. The reason the site should be hosted with the keyword rich domain name is because any domain names that are 301 redirected transfer all the power of that domain to the one it is redirected to therefore all power is being built up around the domain name under which the site is being hosted.
There has been very little SEO work done to the Travel and Words conference website, but it is ranking number one for “Travel Writers Conference.”
Another example is my own website www.seotrainingnw.com. I am hovering between pages one and two for the term “SEO Training” and am in a strong number one position for “SEO Training Portland”. This is partially due to the domain name. I changed my domain name from www.sea-oregon.com to www.seotrainingnw.com using a 301 redirect and within a week or two I was bumped up from the bottom of page two to the top of page two.
Word of Caution: You WILL lose some of your rankings in the short run, but the long term benefits are substantial.