(September 1, 2009) I’m seeing a disturbing trend lately of affiliates buying crazy ugly domain names, just because they’re keyword stuffed or match the phrase they are targeting. Things like internet-online-XXXXX-poker-rakeback.com etc, where XXXXX is the poker room name.
Domain names these days don’t hold the same weight in search engines as they used to. There are many SEO gurus that feel they don’t matter at all, as long as you do good search engine optimization for the phrases that you are targeting. Honestly in tests I have conducted I find that the domain name still helps, but not anywhere near as much as it used to years ago.
The fact is that the domain name doesn’t make the site – it’s the other way round. Sure a good, keyword matching domain would be nice and really lets the visitor know what the site is about from the get-go, but it’s not critical to success or anything.
Before poker rooms like Party Poker or Full Tilt Poker were born, what if I told you to register those domains? Pretend Full Tilt Poker never existed. Is FullTiltPoker.com a valuable domain then? No, of course not – but it’s the product that makes their domain and website so valuable. Think about some of the bigger affiliate sites. 10 years ago, would you pay more than $100 for a PokerListings.com or a PocketFives.com?
Of course not. The domain names aren’t valuable – it’s the website that was put on that domain, the content etc that made the domain and brand name valuable.
Exact match keyword domains may be okay for mini sites, but when you create your next big site, think of it five years in the future. Try and think of it as being a huge poker brand, something that will be the “go to” site for poker players for whatever content it is that you serve. Would you rather have a PokerNations.com or a Poker-Social-Networking-Site.org?
A domain name isn’t everything. If anything, it’s one of the least important factors when building a successful website.