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Is there Any Power in Keyword Domains in Terms of Ranking?

Keyword-rich domain names are valuable for a variety of reasons, including the long-held belief that they may be useful for ranking purposes directly or indirectly.

Choosing a domain name is a vital stage in the process of starting a website, so it’s crucial to get it properly.

A domain name can be classified into one of three categories:

  • Domain with the keyword.
  • Keyword domain + word.
  • Domain name for a brand.

It’s debatable which method is the most effective. What is undeniable is that learning about a topic before making a decision is beneficial.

Keyword Domains

A keyword domain contains keywords. Widgets.com is a good example.

Using a domain name that includes the keywords might give the impression of authority.

For whatever reason, some businesses own generic domain names and route them to their websites.

Coffee.com, for example, takes you to Peet’s Coffee, an artisanal coffee roasting company. This makes it simple for people to find poets.

However, the disadvantage of generic keyword domains is that “all of the excellent ones” are already taken and will be prohibitively expensive to obtain from a domainer.

There’s also some background on generic keyword domains on the internet.

There was a time when internet users simply put the keywords for a product or service into their browser or search engine. This method was known as direct navigation.

Direct navigation generated enormous ad revenue for individuals who owned and “parked” those domains.

Parking a domain was the process of ensuring that the domain names displayed only advertisements.

The lucrative business of parked domains was aided by search engines of the time, which placed parked domain names higher in search results.

So, if someone searched for [burgers] in a single word, Burgers.com might come up first.

The prominence of parked domains in Google search results was then lowered in 2011.

Word + Keyword Domain

As a result, adding a word to the domain name that helps to convey what a site visitor can expect on the site is a common choice.

Cheap [name of product/service].com, [name of product/service] Reviews.com, Fast [name of product/service], and so on are examples of such domains.

For a domain name, combining a word with a keyword is a good idea.

The upside of Word + Keyword Domain

The keyword quickly brands the site’s content and informs site visitors of what to expect in terms of user intent.

The downside of Word + Keyword Domain

The disadvantage of this strategy is that it confines the website to a single niche, limiting its ability to expand.

It will be difficult to switch [Joes Camera Reviews] to evaluating (or selling) other products if you start as [Joes Camera Reviews].

There are a lot of sites that score well because they have keywords in their domain.

Branded Domain

A branded domain is a domain name that does not contain any keywords.

Branded domains include Amazon, Zappos, and Etsy.

What’s fantastic about a branded domain is that the brand name doesn’t have to limit the content of the site.

Many branded domain sites have no difficulty ranking in search results.

Google Offers Four Insights on Keyword Domains

Google’s John Mueller provided four insights on the ranking power of keyword domain names while answering a question in a recent Webmaster Hangout.

Four key takeaways on keyword domains and rankings:

  • Keyword domains do not rank more quickly.
  • Keyword domains do not always rank higher.
  • Years ago, keyword domains lost a lot of their ranking power.
  • Keyword domains and branded domains were ranked the same.

Keyword Domains Don’t Have a Time Advantage.

There’s a popular perception that keyword domains rank faster than branded domains. This, however, is not the case, according to Google’s John Mueller.

Obtaining keywords in links through the anchor text is thought to have a benefit. This is a topic that has been debated for years. It is possible to make both a pro and a con argument.


Regrettably, John Mueller’s statement made no mention of this perceived benefit.


John Mueller confirmed the following:

“Like with any new website, it takes time. There are a lot of websites that rank for the terms in their domain name. But they may have worked on this for years.”

Keywords in Domains Don’t Rank Better.

John Mueller was adamant that keyword domains do not outrank branded domains in search results.

“Just because keywords are in a domain name doesn’t guarantee it will rank for those keywords automatically.”

Many factors go into ranking, including content, user intent for that material, and linkages. All of this is likely to take precedence over things like the domain’s keywords.

While John Mueller did not directly state that keywords in the domain name are not a ranking indication, he did state that having the keywords in the domain name has no significant benefit. That is a crucial realization.

Keyword Domains Lost Influence Years Ago.

Keyword domains, according to John Mueller, lost their power years ago.

Here’s what John Mueller had to say:

  • “Simply because keywords are in a domain name doesn’t guarantee it will rank for those keywords automatically.” And this has been the case for a very, very long time.”
  • This could be a reference to a 2011 algorithm modification (official Google announcement here).
  • Google changed its algorithm in late 2011 to include a classifier for removing parked domains from search results.

The following is a quotation from Google’s announcement of the algorithm update:

“This is a new technique for discovering parked domains automatically.” Parked domains are placeholder sites for our users with little unique content and are frequently populated exclusively with advertisements. We prefer not to show them in most circumstances.”

Keyword Domains Ranked the Same as Branded Domains.

This is just another remark that refutes the notion that keywords in a domain name help with rankings.

The keywords of a domain are unrelated to their present position, according to John Mueller.

The following is John Mueller’s statement on domain keywords.

“It’s kind of expected that they’d rank for those keywords, and the fact that they have them in their domain name has nothing to do with their current rating.”

Mueller makes it plain that the presence of keywords in the domain name has no bearing on their ranking.