SEO Guide for Web Hosting & Domain Registration Companies

SEO in the niche of web hosting and domain name registration

In this article we`ll try to generalize our practices in promotion of companies that provide web hosting and domain registration services.

We will talk about such questions:

  • Analysis of hosting / domain name registration market and finding potentially advantageous promotion directions;
  • Features of keywords selection in the conditions of SEO-pressure
  • Definition of promotion strategy
  • Methods of getting links
  • Features of different queries groups conversion depending on geography
  • Typical problems that interfere sites conversion and ways of their solution

Market analysis and competitive researches. Finding potentially advantageous promotion directions

First of all, it is necessary to note that a large traffic in the niche of web hosting is deceptive. If you look at Google AdWords Keyword Tool data you will find out the following picture:

Hosting vs Web hosting

In fact, there are about 400-500 visits from the 8th– 9th place for a query “hosting” per month. It`s necessary to consider this and other points while planning hosting project promotion, because information about a large amount of queries in the Google AdWords Keyword Tool is “stuffed” with endless positions checks. As the market of hosting projects and domain name registrars is extremely competitive, you have a great chance to invest money, work and time in promotion of such queries that are stuffed and do not bring traffic and sales, and after all you can incur losses and even remain disappointed in the search promotion at all. The same can be said about domain name registration.

Domain vs Domain names

In fact, there are about 500-600 visits from the 5th – 6th place for a query “domain” per month.

That`s why, in our opinion, it`s better to begin promotion of hosting project or domain name registrar with finding active competitors in the search marketing niche and define their strategies.  For this purpose we can recommend a wonderful tool – SemRush.

So, we need to find competitor sites in our niche, which are actively engaged in the Internet marketing. We just type highly competitive query corresponding to the topic in SemRush and find sites that are ranked well for it:

Now we need to make cleaning, i.e., remove irrelevant sites from the list. In this case, obviously, Wikipedia must be removed from the list. After checking a few queries important for you in the same way, we will receive a “crossed” list of sites. Sites from this list have good rankings for many queries in this subject, so they should be examined primarily.

Lets take a site hostgator.com as an example:

Hostgator SEO Trends

The example shows that, firstly, the number of search queries for which the site “hostgator” is shown has an explicit trend to growth. It reflects the efforts made by the owners of this project to increase its visibility in search engines.

HostGator SEO Profile

After selection of queries that bring maximum traffic to the project according to SemRush, we get an approximate keywords list which can be used to start promotion.

Making the list of necessary keywords, let’s see whether it is a good idea for us to «meddle into a fight» for these keywords. You should consider such factor, as SEO-pressure, for this purpose.

Features of keywords selection in the conditions of SEO-pressure

You can use different tools to estimate a competition for the selected query. A plug-in for FireFox called SeoQuake is one of convenient free instruments.

Let’s type a relevant query interesting for us, e.g., business hosting:

Business hosting competition

You can see that some strong sites are present in SERP, and some of them have got from several hundreds thousand to millions of backlinks and even more. The competition in SERPs is about to be really strong, so I would like to repeat: you should select a semantic core very carefully. Moreover, there are sometimes artifacts in SERPs, and learning them is possible only from experience. Let’s take the query “ecommerce hosting”. This query is high frequency in subtopic «hosting for ecommerce sites», it has about 12 thousand searches per month in exact match worldwide:

Ecommerce hosting search volume

We can see that the trends of search don’t show any sudden jumps or drops.

Ecommerce search volume trends

The target audience for these queries is in the U.S. and UK – the most creditworthy regions in general. However, traffic for such query from the American Google Top5 – Top6 is about 1-3 persons a day, with natural drops on weekends; it gives us about 40 people a month. A conversion rate for these queries is extremely low. Of course, promotion for this queries is acceptable only with the purposes of improving positioning and brand awareness, but as for sales it isn`t effective.

Let`s take a query “reseller web hosting” which has next data from Google KeyWord Tool worldwide, for comparison:

Reseller web hosting search volume
The query brings twice more traffic from the 4th-5th places having twice smaller amount of searches in exact match according to Google KeyWord Tool! Conversion rate of this query is also quite high. At that, Google Insights give the following data:

Google insights for Reseller Web Hosting keyword

At the same time the great part of traffic and transactions comes from the U.S. and UK users despite of the fact that the site holds comparable positions also in Google.co.in.

All of these patterns are also true for domain name registrars.

It’s impossible to know this information without experience in promoting a site for such queries or without trying PPC advertising in exact match. There are a lot of keywords like these, so you should constantly monitor all queries in the aggregate estimating of the effectiveness of each one.

You can also “pull out” perspective keywords making the analysis of the backlinks text anchor to sites of competitors who are actively engaged in search marketing. You can use special tools, for example, CS Yazzle or SEO SpyGlass by LinkAssistant, either manually using Yahoo! Site Explorer.

To estimate a real traffic on a query you may also try PPC in exact match.

Roman Viliavin
Roman Viliavin is the Vice CEO in Promodo SEM Company, European company with a focus on complex Internet marketing approach to online promotion. He has been succcessfully operating in SEM for 5+ years and already helped many prominent companies like Namecheap.com, BWIN, Hotel.info, Brocompany etc., to increase profit from their online presence.
Roman Viliavin

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8 thoughts on “SEO Guide for Web Hosting & Domain Registration Companies

  1. Are you kidding me? Good methods of link building recommended here are: reciprocal link exchange, buying links, embedding a link in WordPress theme footers, running your own affiliate program, and discussion forum links. When was this article written? 2004? If you value your site at all please, do not engage in ANY of these link building techniques. Ever.

    1. Rob, I think, it’s a misunderstanding.

      There are no recommended methods of link building in this article, only methods which real web hosting companies have been using for years. If you don’t want to build links in such a way – it is your own choice but the majority of web hosters use such “outdated” methods.

  2. Being in the SEO Web Hosting Industry for many years (since 2002), I’d say many of your points are good, but not all the recommendations are ideal. A lot has changed over the years, and in the early months of this year. Many sites went from first page to way down, and less popular sites are starting to show up on 1st and 2nd page results. After analyzing there are some significant reasons for these changes, but these are the tactics that are harbored closest by the people who know what’s up.

  3. Rob Woods is 100% correct on this. I was absolutely SHOCKED to see buying links listed on there, as well as the others.

  4. Hi,I am from Alaska and read your post on web hosting..I appreciate the writing but just wondering to know unique selection of keyword for the domain name is very difficult for my website,the keyword which i used already exist in others..What should I take so that it is easy and can be remembered by others..My theme is on travel..Please help!