Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager of Bing, claims it’s a myth that keyword rich domain names improve search engine rankings in a post published yesterday on the Bing Webmaster Blog.
This came about after Forrester attended Namescon and overheard people discussing how keyword rich or exact match domain names can make or break your site. Claiming that’s just a myth, Forrester took it upon himself to debunk this theory.
Ten years ago there may have been some truth to that way of thinking, Forrester says, but today rankings depend on so many more signals that domain names alone are starting to mean less and less. This is beneficial from both the search engines’ and the searchers’ points of view because it results in better content ranking higher instead of rewarding those who are trying to manipulate the rankings.
But that doesn’t mean a keyword-centric domain name isn’t still useful, Forrester says. While they don’t necessarily give you an automatic boost in rankings, they’re still valuable because they’re easy to spell, easy to remember, and easy to pronounce. In other words they’re great for branding.
Forrester explains that you can even take irrelevant words, or make up words, and create your own brand around them–like The Onion for example. But to get to that point your site has to provide something of value to the user, such as great content.
This is another familiar argument that correlation does not equal causation. Forrester says it’s not uncommon to see keyword rich domain names ranking high, but it’s more a result of the content they provide rather than their domain name. Forrester stresses that there are no shortcuts, so don’t try to get ahead by keyword stuffing a domain name.
I know many of you reading this have a lot of opinions regarding this topic, and I’d love to hear them! Do you think it’s just a myth that keyword rich and exact match domains get favorable treatment by the search engines? Please let me know your thoughts and experiences with this in the comments section.