You often see headlines of astounding sums of money paid for domain names without any website or business behind them. Many people argue that in most cases the cost doesn’t justify value. I am guessing that these people don’t know about, or haven’t thought about the SEO value of a domain name.
Just like most other areas of search engine marketing, there is a lot of guess and check involved. It would be nice if Google simply explained in detail the factors that determine a sites rankings, but on the other hand that would probably not be good for business’s like ours that have spent enormous amounts of time and money analyzing results and deriving conclusions from them.
On this particular issue though, I think there is enough tangible evidence that Google, Yahoo, and MSN do put particular emphasis/value on domain names, more particularly the words contained in the domain. I have seen examples of this throughout my career, but more recently I saw one particular example that was quite remarkable.
We recently finished developing a new website (www.MiamiDolphinsTickets.com). We built a great platform, design, and everything else that goes into a successful website. The difference with this site was the rate at which in climbed in the natural search results was much faster then other sites we have done. Yes, we did start building its link popularity and update it regularly with good content and all the other aspects needed for a successful campaign. But in less then a month the site ranked on page 2 in Google for “Miami Dolphins Tickets”, and on page 1 in both Yahoo and MSN for the same phrase.
This is a pretty competitive term, and currently the site has a 0 PR but still is already ranking very well. I think this is a clear example of why investing in a good domain name is valuable for other reasons besides the vanity and branding factors.
I will write a follow up post in a few months to update the status of this marketing campaign.