Domain Investing – Eight Reasons to Worship Generic Keyword Domains

November 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Domain 

More than 15 years after the Internet began, I still hear marketing people say domains don’t really matter. Just write some great content, get some inbound links, start a blog, and throw up a video or two, and Google will send you all the traffic you need. (As if it were so easy;)

But let’s say you are one of the lucky ones who gets your site into Google, and actually gets a top ranking. And for a moment, let’s imagine you really start to get traffic, grow your mailing list, and build your brand. The fact is that as you become larger and more well-known, a poor domain will actually hinder you since it’s difficult to remember, hard to spell, or otherwise unrelated to your actual niche.

Remember that incredibly stupid site from the Dot Com era, Quokka.com? The same company who spent a bazillion dollars of their poor investors money on print, TV, and outdoor advertising to build a “non-brand? Do you remember their niche? Think hard.

For those of you who are stumped, Quokka.com was an action sports network on the Web. Now put aside the sheer insanity of starting an online sports network before the advent of Internet video, and instead focus on the idiotic concept of building a brand around a impossible-to-spell, hard to pronounce, “makey uppy” word like Quokka.

I mean, they had tens of millions of dollars to spend on ads, but they couldn’t be bothered to get a good domain like ActionSports.com or something similar? Stupid. But you and I, we know better! We understand the key benefits of generic keyword domains, which are… 1. Never having to explain what you do: When you own a site like SurfSpots.com or ForeclosureAttorney.com, it’s pretty clear what people are going to get when they visit.

2. Permanently lock out competitors: Owning the domain is the ultimate form of owning the keyword, and being able to block competition is more than a minor coup. It forces them to buy dozens of keywords around the main keyword for type-in traffic, and build their primary online brand on an inferior domain.

3. Massive credibility: Generic keyword domains have become a sort of defacto brand with consumers. Whether it’s MiniTruckParts.com, Rumcakes.com, or Hotels.com, the site that lives at the generic dot com address gets extra props from consumers, whether deserved or not.

4. Type-in traffic is a sweet dividend: Most keyword domains get at least some traffic, and a few get dozens, even hundreds of visitors a day. This traffic translates into real sales from people who directly navigate to the site using their address bar instead of their search bar.

5. Google tends to rank keyword domains better: Google, and all search engines for that matter, look for relevant sites their users will find interesting. Thus, a domain like CarParts.com (provided it’s not parked), will probably get a page 1 or 2 ranking for the keyword “car parts,” which can mean thousands of extra visitors a month.

6. The name can be parked, leased, rented out, or forwarded: If for some reason you decide not to develop a site, there are many ways to monetize a good generic keyword domain. 7. Steady increase in value: Generic domains are one of the few investment categories that have kept up with, and even beat the stock market, real-estate, bonds, and overall inflation. Some business owners are starting to realize the generic names they bought a decade ago might even be worth more than their whole business.

8. Low carrying cost: All that for under $10/year? You gotta love this business! So what are the lessons here… * If you are a domainer, pay a more attention to generic keyword names than the latest fad of the week. LLL.coms, brandables, and numeric names have a place in your portfolio, but don’t have the staying-power of real words that actually mean something. * If you are a business owner, remember the bit about owning the keyword. It may seem stupid to spend 6 figures on a domain, but not if you can make your money back in a year or two, then own the category forever.

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