Domain Names: How SEO Important Are They Now?

For the past several years, having a keyword for your niche in your domain was a good thing. Google even encouraged it, seeing it as part of branding your business.

But we’re in a new world now, folks. Yep… Panda may have changed that.

I remember watching a Matt Cutts video where he said that maybe a little “too much” emphasis was placed on domain names and that Google was considering shifting the importance downward so that having keywords in your domain wouldn’t help all that much.

Bingo!

I’ve noticed my traffic dropping a bit, and it may be because I’ve just stopped posting as much. I mean, I still try to do it 3-4 times a week, but my five-day-a-week schedule just hasn’t been doable of late. It’s not a conscious choice, but a necessary one.

Or, could it be that Panda is coming home to roost. Could it be that having a keyword in your domain may actually do more harm than good?

I will admit that the difference in traffic hasn’t been significant enough for me to investigate so far, but… I’m thinking it may be a smart thing to do. We have been telling people that it’s really important to have keywords in the domain, and well… there are lots of people out there with crap sites and keywords all over the place in the domain. It could be that part of the algorithm decreases the amount of effect having a keyword in your domain provides.

I’m not suggesting that it’s a penalty, but as Cutts said, the “importance” has shifted.

Google wants to see things happen naturally. I mean, look at a site like Mashable, for example.  It’s not really a keyword. We know that it has something to do with “mash up,” but it’s not a keyword. And they’re popular. They get tons of traffic and lots of social sharing and the site is just “important.” People love it.

I think that’s all Google is looking for — to provide quality results for searchers and not a page full of crap sites that nobody wants to land on.

So, the bottom line?  Don’t worry so much about your domain name. Worry more about producing great content and you’ll come out on top every time.

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