Creating a website is a very hard and detailed process due to several factors. One of those is a fact that before this creation will come to live you need to carefully choose a domain name (based either on your brand name or other important factors). Domain name is the factor preceding website design and influence it in some way in terms of layout or content.
This domain name should be something your users or customers will remember, so it should not be very long. This cannot be any name because despite forbidden names due to legal, religious and other reasons there will be obstacles as simple as domain unavailability (that is why you have to think about it beforehand and plan it ahead of your competition). Domain availability checks are offered by all domain registrars.
From the optimization point of view the domain name with stuffed keywords does not give any advantages compared to brand names for example. This applies to search engine giant Google.
In the past Google used to reward domains using keyword which matched search terms but not anymore because of abuse of this advantage. However using keyword in domain name will not make your website penalised (there are other factors that will and they will be mentioned in further articles regarding Google Panda or Penguin update).
The search engine giant introduced changes to their algorithm (and continue to do so it can provide better search results to their users) which lowered impact of Exact Match Domains or EMD in short.
Main target in this case were “low quality” websites which had been using same domain name as their targeted keyword.
As mentioned before you should focus on your users and their ability to recall your website rather than force them to use your keywords you try to promote. Having Domain which matches exact keyword you are targeting should not make you panic if you have good quality content on your website (or you intend to have). For that reason alone you should use search engine optimization (SEO) for your website (content in particular) if you don’t want to stand on the “Giant’s” foot (Google).
It is important to mention EMD’s because of second hand market when it comes to buying a domain name. As for some it might be tempting to buy a domain that has been used for a while either because of a page rank, domain age or other benefits, sometimes it might lead to “spammy” tactics which eventually will get penalized by search engine. By “spammy” tactics we mean anchor keyword stuffing, wideside footer links and other bad SEO practices.
We would recommend buying a second hand domain only if your brand requires it (i.e. when someone registered a domain name you want to use and is selling it now due to profit or other reasons). If you found yourself having a domain that had been penalized, don’t worry.
There is reconsideration request available from Google Webmaster Tools at your disposal. This might work if you know what you are doing and when you have read Google guidelines carefully.
The risk of buying a domain that has already been used is often higher because of spam backlinks or other black hat SEO practices which eventually get website and domain penalized to that level that owner decided to get rid of it. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is important not only for Webmasters but also for those who own those websites.
You should always check domain history before you buy. To check domain age you can use “Who is” website available at www.who.is, and when you want to check domain / website history the best place to do that is Way Back Machine which you can find at http://archive.org/web/web.php. The “way back machine” let you check what content the domain and website has had and how often it was crawled by search engine robots.
At that point we don’t want you do discourage from buying second hand domains but make you aware of benefits and potential risk that might take buying such domains. In this article we only scratched the surface of choosing a domain name or website design in general but it should be a good ground in understanding importance of those factors.
Article by Greg Szalas
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