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The Power of Keyword Domain Names with Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts, SEO Guru from Google

Matt Cutts, SEO Guru from Google

For anyone that does not keep-up with search engine optimization (SEO) happenings, events and notable figures, Matt Cutts is arguably THE most notable figure in SEO today and he makes events happen.

And if you’re buying domain names that are keyword-rich in hope of the keywords placing your website at the top of Google organic search results for those keywords, this is one video that you need to watch.

Matt works for the Search Quality group in Google, specializing in SEO issues. He helps direct the Google Webmaster Guidelines and advises the public on how to improve website visibility in Google organic results.

When Matt talks, people listen. As well they should.

So when Matt put out a video entitled “How important is it to have keywords in a domain name?” domainers and webmasters alike all over the world took notice. Matt’s focus in this video is on answering a user’s question regarding whether to purchase a brandable domain name (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Google) or keyword-rich domain name (BuyViagraOnline).

The question came from McDot in Berlin:

“How would you explain ‘The Power of Keyword Domains’ to someone looking to take a decision what kind of domain [name] to go for?”

Matt Cutts’ Key Take-Aways

  • It is possible to succeed with a brandable domain name, as evidenced by companies like Reddit, Digg, Zynga, Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo, but it’s going to take more than SEO tactics.
  • Brandable domain names are more memorable to people than strictly-keyword domain names, so if you are trying to build a company that has name recollection — go brandable.
  • One advantage of having keywords within the name of your business is that inbound links will be to the business name and include keywords — two really important factors in Google’s ranking algorithm.
  • If you are going for a “big success” dot com-type business, a brandable domain name may be better; conversely — and implicitly stated by Matt — if you’re going for a smaller success, a keyword-rich domain name may be better.
  • Google is “thinking about adjusting that mix a little bit, and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm so that given two different domains it wouldn’t necessarily help you as much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords in it.” (The emphasis is mine to point out that they’re not eliminating the algorithmic benefit of keywords in domain names entirely.)

Matt Cutts on The Power of Keyword Domain Names

[Photo credit: Wikipedia]

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14 Responses to “The Power of Keyword Domain Names with Matt Cutts”

  1. ASK says:

    Although I have a strategic keyword domain name, I still can’t get it to the top for my search term.
    This makes me think that having an exact match domain name is not always the best thing.

  2. SDM says:

    In the video, I didn’t hear a discussion specific to exact match keywords. Just keywords. For example, with a domain based on the keywords, “high quality wigs”, how many dotCOM domain names contain only these keywords in this particular order? So, when submitting a search query for “high quality wigs” (with or without quotes), how many other dotCOM domain names are actually competing for exact match relevance with the keywords in the search query? Zero.

    Here’s another problem with turning down the volume on exact match keywords: What if the actual name of the business consists solely of those exact match keywords? If Google modifies the algorithm, you run the risk that searching for a company website using the exact company name (and therefore, the exact match keywords) would have difficulty locating the official company site because Google would have attached less weight to the very words that formed the name of the business being searched for!

    It’s like saying, “Let’s improve relevancy by coding a search engine algorithm to ignore EXACT MATCHES between the keywords being searched and the keywords contained in the domain name.”

    When coding a search algorithm for threshold relevancy, how could you possibly find a better match than when the keywords being searched EXACTLY MATCH the keywords in the domain name? Once relevancy is established, move on to an analysis of website content and quality. That’s an entirely different issue, so let’s not confuse the two.

  3. Adi says:

    When I build mini sites and sites build to make money with affiliate/adsense etc. I use a keyword rich domain.

    When I build a “business” I choose a brandable domain.

  4. Rich says:

    The brandable point is a good selling point to sell your domains to end users as well..They will TRUST google more then you!

  5. @BullS: LOL.

    @DomainingMojo: Good insights, Jason.

    @Jeff: Agreed. Thanks fr your comment.

  6. Hello Michael,

    It has always been apparent to us that the best of all worlds would be to have a .COM Business Addresses that has High Brandability along with Key Words. Our Business Address has all three. What a confirmation !

    Great Post !

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  7. Salon dot com is a site that is named after a media company. They provide movie reviews and other information. The site is extremely competitive. There are many companies that use generic domains for other than their description.

    Kayak can mean explore, adventure, travel, expedition, and more. Without creativeness, there is no reason to even develop websites or brand companies.

  8. BullS says:

    Google should de-index sites like kayak ,oyster ,octopus and others because the content and the intent of the sites do not match with the names of the domains.

    It is pure poppy cock to have a generic name but turn out to be something else. False advertising and misrepresentation.

    When I visit kayak dot com I expect to see kayak and water activities accessories and not something else.

  9. Dan says:

    Hi Michael,


    I started writing…”here is a different take on the same exact information”…

    Then, I went back and forth between the two…and somehow came up with the impression, both articles were saying the exact same thing…duh

    But you must admit, you could make a case for both views, as the other article has valid points…because only God knows what Google will do next…for sure.

    But…my hope is that YOU are 100%

    Like I say, Google makes people jump through more “Hoops” every week, than all the: Dolphins, Wales and Sea Lions….have to jump through in a ‘Year’…at Sea World.

    Thanks for the clarification…


  10. @Dan: Thanks for your comment, and the link.

    I read the referenced web page. Actually, I’m saying the opposite thing, not the same thing.

    I should have made it more clear, but my take-away is this: Google currently gives credit within their algorithm for keywords-rich domain names. Matt said that in the future Google may reduce that value, but it will still be there — and I think it will still be worth continuing to buy keyword-rich domain names for that reason.

    You’re doing well by buying generic keyword domain name assets.

  11. Dan says:


    Amazing… same take away from the same information….from a different article:

    I am so glad I own nothing but: “Generic Keyword Domain Assets” :)


    BTW: Google must just love keeping the “SEO” Industry business booming!

  12. BullS says:

    Nice that you can give examples of specific domains that goes with his explanations.

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