Something that my business has toyed with for months and months and months and still I can’t find a definitive answer to (as with a lot of the Google Algorithm) is the impact of keywords in a URL.
I do however have some very definitive answers to this that I will explain here in short, and in further posts in more detail.
Keywords in a URL definitely impact SEO postively, but to what extent? Well, we were doing some work for a financial planner in Sydney and were doing our usual keyword research. During our search we decided to look at the actual SEO competition on the search by typing it into Google. I had searched for ‘wealth creation’ and to my surprise found that the rank 1 website on Google was one that had the the following listing:
Joomla! – the dynamic portal engine and content management system
How embarrassing can you get! But why the hell are they on page one for a keyword that so damn competitive? The answer was staring me right in the face! It was nothing to do with their SEO (they had none). It was nothing to do with their content, optimization, link strategies etc. It was entirely devoted to the fact that their URL is the exact string that I had typed into Google… No more discussion.
So then I have the question, well, why doesn’t everyone then register keyword loaded URLs and capture the terms they want? My short answer is that people are stupid and think that their branding is more important. What a load… People searching on Google aren’t searching for your brand anyway, and a simple 301 redirect can solve that problem. My long answer is that there are simply not enough URLs available to the public for all search terms, and a lot of companies like GoDaddy etc have already registered these ‘premium URLs’ and are on-selling them at exorbitant rates. So what can you do?
Well, we recently went down the path of registering a URL that had another word in it, just so that the keyword is there. It worked. If you have decided that your keyword is ‘boating club’ and find that www.boatingclub.com.au is already registered, then why not go ahead and register www.boatingclubsydney.com.au. If that’s taken, then try www.sydneyboatingclub.com.au – they’re all the same in Google’s eyes.
So then we often get the question, well what about sub-domains? Well, dear oh dear! That’s a whole other strategy. Put short, you can’t put your main website on a sub-domain; it’s just not kosher. You need to have a reason and a purpose (and I can’t stress that enough – wait…), you need to have a reason and a purpose (that’s better) to create a site, so for God’s sake, don’t go creating 10 sub-domains with all your keywords.
Our business has a number of blogs that we’re running for separate sectors of our company with URLs registered. One of the URLs that we would like to capture is www.seocopywriting.whatever… however they’re all taken! So let’s create a sub-domain. It makes perfect sense. My web guys are in the process of setting up the blog http://seocopywriting.leadcreation.com.au – that means that we’ve captured the keyword (on a completely separate website) and we’ve also branded it as ours. Perfect excuse for a new site.
I must also now mention, because it’s a problem we’ve often faced, that where possible, have as few websites as possible. The more interlinked your pages are (within a website) and the larger your online footprint for your website is, then the more likelihood there is of you being found online. At the end of the day, that’s all you want to do.
- URLs should have keywords in them for SEO purposes (there is a huge impact)
- Don’t worry about your branding; no one knows you anyway
- Sub-domains are useful if you have a purpose and can’t register a URL
- Exact keyword URLs are more powerful
- If you can’t get an exact keyword URL, add a longer tail keyword that still allows it to make sense.
I’m also testing a new strategy that we’ll update you on very soon.
Here’s more on SEO for B2B Lead Generation