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Most people advice to buy a domain name that exactly matches your main business field. For example if you sell computers the best one will probably be computers.com but with millions(maybe billions) of website all over the web the chance the perfect domain for you to be free is (lets be hones) less than zero. So you have to satisfy yourself with something else like company-name-computers.com or just company-name.com.
So the question is how much does this counts when the search engines calculate your website position in SERPs cause I have always thought that having high quality and related content, pretty URLs and back-links from valuable sources is more important then the domain name itself.

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Partially covered here: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/3351/… –  bpeterson76 Oct 5 '10 at 20:15
    
A domain name is as good in SEO as how they look in the eyes of your users / customers. If your users like your name, search engines dig it. –  kavoir.com Feb 1 at 10:12
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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

A list in order-of-importance would be impossible to create if we were hoping for any long term credibility, but yes, SEO does factor into SERPs and no, it's not going to ruin your SEO strategy if you use a non-relevant domain name.

With social marketing, quality content, clean code, etc. it's quite possible to get ranked well if you know what you're doing. You're certainly not going to be penalized if your domain isn't keyword heavy.

It's 2010. Domains are scarce. Most new services are inventing words and mashing things together in a way that algorithms can't possibly find relevance in. Pick a domain that's marketable first, good for SEO second.

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I partly disagree with your statement "Domains are scarce". Just because they are already registered does not mean they are unavailable. A portion of premium domains are for sale, and the large majority of long tail domain names are either non registered or for sale. Check Sedo.com for example to see some great domains at what I believe are bargain prices. Compare the advertising market with the price of the domain name to be sure it makes business sense. –  tucson Oct 6 '10 at 17:52
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The domain name is important but not the end-all and be-all of SEO. If you can get a domain name with good keywords in it you will definitely have an advantage over someone with the similar content who does not. BUT you can overcome not having a good domain name with quality content, good URLs, etc. as they all are factors and can help you overcome the lack of a good domain name (especially if you have quality incoming links).

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The domain name is very important. Here is some ideas based on my experience.

  1. People love to see a good domain name that matches their search keywords. If they see it, they click it. A good domain name is a click-magnet.
  2. Google search engine loves to see an exact match between the search keywords and the domain name.
  3. There is a self-reinforcing loop because of 1. and 2. Since people click on it, Google rank the site higher, etc.

Keep in mind that most search queries have 1 or 2 keywords. Long tail is just what it is: it's long tail, which means it's the rest...

Estibot has a very good PDF doc for free about domain development that explains basically just that (without the self-reinforcing theory which is my TM).

Other good example: if you search "ebook", ebook.com ranks #1 although it's absolutely not a key player in that field. They are actually selling the domain name because they exit this market...

I am not saying the domain name will alone ensure a SERP 1. But it's the fundament of your SEO. Backlinks, Pagerank, etc will not replace a good domain name.

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