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This question is specifically about domain name choice.

My client wants to maximize his site SEO, and he has two domain names, one of which he has for two years and is in the second page of Google search and another one which is better as domain name but unranked.

The question:

  • Is it better to choose the new better domain name or leave the old one as it already has it's value?
  • If I choose to take the new domain name how long would it take to be at the same level as the old one?

If I will choose the new one I will redirect the old one to the new.

  • Aged Domain: ivories.ca
  • New Domain: pianotuningtoronto.ca
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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's no secret that Google put more trust in sites and domains that are aged, if you had asked the same question 1-2 years ago then I would of told you pianotuningtoronto.ca however times have changed and Google cares little for EMD 'Exact Match Domains', so there is little to no benefit in actually using keywords in the domain name. So while both are valid domains since the shorter domain is aged your customer should opt to carry on using the domain that is trusted by Google, rather than starting all over again to gain Google's authority and trust. (site moving using web master tools does not pass all trust across).

Your customer should opt to target keywords in the url paths rather than the domains.

So for example:

ivories.ca/piano-tuning-services-in-toronto/
ivories.ca/piano-repairs/
ivories.ca/parts-for-pianos/

Also its worth mentioning that pianotuningtoronto doesn't look like a company name but rather than a service, your client cares about business image/branding even more reason to stick with using Ivories.

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I've also noticed that Google seems to like shorter domain names, which is one more reason to stick with ivories.ca –  nathangiesbrecht May 3 '13 at 18:51

Previous answer by bybe reaches right conclusion - stick with the domain name you have. Already established site has considerable advantages and any lift you might get from an exact match domain is overwhelmed by the potential downsides of moving site over.

If you were keen to make use of the new domain name, I would build a small mini-site that is specifically about piano tuning and Toronot + surrounding areas. That is the only way you can make use of the new domain name. Forwarding the name to the existing address will yield exactly zero benefits.

Instead of worrying about the domain name, there are many things you could do to the existing site to improve it's search performance.

  • Adding keyword rich paths is important suggestion previously mentioned

  • Also, you do some silly things like the keywords 'piano tuning in toronto' in footer area link to a page with path /rates with all sorts of poorly structured content (from an SEO perspective, at least) when you have an actual page with the path /piano-tuning-toronto

  • As well on the page /piano-tuning-toronto, you should really think through the SEO logic of the content you've got there. Aside from the path and the page title, the rest of it stinks. E.g., the word 'Toronto' appears only in the title and nowhere else (aside from footer which Google will discount almost entirely). 'piano tuning' doesn't fare much better, but is there at least 2 other times.

  • Customize the meta descriptions for each page so they are unique and relevant to the content of each individual page

  • Change paths like /pianosforsaletoronto to use hyphens

  • Replace the animated gif with text panels that Google can read.

I would also advise to fix all the typos in your sidebar text (and perhaps elsewhere) so your site appears more professional. I don't know that Google will specifically penalize for this sort of thing, but it would not surprise me. Certainly, it looks bad to have such visible text contain so many errors.

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Thanks for your input, thou never touched this site before, advice is very helpfull. :) –  skmasq May 4 '13 at 1:58

Have you looked at Webmaster Tools, it provides tools for renaming domains without being punished.

Sign up, it's free and will have more information to peruse. I suggest keeping both domains as well even after what Google says.

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