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Background: My website is not showing up high enough in rankings. We are in a niche market - particularly in the aircraft satcom business. When searching for satcom our competitors are on top - there aren't many competitors. From a practical standpoint we should be on at least the first page, 2nd page at the bare minimum. We have optimized the web site with the keyword satcom. It appears that the first couple of pages is filled with web pages that have the keyword satcom in the domain name. We are seriously considering adding satcom to the domain name - this would definitely be white hat since its what we do.

Question: Once we get the domian name with satcom should we simply redirect the new domain to our domain which is currently (trying to mask) is air sat one? Is this bad as far as SEO is concerned? Or do we need to change the entire web site domain to the new one with the term satcom in the domain?

Hopefully this can be answered here. We have tried to talk with SEO companies and they all have different answers and seem more like used car salesmen.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • BTW- If you want the straight skinny on SEO, this is the place. We will dispel the myths for you rather quickly. As well, the big G is represented here if we go astray. So please please please ask any question you want. We have some real experts here- trust me on that!! We hate the bad SEO advice often given on the web and by so-called experts trying to make a buck. – closetnoc Apr 21 '15 at 19:49
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Using keywords in the domain name is not going to do ANYTHING for you. Its really that simple!

Not only is it not going to help but it could also hurt when you do the switch. Even if you do proper redirects. You will lose links and some of your current rank as well.

Let me go even further with this because I am so tired of hearing about keywords...

Build you site for your users. If you use keywords then use them naturally but don't get fixated on them. Things have changed in the last few years and even items such as H1's and Meta Descriptions are not as important. You can use them to your advantage for user experience and CTR but not for ranking.

Welcome to the Age of Inbound Marketing.

If you want to get ahead of your competition then you need to start thinking outside the box and not keep thinking about which keyword and how often. Ask yourself:

1) What value do I bring to my visitors?

2) Why should they keep coming back to visit my site?

3) What sets me aside from the competition?

4) Are there assets I can offer to me visitors that will boost traffic and ranking?

In conclusion:

Having an optimized site is great but so many people take the backwards approach to this.

First, build something that people find valuable and then optimize it.

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  • Two great minds think alike. Of course a couple of crazies can do the same thing- however, I opt for the first! ;-) – closetnoc Apr 21 '15 at 17:07
  • How long are we going to be writing about this? Until the cows come home... I do not have any cows so I expect that will be a while. – closetnoc Apr 21 '15 at 17:10
  • @closetnoc haha...I believe it was I who opted for the first! – dasickle Apr 21 '15 at 17:25
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A domain name change may not really help you. In fact, you will be losing some important trust metrics such as site age. Most domain name changes are done under the assumption that having a keyword in a domain name will help. Keyword matches do happen, but after a long laundry list of other matches and last on the list when all other matches do not yield much results. In other words, the effect is the smallest obtainable after all other SEO work is performed. You will spend dollars for pennies.

There is an option of doing a blanket 301 redirect from an old domain to a new domain to preserve some/most metrics, however, what is often lost in the discussion is that this not only comes at a cost, but also does not remove the fact that the new domain name must perform on it's own at some point. The 301 redirect is temporary in scope and is not a complete solution.

That said. Let's look at SEO for a minute.

The most difficult thing to do in SEO is knowing what terms are used for search within your industry. You used the example satcom but could it easily be comsat ( Yes. I do know that Comsat was a company now owned by Hughes. ) for communications satellite? Taking this example, right or wrong, if you are trying to keyword match satcom or comsat, are these terms actually used? It may be that communications satellite is used more. In this case, you would do something like commucations satellite (comsat) to equate the terms communications satellite and comsat by proximity using semantics. But in order for that to work, satcom or comsat must be recognized within an industry or you will be the only one and that will not carry much weight if at all.

Any website can compete. It is popular a belief that there is no room at the top because the big boys got there first. However, it has been my experience that SEO, as a practice, is done following old linear text based thinking rather than using a full understanding of semantics. This means that there is room at the top for anyone who is willing to work for it. The biggest key is understanding that search is forever changing daily and that keeping a site attractive is an ongoing daily process of moving forward. This does not mean that a site cannot perform well for the long term based upon work done today. It can. The biggest key is knowing how people use search to find a site like yours. Again. This is the hardest part of SEO and the most valuable.

Another very real effect of the web is that good ole' fashioned marketing is still required. A website in of itself does almost nothing. You will not only have to create a buzz within your industry, but also outside of your industry. This requires PR in the traditional way- not using PR websites. Paper marketing is the most powerful form of attracting visitors as well as detailed scholarly work. Then add to that a social media that attracts the users that are effective within your industry. This may not be Facebook if no-one in your industry is looking to Facebook for solutions. But it can be Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. This has to be discovered. The web works best person to person - people to people. It is about creating relationships and being a top of mind presence (marketing speak) when people think communications satellite (or whatever your niche is). You have to go for saturation within your market of ideas.

In short, I often do not recommend changing a domain name unless it is truly a terrible domain name. If your domain name is your company name, I say keep it! There are 46 factors (my count) that make up branding signals. If most or nearly all branding signals are used, your domain name will be more valuable than any keyword domain name. Proper branding in search increases performance by the order of magnitude that cannot be fathomed. Just type cisco in Google to see what I mean.

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  • how much longer are we going to be writing about this.... – dasickle Apr 21 '15 at 17:07
  • @dasickle You just cracked me up!! – closetnoc Apr 21 '15 at 17:08
  • Gentleman, when doing a search for satcom it is very obvious that 90% of the web sites have this keyword in the URL - particularly up front. – JoCEO Apr 21 '15 at 21:40
  • @JoCEO Keywords within a domain name remains the last factor when matching search intent. Keywords in the URI (less the domain specification) is a different matter entirely. Please do not confuse URL with URI. URI is the path of the resource on the website. Here search matches are far more likely. I still would not change a domain name to include a keyword- there is far too little gain for the effort. Rather, I would be working on the sites SEO profile. I am not discounting the value of your keyword. I am just saying that keyword domain names have relatively little value anymore. – closetnoc Apr 21 '15 at 22:05
  • @JoCEO Here are two answers I have written that may clear things up a bit. This one explains the domain keyword match thing historically webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/77724/… and this one explains keyword matches in URIs webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/74633/… It is no longer a simple do this do that process anymore. It is a semantic links game. Domain names do not matter except for terms that are extremely low in competition. We see this question here a lot. – closetnoc Apr 22 '15 at 1:12

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