bill-hartzerWhat’s a domain name worth nowadays? How does one evaluate a domain name? Importantly, what about moving to and re-branding on a new domain name once you acquire that new domain? These questions, as well as questions about performing due diligence on a domain name and marketing your website on a new domain, are answered in this white paper entitled “SEO and Domain Name Best Practices.” Topics include: evaluating a domain name from a search engine optimization perspective, moving to or rebranding on a new domain name, performing due diligence, marketing on New gTLD domain names, and SEO factors related to domain names.

Have you ever wondered why or how a Search Engine Optimization expert values a domain name differently from a small business owner, traditional marketer, or a domain investor? An SEO expert looks at the value differently by looking at the raw data, the assets that have been attached to or built for that domain name over time. For example, when a website is built on a domain name and is live on the internet, it will gain links to the domain name – which typically don’t go away that quickly. Those links have search value, because it takes time and expertise to “build” those links to the website (and the domain name). There’s also brand value, which is built over time as well.

Moving your website to a new domain name requires careful consideration. While technically you can set up within minutes what is called a “redirect” from one domain name to another, there is a lot more involved in the process. One well-known IT industry website moved from one domain name to another, and didn’t move the domain name properly. Within days the website was banned in the Google search engine, causing a tremendous loss in traffic to the site. Not only did the website owners not move the domain name properly, they failed to do their due diligence on the domain name they were buying. That domain name had been put to nefarious use by its previous owner and was justifiably banned by Google, even after the transfer.

Performing due diligence on a domain name is critical. If you buy the right domain name for your business but the domain name was formerly used as a spam website, that history is passed on to your business, harming your reputation.

ZDnetbuysdomainnameThe full white paper elaborates (link here) on methods for performing due diligence on a domain name.

New gTLD domain names can include keywords in both the domain and the ending, making them desirable for search engine marketing (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO). The full white paper discusses marketing your website and your business on a New gTLD domain name, and how these domains can be used to your advantage.Some keys are: adding real content to your new domain name page immediately, using available tools to include keywords on your site, building valuable links to your site and rebranding on domain names composed of keyword.keyword.

SEO factors related to domain names have been discussed in the search engine optimization industry for years; the paper includes the latest findings and opinions on the value of having a keyword-rich domain name. While having a keyword-rich domain name for your website is important, lately there have been changes regarding how much “SEO Value” is given by the search engines to having a keyword-rich domain name. Overall, it does still help, but isn’t the “golden ticket” to a top search engine ranking that it used to be.

Search engine spam can quickly and easily devalue a domain name, even for premium domain names. If a domain name has a lot of spam links pointing to it, the domain loses value and it can take a considerable amount of time (and money) to clean up that spam and restore the domain name value. Besides search engine spam, there are other factors that can devalue a domain name. Letting your website lie fallow, without continual update, will diminish search value.

Also, merely copying material from another site into yours will be detected by search engines, which will demote its search position.

Completely understanding these issues will help you avoid having problems your website or a domain name in the future.

The SEO and Domain Name Best Practices white paper explains these issues in more detail:

  • Evaluating a Domain Name
  • How to Move to a New Domain Name
    • The Process for Moving
    • Steps for Moving to Another Domain Name
  • Performing Due Diligence on an Existing Domain
  • Marketing on a New gTLD Domain Name
    • PPC and New gTLD Domain Names
    • SEO and New gTLD Domain Names
  • SEO Factors and Domain Names
    • Spam Can Devalue a Domain Name
    • The Story of ZDNet
    • Other Factors that Devalue Domain Names

— By Bill Hartzer, Senior SEO Strategist, Globe Runner

(This article was originally published in the State of the Domains, Issue 3: June 2015 premiering at ICANN 53 in Buenos Aires)