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|04-09-2011, 08:31:01 PM||#12 (permalink)|
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A few words of caution (kind of hinted at already):
A substantial part of the value in longer domains is their SEO value - an exact match is currently treated favourably by Google. Google are increasing their efforts to get rid of exactly the type of site that usually is put up on "single use" domains.
I believe that over the next 2 years we will see several changes that will directly reduce traffic to such domains (if the site is the usual cheap content + ads affair). Although I never wrote about my predictions of the damage that Panda would cause local search sites, I did have conversations with my business partner about the high likely hood of damage by algorithm change and I got it absolutely correct - a series of changes that would reduce traffic at 50% a time.
I'm firstly and SEO guy and I'd suggest you do the following:
If you want to buy long domains as an investment, try to make revenue from them by putting up a site - don't just wait for the name to sell. If you expect the future owner to do that, why not do the same and you have immediate income plus revenue to value the site at.
Exact match domains are likely to have an SEO shield for a little while longer, but this will not last.
I predict a flood of 2013 drops on 3+ word domains - unless they are very high in exact searches for their niche.
|04-09-2011, 09:07:31 PM||#13 (permalink)|
How do you back that up inbound?
|04-09-2011, 09:23:44 PM||#16 (permalink)|
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|04-09-2011, 10:07:47 PM||#17 (permalink)|
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Thanks Blossom, some data to back up the assertion. I'd say those reductions are due to Panda and we have several more steps to see; one of which will be the switch from automatically giving value to an exact match to a system where a site has to earn that boost - that's when the it will really hurt.
As for further information, TheKorat, have you read up on Panda and the targets that Google has publicly stated as being on their list of sites that deliver a poor user experience? I'm afraid to say you may have a lot of reading to do to get a better appreciation of the wider market that you are in. I'm not meaning to be hard on you as a new domainer, just realistic. You might want to look at webmasterworld.com and read their library posts in the Google section.
Domains are valued, in part - but by a greater extent when 3+ words, by the expected returns you can make WITHOUT considerable marketing budgets. If the returns that can be gained through throwing up a bit of content on an exact match are seen to be diminishing so is the market value of that domain.
|04-09-2011, 11:03:27 PM||#18 (permalink)|
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Inbound.... My view is that the panda updates have already started to be rolled back with regards the reduction in benefits of exacts.
Google can't ignore exacts, even 3 word ones. Remember that Google can only go so far before people notice they ain't finding what they are looking for and then move to Bing and Yahoo. I have noticed my exacts flying back up the rankings since the first of August, even sites I haven't touched in many months. Google can change what they want except what people are looking for, it can't affect that.
3 word exacts can be easier to rank than 1 word exacts, in fact I would say they usually are easier to rank than one work exacts.
If people plan their domain strategy on trends from Google of a month or two at most then they may be left holding some duds and missing out on some cheap gold.
|05-09-2011, 12:57:52 AM||#19 (permalink)|
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A few points to consider:
Take all known company names (easy to find incorporated business names) and check to see if the exact domain exists and is registered to that company (there are a lot of factors that make it simple to check ownership of a domain matches a company - e.g. phone number used on the website, whois details...). There are trading names that are legitimate but may not be officially registered - sole traders are an example of such an area, but the fact that these business names are not officially recognised makes it easy to ignore them - especially for high profile searches.
Take all searches with a high enough volume that are for names and hand check them, treat lesser searches with an algo that boosts the ranking factor of the exact until it can be determined if the exact is the intended result for a majority of searches (Google has had plenty of time to check this but, for some unknown reason, seems not to be using any such data for domains with low search volumes).
We now have a situation where we have a whitelist of some domains, some domains that are given a chance and many domains (usually products or services rather than company or personal names) that are KNOWN to not relate to an entity with that exact name.
e.g. If a company called "Wedding Photographers" existed and held weddingphotographers.co.uk it's likely (although you can argue if it's fair or not) that Google would favour that domain. If the company that owns weddingphotographers.co.uk is not called that, it's easy for Google to justify switching of any advantage that the domain letters hold (it's not their brand if it's not their company name or a registered trade mark; with the caveat that TM's come with different scopes, I'd also factor in category and TM type) - that site would then have to battle with others on an even(ish) playing field (although there may be positive or negative effects of the prevalence of links to the site with that phrase, used to be good but can be an issue nowadays, sometimes). This process would have to be done on a regular basis (apart from delta hand checking rather than full), because that data changes.
One of the things to consider as a real possibility is the increase in company name registrations and/or Trademark registrations for phrases. It's often the case that a change at Google leads to unintended consequences; it could be that Google decide not to make certain changes if they see such complications and current negative factors are not high enough to cause pain. It therefor makes sense to think about the factors that Google could consider, they are not going to make many things public - such as which types of TM they see as giving "ownership" of a term to a company (I'd say image type ones are a no-no or anything that is not a strict words only TM, and think about the categories covered too - you could easily get a popular word TM'd in a different category but Google might even see that as a negative factor if you are seen to be in the category that the popular word "comes" from).
Caveat: One thing that could save a domain from any such attention from Google is if it is below the search level they deem important. It could well be that many exact domains (especially in the 3+ range) get less searches than Google will worry about. However, I strongly suspect that there will be a rollout that will wipe out that hope.
Secondly, are you saying that people are genuinely looking for your exact match sites, or are you in fact saying that your exact match sites are a good place for them to go. There is a huge difference between being a suitable result and THE result.
Google can cater very well for any search if there are at least a few suitable results; if you are saying that an exact match should be top because all other sites are not really about that search then I'd say it's an issue Google will be aware of (but not currently doing well on). I can see a situation where a site could be penalised unfairly if they have been the ones to create the searches themselves (in the case where many more searches happen as people are looking for them); but the clicks generated by users doing that search will quickly tell Google (when they decide to test it) that it should be an exception.
If you honestly think that all exact match .co.uk domains should be at the top of UK results for commercial searches I have to say you are deluded; if, as I suspect, you do not then you are already backing up the argument that some indicators have to be taken into account to decide how much influence a domain name should have.
You might say that if there's low search volume and Google has not tested the phrase then it makes sense that the exact gets an advantage - I agree! But once any test comes into place, that is effective, that advantage should be nullified. The result of the test may confirm the domain should be #1, but that will be a different metric from what is in use now.
I agree that having a knee-jerk attitude to decision making isn't great (although sometimes it can work remarkably well) but trends of any length are important in domaining, especially those that concern the only search engine in town (UK-wise Google IS search).
We're fortunate that £6 will give you 730 days to sell your speculative registration, surely that's enough time to decide if a renewal is worthy and cheap enough for a punt to be made if enough factors seem positive in the first place. I'm saying that Google will change at some point and it's likley that exact match domains will be negatively effected, if anything it's a piece of advice that people may see as being a good reason to start developing worthy domains. Remember we're talking about 3+words for much of this, not premium generics, that's a very different market from top notch sales - you should have different strategies for them too.
|05-09-2011, 02:30:32 AM||#20 (permalink)|
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If we are talking about the benefits of exacts and you think there isn't likely to be any in 5 years time or it will be reduced then you believe it and act accordingly. I spent 10k in the last 4 months on exact matching domains so I guess we will both agree to disagree.
After watching generic exact match names rise and rise in the last 5 years (that includes 3 words).
I have no interest in changing your business model and you are free to pursue what ever you want to.
By the way, congratulations to Frog on getting to the top of Payday-Loans.co.uk for the term Payday Loans. That is one hell of an achievement in one of the most competitive sectors out there.
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