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Are you a plumber? Do you want to rank plumber.com?
We get it.
But is it really a good idea? 4 or 5 years ago, there was no doubt, but what about now?
I'm answering specifically to the question of a client who was offered to buy back domain names in exact match. I have to keep it confidential, so I'm using the plumbing example which is not the practical example I had:
  • I do plumbing, and my company is called "taratata", and my site taratata.com
  • The owner of the site "plumber.com", potentially more adapted to plumbing, calls me and offers to sell his domain name.

Is it worth it for my client? Does he have to buy the domain name, and put all his site on this domain? Should he keep his site, and make plumber.com a peripheral site?

site-periphere-seo

My one word answer:
Keep your main site on your brand name, and buy the domain name to:
make it a peripheral site only if you plan to invest time on the SEO & SEM side on these sites
own it rather than your competitors :). And there we must discuss how much you are willing to pay for it ;)
Shall we elaborate a bit more? OK then...

Domain name or brand : which one to choose?

A few years ago, the domain name had a lot of influence, and indeed it could be interesting toto have a very nice domain name. Moreover, these perfect domain names:

  • still work well on the precise target keyword.
  • however plumber.com will not be useful for "leak", or, more annoying, for "urgent repair in NYC" (long tail), so it's true that plumber.com is generic and although it is a good domain name, its impact is quite limited.

Nowadays, companies prefer "brand" strategies rather than "exact match domain" strategies. That is to say that if your name is Vinci, your site should be Vinci.com and not affordable-car-park.com. Google will understand your site’s theme (affordable car park) as long as your content covers the topic on your site Vinci.com.

The exact match is not so much an SEO criterion. A site can even be penalized because it is too Google oriented and not user friendly enough.

  A study by Kevin Richard on 200 million URLs shows that exact match is not very important...We talk about it in an article dedicated to Google's ranking criteria. The only exception is if you have a very local activity, very specific: there, it still works quite well. E.g. "coaching tribeca". :)

OK, so you keep your domain name for your website, and just buy out the other domain name?

So, you buy plumber.com, publish content and link to taratata.com, and therefore you get great backlinks ?
No, it won't work, you have to be more ambitious, and build a real site dedicated to plumbing. For example: an information site dedicated to plumbing, which will then link to taratata.com from time to time!
Red alert if you choose this option: think carefully before doing this, because the domain reputation has become essential in SEO and SEA (quality score), and so you have two reputations to build, one of taratata.com and one of plumber.com.
It's not a small thing: it's better to have a good quality domain name than a lot of average domains. And, managing several domain names means managing distinct content, netlinking...It's a lot of work.
Anyway unless you have the means to maintain several quality sites, it is better to
buy the other domain name only so that your competitors don't have it (if it bothers you!)

   Article written by Louis Chevant

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