Many people believe that if you have a special URL, one that contains the keyword you’re trying to rank highly for, you’ll be number one on Google. This isn’t always true. The reality is that having your keyword in your URL can help in some instances but is virtually meaningless in the overall Google ranking algorithm unless many other websites are linking to yours.
Let’s explore this idea a little further. If this URL theory were correct, my site MarketingScoop.com would never be able to outrank a website like www.marketingexpert.com for the keyword phrase marketing expert. At the time of this writing, my site was in the first position on Google and the website www.marketingexpert.com wasn’t even on the first three pages of search results.
So where does having your keyword phrase in the URL help? It helps with search engines like Yahoo! and BING and when you’re link building for Google. Each search engine has its own ranking algorithm, placing different weights on website criteria like URL, external links, and more. BING is notorious for placing significant weight on the URL itself.
To see this in action simply go to BING and do a search for marketing expert. You’ll see that the first five results, and those that follow, all have marketing expert in the URL.
Another way that having your keywords in the URL helps is when it comes to link building for Google. Each time a website links to your website using only your URL, if that URL is comprised of your keywords, it provides a boost to Google search results. As I’ll show you later, all linking coming into your website should contain your keyword phrase, and this can be accomplished without owning a particular URL.
A great example of this concept is the keyword phrase “click here.” Go to Google and enter the search term, “click here.” If the URL theory was correct—that you have to own the URL that contains only your keywords—you would expect the first search result to be www.clickhere.com. However, the first result is for Adobe® Reader.
Why? It’s because more sites link to Adobe Reader with the link text of “click here” than any other website.
All that said it never hurts to have your keywords in the URL itself. When others link to your site using just your URL, it will include your keywords. This helps when building links from sites that do not allow you to customize the link being placed or include your keywords in the anchor text.
Another technique that I have found to be particularly useful from an SEO perspective is buying aged domains. An aged domain is one that was established some time ago and may even have some traffic coming to it. You can search for and buy aged domains using GoDaddy or Sedo.com. If you can purchase an aged domain that already has your keyword included, all the better. This can give you a jump start when launching your website because it has been indexed by Google, likely has inbound links, and may currently rank for the keywords for which you’re trying to optimize.