Getting the High Ground with Domains

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Most aspects of SEO work on “equal” ground.

No matter how exclusive and high quality a backlink is, your competitor can always get a backlink of equal value.

No matter how relevant an article is, your competitor can always write an article of similar keyword relevance.

Almost every aspect of SEO can be duplicated by your opposition.

So when you find an aspect of SEO that is entirely unbalanced – and effective enough that it can tip the scales against the sites of multi-million dollar companies – it’s worth knowing how to use this aspect to your advantage.

A picture’s worth a thousand words.

Open up Market Samurai and look at the SEO Competition matrix for “Credit Cards”.

You’ll see 10 results that look a lot like this:

Notice anything strange?

It might be something that you’ve seen in your own niche. You might even notice it practically every time you do a Google search.

These 10 results reveal important story about one of Google’s great biases.

Let’s start looking at the 2nd result, and continue through the results immediately below it.

Visa, MasterCard, American Express – all huge names, synonymous with the term “credit cards”.

In terms of search engine relevance – these sites (synonymous with the term “credit cards” itself) are some of the most relevant credit card sites online.

Below those, there are some credit card comparison services, and smaller credit card providers such as Discover Card, Citi and Chase – the sort of “mix” of sites that you’d typically expect to find on a search engine results page… All relevant sites, but with lower levels of authority and relevance.

But the first result…

Here’s where things get interesting…

The first result on the page is www.creditcards.com

It sits ahead of Visa, MasterCard, and American Express – all multi-billion dollar companies with marketing budgets that could buy a small country…

Their names are synonymous with the words “credit cards”…

They have plenty of high PageRank links, including links from some of the largest and most reputable sites online…

And 100,000′s more links than their smaller rival…

…And yet they’ve been beaten to the punch – they’ve met a real David versus Goliath scenario with this “creditcards.com”.

This story repeats itself…

It’s something you can see in practically any keyword niche you analyze.

Smaller sites with keyword-optimized domains are seeing their SEO efforts magnified over time – giving them an unfair advantage that allows them to outrank competitors who boast more links, better content, higher PageRanks and more.

Let’s look deeper into the SEO analysis to see it in action…

Here are the off-page results again from Market Samurai’s SEO Competition module.

www.creditcards.com has lowest PageRank (PR) of all domains on the first page of results, and fewer Backlinks to the Page (BLP) and Backlinks to the Domain (BLD) than most of its competitors.

Its domain age is roughly on par with most of the domains there (some are higher, some are lower).

But it has one clear feature almost exclusively absent from the competition – it has the keyword “credit cards” in the domain name.

This demonstrates just how valuable it can be to get a good keyword-optimized domain.

Good domain names make SEO a whole lot easier.

They leverage or magnify your SEO efforts – so that each link you build, or article you create, counts more heavily towards your rankings – so you can put in less work than your competitors and still get the same (or better) effect.

This gives you a strong advantage over your opponents.

Think about the value of getting better results, with less time and effort.

Could it mean you have more time on your hands to devote to improving your site in other ways? Could it mean you get more visitors? Could it mean more sales? Could it mean bigger profits?

These opportunities to leverage your results in SEO are rare.

Using keyword optimized domains is one of the few “jiu-jitsu” SEO techniques that still remain effective, allowing you to use the search engines’ heavy bias towards keyword optimized domains to your advantage.

So what should you do now?

4 Action Points for Using Domains Effectively

  1. Use Keyword Domains for SEO – Obviously if you’re setting up a new site, and you aim to invest in SEO to attract visitors, get a keyword optimized domain.
  2. Consider Moving to a Keyword Domain – If you’ve just set up a site, and it’s still in its early phase, consider moving to a keyword optimized domain. If you have an older site, the decision might not be so clear-cut though, because moving to a new domain name usually means starting afresh in the eyes of the search engines.
  3. Keep Your Competitiors Out – Check for, and get, any high-value keyword domains in your market. Remember: no matter how successful you come to be you can always be unseated by a competitor bearing a keyword.com domain – so even if you don’t use the domains immediately yourself, protect yourself and keep potential competitors out of your niche by holding onto dangerous domains yourself.
  4. Just Wait For What’s Up Next… – Over the next week, we’re going to drill deeper and deeper into how to find, select and utilize domains effectively for SEO, and look at some of the advanced techniques that professional domainers use to secure dynamite domains, and outrank established high-PageRank competitors like they were taking candy from babies.

Remember to watch the blog, and your email, for the next instalment on using domains for SEO.

Again, over the next week we’ve going be covering some little-known advanced strategies for domain names, with nuts-and-bolts how-to examples – and it’s something you won’t want to miss.