Don’t be mis-sold on domains; The value of a holistic organic search strategy

Like many business owners, and marketing leaders, you’re eager to make your website work as hard as possible for you. 

One way it can do this is via organic search, with increased traffic and the right on-site customer journey you could see increased leads and a positive impact on your bottom line. Your organic search strategy has to be all-encompassing, working with everything from your on-site content, to navigation structure, to technical build and how quickly the page loads. 

However, one factor that affects your organic SEO is the domain your website uses. If you aren’t seeing the results you desire, and someone approaches you with a phone call one day, promising positive results and all you need to do is buy a new domain, we know this can seem tempting. 

The salesperson on the end of the phone is telling you exactly what you want to hear.

"You'll be found for your desired search term easily. Zero work involved and all you have to do is pay £££"

That sounds amazing right? I understand. You just want to see quick results.

Be careful, and don’t be fooled.

I have seen this trick over the years and I understand why people might be tempted, it sounds so convincing.

How does it work though?

Let's say you are a mortgage advisor in Maidstone. It seems logical enough you want to be found in Google for mortgage advisors in Maidstone.

Your current website isn’t showing for that term. Now we always work with clients on a wider organic search strategy than this, we do advise looking at a range of relevant terms and not putting all your eggs in one search basket, but let’s focus on that one pesky term that, for now, is alluding your search performance and missing out on some traffic. 

The phone rings “brrring brrring”

Salesperson: Hi, I see your website isn’t ranking on the first page of Google. Do you think you might be missing out on some customers

Business owner: well, yes

Salesperson: mortgage advisors in Maidstone is something your clients could type in to find you, yes?

Business owner: yes, that’s right

Salesperson: We have got hold of a premium domain of mortgageadvisorsinmaidstone.co.uk that we are speaking to a number of mortgage companies about and wanted you to have the first opportunity to purchase it. There are a high volume of people searching for the term mortgage advisors in Maidstone and we could connect it straight to your current website.

Business owner: I’m not sure how that would work.

Salesperson: People would type the domain into Google and then be redirected to your site. I can imagine you wouldn’t need too many leads to pay for it but I do have other people to call so if it’s not for you…

Business owner: Oh how much is it anyway

Salesperson: it’s only £1,000 and it’s all yours. We will set it all up and you don’t have to do anything.

Business owner: Will this work?

Salesperson: Of course I guarantee it.

A guarantee, for as little as £1,000? To the uninitiated this might sound like reasonable logic. It’s a term I want to be found for, this domain has the term in it so surely if people type that in I will be found.

Unfortunately, it isn’t the whole truth.

Let’s break down the claims.

This domain will drive people from Google to your website

Google is not only just a search engine. It’s an answer engine. When a user types in a search term, Google wants to show the best web page that answers that query. There are many factors to this and having a specific domain isn’t enough. Google makes its decisions using hundreds of different metrics and standards.

With that considered, Google isn’t going to show a domain name in their results whose only role is to forward the user to a different page. They would see this as misleading especially on a brand new domain with no history, which we get on to in a moment.

This is a premium domain

A domain’s value is generally what someone is prepared to pay for it. However if your goal is for increased rankings then the domain would at least need some history.

By history, we mean it’s been used on a site before that ranks for those organic terms it’s offering to help you with, otherwise Google doesn’t see this domain as a credible resource. 

People will type the domain in

Unless they are actually typing in the whole domain (including the .co.uk) unless Google is already aware of the domain (due to being a decent website already) then the chances the user will be shown search results, including your competitors and site with stronger more holistic organic search strategies. The user can even type mortgageadvisorsinmaidstone and Google knows where to put the spaces and will show results based on that. 

This new domain is not considered.

The domain name contains your target keywords

Domain names that consist of only your target keywords are known as exact match domains and they used to be really powerful however organic search has moved on and is now much more complex. We know that Google is looking for websites to demonstrate expertise, authority and trust aka E.A.T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). A domain name alone cannot do this.

How does that help you I hear you cry? 

Honestly, it’s great that it's not that easy any more - a website search performance can no longer be manipulated by tricks or tactics.

Good organic search performance is about a business really demonstrating to their audience (and Google) that they are a trusted authority and expert - we're in the business of attracting humans and building relationships through websites and marketing - which requires a well thought out strategy and an investment from the business to build that authority - not to be able to simply 'buy it'.

I guarantee it

This old gem. If anyone guarantees you anything when it comes to ranking in Google then caution should be taken. 

But I want great search results so what should I do? 

The key to making organic search a successful part of your marketing and sales strategy is to look at the bigger picture. When you’re approached to buy a domain the salesperson is addressing two things, 1 specific search term for you and their own sales targets. 

Are we against SEO friendly and targeted domains, no but that’s a different article altogether? It plays a role in your search strategy but it’s not the whole picture. Please, whenever you are struggling with organic search results, consult an expert.

If you are caught off guard by a call or are searching for a new domain independently you can also check when the domain was registered on https://www.nominet.uk/whois/ if it is a .uk domain.

However, even if the domain has been registered for a while this is not enough but if it appears the domain is brand new then that is a red flag.

There can be a lot to think about if you get one of these calls and as much as it might sound like “maybe this one is ok”, give yourself a bit of time to think about it, and if in doubt, get in touch with us we’d love to have a chat.
 

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MEET THE AUTHOR.

ANDY PALMER

Andy is an SEO superstar. He has an eye for technical SEO in particular, but leverages everything from content to structured data so that his clients can benefit from increased organic traffic, and ultimately increased revenue.

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