What's The Big Fuss About Long Domain Names?"

Published: 06th January 2005
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The word is out. You can now register domain names of up to 67
characters. This is going to shoot your ranking way up on the
search engines. Because if you stuff all your keywords into your
domain name, search engines are simply going to love your site.
Or so they say...

But is that really the truth?

No point speculating. Let's do a little test...

Go to your favorite search engine, say AltaVista. Key in your
search term, say "website promotion." Look at the top 10
rankings, closely.

How many of these top rankings actually have the full term
"website promotion" in their domains?

No hype, just facts.

Call me a natural sceptic if you want. When the news hit the
town, with all the "Special Announcements" flying everywhere,
urging people to "go grab a new all-you-can- stuff keyword rich
domain name and emerge tops in search engine ranking," I was not
at all moved. I believe this is too simplistic an approach to
getting high search engine placements:

1. Besides keywords in domain names, search engines look at a
few other factors for relevancy. In fact, this is what Don
Dodge, AltaVista's Director of Engineering said: "Keywords in
the domain name do not help much in ranking. We look at half a
dozen factors in ranking. The words on the page, their frequency
and position on the page, are still among the most important
factors."

2. Search engines are constantly evolving. Once they find out
that such keyword-stuffed domain names are content-poor sites
with low relevance, they are going to come up with new rules to
preclude such sites from getting the top spots.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against registering for long domain
names. I just feel that we should see things in perspective. If
you're getting a long domain name in the hope of securing a high
search engine placement, err... based on the facts, please don't
expect miracles.

So what should we look for when choosing a domain name? I use a
simple "3 Es" guide:

1. Easy To Remember Yahoo is certainly easier to remember than
AltaVista. No surprise why Yahoo is doing a LOT better.

2. Easy To Spell If you have a long domain name, be careful. One
spelling mistake by a potential visitor is all you need to lose
him forever.

3. Easy To Pronounce If your domain name is hard to pronounce,
how do you expect people to spread the word and tell others
about it?

What do the 3 Es have in common? They make things simple for
your visitors! Our world is complex enough. We don't need
another complex domain.

Must your domain name be relevant to your site content? Not
necessarily. What has the name "Yahoo" got to do with a search
engine or a directory? And is there any real connection between
the words "Amazon" and "books"?

Selecting a domain name is an extremely important step. So do it
carefully.

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