How Much Is A Domain Name Worth?

Great question. How does a domain name affect your Search Engine rankings? What actually contributes to the value of a domain name? Let’s take a look.

1. Type-in Traffic
Years ago, many people didn’t understand the difference between the URL (Uniform Resource Locater) or address of the actual website and the search window in Google. One goes directly to a particular website, like the address of a house. The other is an actual search. So people would just type in what they were looking for in the *address* field…i.e. “new shoes”. This is called type-in traffic.

This meant that if you were lucky enough to buy a domain like “newshoes.com” for around $7.00 per year, you would automatically receive a respectable amount of traffic to that domain…type-in traffic. This would make the domain valuable, as it could be parked or used for an ecommerce shoe store…traffic equals money.

It is 2010 now, people are more savvy. More people use the search window and they know that it is a search window. So, type-in traffic has diminished, not to mention that everyone is hip to domain ownership, any ones with any value have been bought up. Goddaddy.com even buys domains they feel will have high traffic and resells them to you and me at a premium price, this is a premium domain. By the way, they will quickly settle for 70% of the asking price if asked. Type-in traffic isn’t what it used to be and domains are more expensive.

Does it matter?
The short answer is “not much”. Content is still king. Google works very hard to return relevant, high-quality results for it visitors. Look at Facebook.com, Google.com, yahoo.com, the domain can be anything. Can it help? Absolutely. If your domain contains your keywords you will get a little more love from Google and the search engines, but will it make or break your website? No. Shorter is better, descriptive is better. I recommend considering buying a premium domain, it is a good start.

Domain name traffic
Listen, I have owned a lot of domains, upwards of 450 at one point. I have purchased premium domains, acted as a domain broker for my clients, parked domains at different domain parking services like sedo.com, parked.com and many others. I have struggled to optimize over 150 landing pages in an effort to make a passive income…all with not much success, except learning a lot about how domains work.

Look, there are many ways to measure traffic. All of my websites are built on a CMS and it has it’s own traffic stats. Well, I also use Google Analytics on all my sites. When I compare the numbers from both, they are different. There is no way to tell who is linking to your site, conclusively. There is no way to be 100% accurate on where the traffic is coming from. I have been a victim of a scam where you “purchase traffic”. The company explained that they had high-traffic websites…that were relevant…that you would get links from and traffic to your site. I found that that was not the case. Technically, I got traffic, but who knows where it came from. With all the traffic, I got not new customers and a very high bounce rate. The bottom line is: Don’t believe traffic reports, unless you are using Google Analytics and have personal access to the live Google Analytics account.

Old domains
One cool thing you can do is to check out archive.org . This site will let you see what a website looked like years ago. It will show you if there was a website associated with the domain you are looking at. If you want to see what your competitor’s site looked like back in ’08 you can check it out. With old domains, you want to be careful. You want to know what kind of site it was, you don’t want to do a lot of back paddling in the first few months of your new domain/website ownership. Type in “link: yournewdomainname.com” in Google, and it will show you how many links point to that domain, same thing using Yahoo!, I use both.

Social Media

With the current trend of savvy marketers using Facebook and YouTube.com as main forefronts on their marketing campaigns, this gives domain names even less value. It actually reduces the importance of the brands entire website. Toyota recently closed a national ad by giving the address of their YouTube.com channel, not their website address. This direction both diludes and broadens the company’s marketing penetration, and for sure minimizes the impact of the domain on their website, as it would for any company.

Summary
Who is the best company to buy a domain from? Godaddy.com. A short domain is better, easy to spell, easy to remember. Remember, you may be giving your domain name address over the phone. It is ok to spend money on a domain, but be careful, negotiate, grind the dude down. If you want to know how drop me a line.

Martin Walker is the President and CEO of Walker SEO, an SEO firm based in Ontario, California.

About Martin Walker Company CEO Martin Walker has been in the advertising, marketing and public relations industry for over 20 years. His first ad agency was formed in 1984 as Walker Advertising and served the greater Riverside, Inland Empire market. After spending time and training in direct sales Martin began MK Walker, LLC based in Redlands, Ca. MK Walker began as a traditional ad agency but began morphing into a web-based Internet publicity firm. In 1999 MK Walker, LLC was dissolved and Walker SEO was born. Walker SEOis a hybrid company that integrates online public relations distribution techniques, White Hat search engine optimization and SEO friendly website designed to serve one purpose for it\’s clients: Internet Publicity Martin is also a former stand-up comic, amateur mma fighter and musician is married and lives in Redlands with his wife and business partner Kim.

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