Playing 21: SEO Domaining

21 Tips on domains, domaining and SEO:

  1. Domains and portfolios thereof are like fine wine. A lot of it, purchased originally with foresight and then aged over time, is a very good thing.
  2. Domains are like real estate. There's varying quality and limited inventory, so demand can be high and the competition aggressive... (and yes, to-day I'm shamelessly not posting much beyond my own expansion on Quad's earlier list, and drawing on a couple unoriginal analogies in the process).
  3. .com, .org, .net and country-specific TLDs can have weight for ranking whereas all others are much, much weaker.
  4. Newly registered domains are not trusted by engines for a trial or sandbox period that can last months.
  5. Expect that recently-dropped domains are put on a probationary period by search engines to limit their value to spammers
  6. Some recently-dropped domains are "damaged goods" and/or may have a shady past, so use archives to try to look into that.
  7. Aside from branded domains, keyword-rich domains can help.
  8. Use alert services e.g. ClubDrop if watching for certain keywords and/or key phrases.
  9. Consider the value of snagging visitors with easily-made typos, and what one can do with Typo Generators and/or Wordtracker in hand. Try to nail typos that you've verified are happening in the real world. Don't think this is a big deal? Try any easily-made typo of one of the largest sites on the Web, and see where it leads you... You might not want to try this while at the office. 😉
  10. Use reservation services if hoping a registered domain will be dropped and up for grabbed, i.e. not renewed upon its next expiration date.
  11. Own your brands(s) and variations thereof thoroughly. If planning to go international, learn per-country requirements and register early on.
  12. Don't forget how vanity domains can make for brand impact, and keep watchful for situations where you should get creative. See where you can go applying this concept to TLDs as discussed in the previous item. If you see great chances which don't have hurdles aside from price, you may end up doing something kinda special. Be sure to send me letters of spanks, anyone who runs with this approach and finds it fruitful.
  13. Know registrars and their reputations well, e.g. Godaddy vs. Registerfly etc. - check customer references. Some registrars are huge beasts that have large, robust infrastructure but a habit of treating loyal and paying customers poorly and/or being real fascists with SEOs especially. Others have a reputation of looking other way re. things like spam content remixing but still treat their customers poorly. So ask around.
  14. If hosting externally, never have that ISP double as your registrar (in case of disputes with that ISP). The last thing you need is some situation where there's some dispute tempting a host to hold your domain(s) hostage as leverage, because they happen to be able to.
  15. Buy in bulk, and watch for discount offers (coupon codes) to save money.
  16. Assume that search engines and other people are reviewing your WHOIS information which BTW can never be fake details, legally speaking. Keeping your WHOIS current is your responsibility, but forgetting to sometimes does happen. Also, use private registrations to avoid solicitations if unwanted, and/or general privacy. If people really want to get in touch with you, they probably will still find a way to do so.
  17. Never leave registered domains sitting just pointing to default park pages. In each case apply a simple "Coming Soon" page that has at least some relevant content on it, until your new site and/or targeted landing page is ready.
  18. Mind redirects and URL rewrite rules - issues of duplicate content (manage canonicalization) in cases where you're focused on promoting (1) main property. Engines need to be clearly shown it, whenever a rose by any other name is still a rose. As for (segue) when trading in domains with other registrants...
  19. Get them appraised through a mutually-agreed method and/or service between buyer/seller.
  20. There can be a fine line between a transaction and a dispute. Know who trademarked vs. registered first etc. details, but keep solicitations to buy/sell friendly (carrot before the stick). Negotiating a deal can take a while.
  21. In worst cases when claiming domains from others, squatters or otherwise, use arbitration services and/or your lawyer. Know your rights and those of others in detail.
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