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November 4, 2010

Web Design Bangkok – an evolution of keyworded domains

Back in the days when we started a Bangkok-based web design agency, there was little mention of keyworded domains. In those days, the ease of getting high placement was all about having good SEO and links. Not now.

It was probably always the case but we just failed to think it through properly. The title, the meta tags, the h1 tag, the keywords in the body copy all had profound significance in the days of SEO in the uncompetitive market for search. But the company domain was somehow sacrosanct in the rather old-fashioned idea in delivering the “brand” and we somehow got round it by varying the link text to match the search term.

But, according to an article written a while ago by Marketingweek: “The most successful domain name strategies will use more than the company name alone – incorporating keywords relating to a particular vertical market will reach a wider audience and build brand associations far more effectively.

“Some good examples of companies already doing this include Johnson & Johnson with Baby.com; Calvin Klein with Underwear.com and Proctor & Gamble, whose Crest brand owns Toothpaste.com…One brand that seems to have taken this strategy to heart is Toys ‘R’ Us’, who recently purchased toys.com for $5m (£3.2m). The retailer correctly viewed domain names as an asset not an expense and toys.com is putting them in the top search ranking for their market and to considerably improving their digital brand recognition.”

Digital brand recognition? Then why doesn’t Nike have runningshoes.com and Amazon books.com? Because it’s too late to register them? Or why not have Coca-Cola re-brand to fizzydrink.com or Toyota to reasonablypricedcar.com?

I wrote an article a while ago that argued the case that Google had decided to place a heavier emphasis on “brand” for conventional corporate websites when deciding how to rank and I said it was the new “oligarchic algorithm”.

Added to that, I said, in the Google universe, each business has size and gravity that can be determined by measuring mass, presupposing that mass, as determined by established brand, is the only variable that determines gravity. I was wrong.

Two years ago, ignoring my own prejudices, I registered vietnamwebdesign and webdesignbeijing and, through merely throwing a link from my home page plus a couple of other permanents at them, I got to #1 in a week for both.

I closed down the latter through lack of a strategic partner but the former has remained in that spot ever since and without any link building, social media or article writing. Both are admittedly in uncompetitive markets. And I have recently done the same with webdesignlaos. I expect the same but this time with sales staff on the ground.

It’s a very different story for web design bangkok, though. That is because the market space has become so saturated with the search term in titles. The first page of Google’s listings though has #3-5 registered as keyworded domains.

Just to explain how this skewed algorithmic madness actually works in practice: according to Yahoo stats, the #1 site has 68 pages and 1,305 backlinks; #2 has 510/1,903 and #4, which has just been registered by a company that significantly failed to penetrate the market by its brand, has 1 page registered and 2 inbound links. Priceless.

Recently, in the seo.com blog they talked of Matt Cutts, who works for the Search Quality group in Google specialising in search engine optimisation issues, talked about how “keywords in the domain carry weight with users” and, for this reason, “Google also gives some weight to a keyword in the URL and/or domain name”. Some weight. Some understatement, judging by site #4 above.

With this in mind, it will be interesting to see if this story gets through the bot moderators to land up anywhere near the top ten. I rather doubt it, but anyway I’m going to give it a try.

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Web Design Bangkok, to be controversial (http://www.v9designbuild.com), produces tasteful web design in Bangkok, Thailand, including ecommerce shopping cart solutions, with functionality that allows owners to set up and maintain their online stores.

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