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Google on Ranking Power of Keyword Domains

July 31, 2018 / Roger Montti

Google’s John Mueller settled a long-running debate as to whether keywords in the domain name matter. He also provided four insights about choosing domain names and ranking. A keyword domain is a domain name with keywords in it (example, BuyWidgets.com). A branded domain is a domain name without the keywords in it (example, Amazon.com). There was a time when Internet users typed the name of a product or service they wanted. This was called Direct Navigation. This earned ad revenues to those who owned those domains and “parked” them. Parking the domain was setting it up so that the domain names showed ads and only ads. The search engines helped the keyword domain industry by ranking those parked domain names in the search results.  Then in 2011 Google removed parked domains from the search results. The parked domain industry suffered after Google updated its algorithm to remove parked domains.  More on this in section 3 below.