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"Search Engines & Directories"

List Moderator: Adam Audette

May 2, 2000                        Digest #824

Search Engines/Directories and the value of domain names

~ Rod Aries
"It is a lot of work to produce a quality site that works
for portals and customers."

From: Rod Aries <>
Subject: Search Engines/Directories and the value of domain names

Shari Thurow commented (LED #814)...

There is a huge difference between a search engine and directory.


Directories depend on human editors for their listings. 
Directories do NOT use spiders.

Search engine optimization and directory enhancement are two  different procedures.


But if you want good rankings on search engines and directories, you will have to follow their rules for a "quality" web site.


Having keywords in a URL might make it easier for your end users to remember your domain name, but it will not make or break a search engine or directory placement.

Hmm, I would like to offer another perspective...

Let's look at two saw mill operators for an example on domain  names. The first is asked to comment about sawdust and says, "The  biggest problem I have. I spend thousands of dollars sending this waste product to landfills."

The second saw mill operator responds a bit differently on sawdust.  "I love sawdust. I make more money converting the sawdust to Presto  logs than I make selling the 2x4 wood. I wish I had more sawdust"

It is the same way with domain names, some (well, most) people see  domains almost as a waste product in the search portal ranking  process, others see domains as a product that actually becomes a  valuable tool.

We have over 200 domains, optimized for the net. The quality of a  site is a given -- if you don't have a quality web site, you won't  get anywhere. So, assuming you have a quality web site, you are now  ONLY competing against thousands and thousands and thousands of  other quality web sites. How do you make your web site get ranked  higher???

Here are the normal steps we take, to obtain favorable rankings, for a typical client with an existing site: Understand the client: Do they have a viable product or service? What is that they are trying to achieve? What is the unique selling position? Is management committed to an effective online presence? Are the five key elements of a successful site in place?

Domain name strategy: Once we understand the clients need, and before we start on the site, we begin with domain name strategy. We do this before logo's, before layout, before almost anything else -- it is that important.

In 100% of the cases we add at least one new domain presence for our clients. On a list of about 15 reasons why the domain name is important, here is the #13 example (a less viable reason -- but still a consideration): assume your firm is and you specialize in public relations. Upon a search by a potential visitor you come up 3rd and comes up 4th. Your visitor, scanning the available sites to click, may actually select the 4th pick over the 3rd due to the name.

Overhaul the site for the search portals: About 1 in 20 client sites actually have constructed their web pages to work for both the search portals spiders/humans and for real customers. Most haven't, they just have a cute web site, a four leaf clover and a lighter pocketbook. It is a lot of work to produce a quality site that works for portals and customers.

Re-write the 'sales' content -- What good is a highly ranked site if people visit and don't buy? In addition to revamping the site, to get found in the portals, we spend almost as much time organizing the navigation and re-writing the original content to actual make the web site a "sale producing" document. What works in those real world brochures, doesn't on the net.

Search engine and directory optimization: After we have a quality site, we then tweak the titles, tags, descriptions, keyword counts, keyword densities, keyword spatial relationships, etc.

Proper submission: It is not enough to submit to the portals, but  knowing how to submit to the portals.

Having said all the above, I would estimate that we get well over half of all our top ranked sites, and thus traffic, for clients because our domain name contain embedded keywords; no if's, and's or but's.

While this may not hold true for many, it is true for our clients  and the way we construct their Presto logs, er, sites.

At your service,

Rod Aries

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