This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. What I mean by domain relevancy is how relevant to the current topic the domain name is. If you are searching about topic x, would it also be nice to see domain names that are directly related to x? Or do you even care?
The reason I’ve been thinking about this is because I have a competitor that is in various lateral niches, but he has a narrowly focused domain name.
I have different sites that are more relevant to the topics of the articles, but he’s on the same domain covering all of them like it’s the wild west. When you read his domain name and then the article topic it often makes no sense.
So I’m curious, with all else being equal, do articles have an edge simply because the domain is more closely related to the article topic?
I think so.
I’ll talk more about that in this article and give an example.
Domain name and the topic – should they be related?
They certainly don’t have to be, having a general and brandable domain name is a strategy that allows you to cover a wider variety of topics. But when you go this route you may give up some of the advantages that more focused sites have.
In the end it’s a decision, do you want to scale to the moon? Then you probably want a broader domain name that can cover many sub niches. If you want a more focused niche site that just covers one of these sub niches, but covers it really well, then you may want a more relevant domain name.
Let’s say we have 2 websites, they are competitors. We’ll call them site A and site B to keep it simple.
They’re both in the same niche that falls 1 level below the general sports niche.
The following are example domain names only
Site A – Football (footballplanet.com)
Site B – Football (footballguy.com)
After a while, both sites have covered all the major topics in the niche. Things start to get stale as they grab whatever low search volume keywords are left.
The owner of site B wants to cover more than just football so he creates more sites. He starts with a site C that’s a general sports site and D which is a basketball site. Then he makes a baseball site E, and a soccer site F. Over time, all of the new sites gain authority and begin to rank.
Created by the owner of site B:
Site C – Sports (allsportsplanet.com)
Site D – Basketball (basketballplanet.com)
Site E – Baseball (baseballworld.com)
Site F – Soccer (soccerzone.com)
The owner of site A decided to do the same, expand into other sports. The difference is, he did it all on the original football domain. So now his domain says football but he’s writing articles about other sports and publishing them.
My question is this:
As a searcher, do you prefer to see a domain name that is related to your search?
If you search for “how to play horse“, which is a common basketball game, would you want to click on a website called “basketballrules.com” or would you just as well click on “footballworldhq.com”.
For me personally, I think the domain name is important in this regard. Sure, a more general domain name will let you expand and grow the site beyond what the more focused domain would, but I think the more focused domain has an edge when it comes to CTR (click through rate).
If I see a relevant domain name in a result and a non-relevant domain name result, as a searcher I’ll probably opt for the more relevant domain name. Assuming that all else is equal.
You probably don’t want to have an exact match domain name, but a relevant one can be nice to have.
Broader domain name results are usually ok (site C), relevant domain name results are better (site D), and non-relevant domain names like the example above (site A) are the ones I typically avoid clicking unless there’s no other options.
I have a competitor that is covering topics well outside his niche, topics that compete directly with some of my other sites that are more focused in these niches. I think I’ll often have the advantage though because he’s outside his niche.
Sort of like a football site trying to compete with a basketball site on basketball topics.
Thanks for reading.