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Thursday, April 07, 2016

Search Engine Reputation, And Vanity Domains

One hot Internet topic, these days, involves specialised ("vanity") domains.

The hot names seem to change, by the week. This week, enom is hyping ".family", ".live", ".rocks", and ".social". Other registrars may have other recommendations.

The blog Address (Name) is a key blog identity element, in a well designed blog. It's visible both to people, and to search engine crawlers.

The requirement that addresses must be unique is a supposed benefit of vanity top level domains - but vanity TLDs, alone, will not provide blog uniqueness. There will always be competition for some names, in any useful Top Level Domain.

My suspicion is that the shinier the TLD, the more competition you may see, between people who plan their uniqueness around choosing the perfect name.

Any popular blog / website subject will have name competition.

I could publish this blog as "chucksblog.com" - and that would be a shiny and unique name. Until another "Chuck" registered "chucksblog.us", or maybe "chucksblog.name". How unique would "chucksblog" be, then? How many readers could I expect, if they know "chucksblog" - but can't remember if it is "chucksblog.com", "chucksblog.info", or "chucksblog.name"?

If your blog has a popular subject, you won't have a unique name - unless you register your name, in every possible TLD that might be relevant to your name. And that will be a financial limitation, for many blog owners.


What name would you want your blog to have? For a truly shiny domain, you'll have competition.

Complete uniqueness == No competition == No interest == No readers.



McDonalds, for instance, may be able to register "mcdonalds.com", "mcdonalds.franchises", "mcdonalds.hamburgers", "mcdonalds.smallbusiness", etc (as each hypothetical TLD comes online) - and local domains "mcdonalds.co.uk", "mcdonalds.de", "mcdonalds.us", and so on.

Very few of the readers of this blog will be in a financial position to do all of that.


enom is hyping ".family", ".live", ".rocks", and ".social" - this week.



Your uniqueness strategy should include content.

You will have to develop a "uniqueness" strategy based on content - not solely on the address. You will need to understand that your blog may lose traffic, from people who know the blog "name" - but may not remember if "yourname" is a ".com", ".net", or ".us".

Of course, if you publish only to "blogspot", you will automatically have "yourname.blogspot.com", "yourname.blogspot.co.uk", "yourname.blogspot.de", and so on. You won't have "yourname.com", "yourname.net", and "yourname.us", however - unless you pay for the privilege.

Are you getting a feeling for the complexity of the branding issue? Good. Concentrate on content. The search engines index your blog - and provide you traffic - based on informative, interesting, and unique content.

Google denies the value of vanity domains, for raw SEO.

AdWeek weighs the issue, in What’s in a Name on Social?.

When it comes to vanity domains, Google has long denied that they affect search rankings. Their in-house tech team advised way back that registering a vanity domain for the sheer, hopeful sake of page rankings would be a fool’s errand. But there’s a solid number of marketers that disagree, and they watch these things very closely. Chalk it up to wishful thinking, if you like, but time will tell. And there are only so many .com domains available.

Only time will tell. I suggest that you keep your traffic and uniqueness strategy diverse. Don't depend upon a vanity domain, alone, for search reputation and traffic.

For best results, keep it in perspective.

Consider the name issue, if you want. But keep it in perspective. Blogger blogs will benefit from well written and unique content - as much as from a carefully chosen name / URL.



Some #Blogger blog owners are intent on publishing a blog to a custom domain, using a top level domain that relates to the blog subject. They do this, hoping to have a unique blog name.

They may overlook the idea that Blogger blogs benefit from well written and unique content, as much as from a shiny and unique URL.

Dude, hit me with a comment!

Scotts Contracting said...

Depends on Content and the planned End Results. Not everyone will click a "blogspot.com" link either. Many have asked me in the past whats that Scotty?...blogspot... More people are blogging now that was 7 years ago-(obviously)....I've done it both ways and now prefer: vanity names- "originality".

Chuck Croll said...

Good point, Scotty!

That said, if we use a custom domain - either one of the classical 6 gTLDs ("com", "edu", "gov", "mil", "net", "org"), or a vTLD - as a cloaking device, what happens when our readers figure that out?

A Blogger blog is a Blogger blog, whether published to "blogspot.com", to "blogging.nitecruzr.net", or to "blog.electrohemp.org" (or maybe "blog.growers.hemp" one day?). We need to clean up Blogger reputation - not hide "blogspot.com".

So vanity domains - and vanity license plates - have their purpose. I'll simply suggest that the practical value of either may not be as shiny as people think.