AskPat 163 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Oooeee! What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 163 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm in a great mood. I hope you are in a great mood, too.
Before we get to today's question from Isaac, which is about keywords in your domain name, something that I have a lot of thought about, I do want to get today's sponsor and thank Lynda.com. This is L-Y-N-D-A .com. For those of you who don't know about this site, are you living under a rock? Because Lynda.com is such an amazing platform for learning anything. I've been using it myself to learn about how to use my DSLR camera better, but you could use it and access to over 100,000 different videos for teaching from anything about business or audio, development and designing, photography, video. There's a ton of stuff on there. If you want to get a free trial, you can actually get a free trial for seven days; head on over to Lynda.com/askpat. It's seriously the best learning platform online, and Cliff Ravenscraft and a bunch of other people have shared it with me in the past. I'm really happy they're our sponsor for the show, because they are amazing. Again, Lynda.com/askpat.
Now, let's get to today's question from Isaac.
Isaac: Hey, Pat; Isaac. Had a quick question for you. My question has to do with domain names. I currently have a website, but I think I could actually get a better domain name with certain keywords that would help with SEO and help with people searching for my particular site. So, I guess my question is, how important is it to have keywords in your domain name, and how difficult is it to switch domain names when you've already got one going for you? Thanks for all you do, and looking forward to hearing this on the next AskPat. Thanks, buddy.
Pat Flynn: Isaac, thank you so much for your question today. Keywords in your domain name: this was a hot topic and it's always a hot topic, because we're all starting new sites, and we all want the best domain name for our site. So, do we go with one that is more specific toward the keywords that people are going to search for, or one that is more brandable or easier to remember or things like that? There's a lot of things involved with choosing the right domain name for your business. And I will say that having keywords in your domain name used to be, this is back in, before 2012 and even 2013, it used to be important in terms of SEO. If you had a keyword that you're targeting in your domain name, Google would give you of SEO love, lots of search engine ranking love, because it just sort of meant that your site was about that thing. So, of course, they ranked it higher, but they realized that people started to just target those keywords in their domain name and got actually a lot more weight than they should have, because a lot of those people who put their keyword in their domain weren't actually doing a good job of providing value for people who eventually ended up on their site. So, they took away the sort of bonus for having the keyword in your domain name, from especially an SEO standpoint.
So, that doesn't weigh much in the algorithm anymore. However, I will say that it still does help. It still does help. A lot of people know that, for my site, Smart Passive Income, for example. It is a brand. It's Smart Passive Income, and people call it SPI now, which is pretty cool. But it also has the keywords “passive income,” and I specifically chose those keywords; this is back in 2008 when I started it, because I wanted people to know what the site was about, which is important. And that's one key thing that I'm going to talk about in just a second, but also because when people link to the site, when you write an article that's great or people end up linking to it, they're going to use the name of your site in their anchor text. And if it actually includes those keywords, Google does count that as sort of a strong vote coming from another person's site to your site, and if it has those anchor texts, it's very relevant coming through. So, that does help you. And because, for example, Smart Passive Income includes “passive income,” and people link to my site and use Smart Passive Income to link to my site off of their site, it actually does help for SEO purposes. So, in that regard, it does help.
Now, what I was saying before, there are actually people reading your site. So, you've got to make sure that when you choose your domain name, you don't just choose it for SEO purposes. And, you know, it's still beneficial to have a keyword in your domain name, but I wouldn't force it. If it doesn't make sense or you can't find the right keyword or those domain names are already taken, I wouldn't stress over it too much anymore. The thing is, if you had a site, for example, that was just perfect for search engines, but it was not very attractive, not very brandable, then you might be kicking yourself in the butt later, because you'd be building something for search engines and not for people. You've got to think about it from what a visitor is going to see and what they're going to think about your site when they come across your page.
So, you've got to weigh your options. Write down as many different ideas that you have. Do your keyword research. It's still smart to do that. Even if you don't end up using a primary or secondary keyword in your domain name, you can still target those keywords on your site, in articles, in categories, in sections and things like that. So, it's important to know what those are, before you ever create a site. However, it's not quite as important to include them in your domain name. Again, I wouldn't force them in there if you didn't have to. There's a lot of amazing blogs out there who through providing value with their great content and targeting the right keywords in their posts and articles and podcast episodes have been able to rank really high for target keywords, even though their domain name does not have those keywords. One that easily comes to mind is ViperChill.com. What is a “viper chill?” I have no idea. Do snakes get cold or something? Who knows, but ViperChill.com ranks really high for a lot of key terms out there related to building an online business, viral marketing, writing guest posts, SEO, and things like that. A great tool you could use, before I forget, is SEMrush.com. Again, SEMrush.com. And just type in any site that you know that may not have a keyword in the domain name. I mean, even Lynda.com, our sponsor for today. What is Lynda.com? Who knows. It doesn't say anything about what it does, but when arrive on the site, they know exactly what it's about. And that is the most important thing: no matter what the domain name is, if people know what the site is about when they get there, they're going to stay on. They're not going to bounce. Bounce actually meaning they, well, there's different definitions for bounce, right? Google Analytics has one. Clicky has another. Clicky's is my favorite in terms of, they understand that if the person is on your site for more than 30 seconds, they're actually consuming content and getting value from it. If they arrive on your site and leave and don't click through anything within the first 30 seconds, then that counts as a bounce. The whole purpose of me talking about bounce is because the higher your bounce rate, the less performance you'll have in the search engines, because Google pays attention to that. They know that if a person comes to your site and sticks around, that means your site is probably useful. Again, going back to Lynda.com, and they're getting sort of extra promotion here using them as an example, but it's perfect because, what's a Lynda.com? I don't even know what that means. And it's even spelled differently, L-Y-N-D-A, but it's such a good site, and you kind of get an example of what it's about when you get there, when people share it, when people talk about it, when people link to it. I mean, everybody's doing that naturally, because it's so good.
So, no matter what your domain name is, make sure you're always providing the best value in content you can for people. And also a great first impression, again, to keep your bounce rate as low as possible. So, again, going back to SEMrush, put in any domain in there. Actually, let me go to SEMrush right now. SEMrush.com. I'm going to put Lynda.com in there just to see what happens. L-Y-N-D-A.com. This will tell me certain keywords that it's ranking for. So, if you go to SEMrush.com and you type in any domain name, it'll tell you a lot of information about it. If you go to the keyword research tab on the back and look at—oh, no, there's a tab on the left-hand side called an “organic research.” If you type in positions there, it'll tell you immediately, already I can see 35,000 keywords are getting people to come over to Lynda.com. So, that's a lot. They rank number one for, obviously, Lynda and Lynda.com, but they also rank really high for Final Cut Pro, for Vizio 00:08:37, for Illustrator, for InDesign, for AdWords. Then I have to pay SEMrush more if I want to see more, but those are part of the top 10 there. And so you can see they're ranking quite high. They're ranking on the first page for a lot of terms that have, that doesn't say, “Lynda” in it.
So, the idea, again, being that you don't have to have a keyword in your domain name. But if you don't have a keyword in your domain name, you're going to have to do some work in terms of helping your audience understand what it's about. And, again, of course, when you do that, when people share your amazing content, they're going to share what your site's about or they're going to share what your site is about with their followers, with their fans, with their readers, subscribers before they get there. So, they'll have an idea already.
So, whew. Isaac, I hope that answers your question. Oh, you had a second question. How difficult is it to switch over? It's actually a little bit technical. I mean, you can obviously buy a domain name if you're switching over to a new one. The process works like this; I've done it before, and quick story: I did it when I got a cease-and-desist letter from the United States Green Building Council after using a trademark that they had, LEED, L-E-E-D, in the domain name that I had. I got the cease-and-desist letter back in 2009, and so, you know, after freaking out initially and not really knowing what was going on, because I was just getting into business, I connected with a lawyer and he basically said, well, I couldn't use LEED in my domain name. They were fine with the business I was running. I just had to change my domain name.
So, what we did, and after connecting with somebody who technically knew how to do this, essentially what you've got to do is create a brand new copy of your site. So, copy your site, put it on a brand new domain name, so it's out there and everything's the same. And then you do what's called a permanent 3-0 run, 3-0-1, did I say that weird? A permanent 301 redirect. If you don't know how to do this, I recommend hiring somebody to do it for you just so it's done right. But what is does is it essentially tells Google whenever people come to the old domain that they're going to go to the new one, and that that is actually where it's supposed to go. And over time—it only takes maybe about a month or even less than a month—Google will start to rank your new site where your old site used to rank. It sort of replaces it. Again, that's a permanent 301 redirect. Also, when people go to your old domain name, they'll be automatically redirected to your new one as well. So, that's how you do it. Yes, it is a little bit technical, so hire somebody or use your developer that you have on board to do that for you. 301 permanent redirect.
All right, Isaac, I hope that answers your question. Thanks so much, and an AskPat t-shirt is going to be headed your way for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com, and of course, check out the archive at AskPat.com to see all the 162 other questions that I've answered for all of you in the past.
Thanks again to today's awesome sponsor, which is Lynda.com. I talked a lot about them today, using them as an example for a great company who ranks really well, because they know what they're doing. What they do well is they create easy-to-follow video tutorials for a ton of different things. These videos are really high quality. They bring people into their studio and they teach you something. It's not like homemade videos or YouTube videos like that. They're broken up into bite-size pieces so you can learn at your own pace. Again, I am subscribed, and I'm learning about how to use my DSLR camera right now, but there's a lot of other courses I can't wait to go through either. If you'd like to get a seven-day free trial, go to Lynda.com/askpat.
Thanks so much, and as always, I like to end with a quote. Today's quote is from Jay Baer from Convince and Convert, which is an awesome name, and even his name is awesome. Jay Baer. His quote is, “A lot of companies are still using social media as the world's shortest press release.” You don't do that. You don't want to treat it as a press release and just announce, announce, announce, announce, announce. You want to make it social, interact with people, and that's what Jay Baer's talking about. Thanks, Jay. Thanks to all of you listening. You rock. See you in the next episode of AskPat. Peace.
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