January 6, 2013 at 7:48 am #9912
Thanks so much for the information Bill. Do you have a tool that you would suggest using to determine if a EMD is more effective than others?
DarleneJanuary 6, 2013 at 9:37 am #9923
One thing that you can do is to use Google’s keyword tool to check the search volumes for terms. See Google Adwords top menu Tools & Analysis->Keyword Tool. Be sure to use exact matches (see Match Type in the left sidebar) and only data from your local area (configurable under Advanced Options), because your terms could exist in many English speaking countries. The more common your term is, the more narrow you have to be in defining “local”. This is especially true of RE where town names are not unique and most searches for RE agents are very local. Rank the list from highest search traffic to lowest. Ask yourself if having a better shot (not a guarantee, just a better shot) at winning more of this traffic is worth the effort of setting up multiple domains. If the volume of even the top terms is too small to justify the work, stop at this step and focus on your personal brand domain. Don’t count on the web delivering a big share of your business early on.
If the traffic is large enough to go onto the next step, look at your domains and evaluate where you have an EMD. If you have an exact match on the #1 term, great. It’s more likely your EMD is a match on lower-ranked terms in the list. In that case, you’ll have to loop back to the first step now that you know the potential benefit of your EMD’s, and ask yourself if the effort is worth it.
Always keep in mind that this about winning a bigger share of the traffic for those terms and winning that share more quickly. Having a great EMD name is not the only thing you need to do to win a bigger share, and it’s not even the most important thing (having great content is the most important). It’s just an advantage to help you win that bigger traffic share. All of this leads to an even bigger problem, which is how to turn a big traffic share into revenue. For 1 IDX setup that I did (largely using this approach), the IDX site very quickly got a lot of traffic and dominated a lot of local searches. However, the agent found that a lot of those IDX leads weren’t worth much, because they were either a) renters or b) using online tools to avoid working with an agent. So his sites have made him rich in leads, just not rich in $.
January 6, 2013 at 11:38 am #9949
Bill I have spent the last few hours doing what you suggested (checking keyword searches) and trying to register domains with many already taken but I did find a few interesting ones still available.
I just registered the following:
The search engine results were interesting. The MLSListingsinOakville keywords has a lot of competition but with 1,000 local hits. MLSOakvilleListings also has 1,000. RealEstateListingsOakville has 720 local hits.
Do you think any of these sound like good generic choices?
DarleneJanuary 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm #9952
Are those exact match results? You always want to be sure to only look at exact match results when using that tool for this purpose. Short domain names are better because they are easier to remember and type. However, that declines in importance when thinking about organic search traffic since no one will remember or type the domain – they’ll just click through a search engine link.
I’d have a slight preference for MLSOakvilleListings because “in” is probably a stop word (you can Google stop words if you’re not familiar with the term) and because that is slightly shorter. I’d also see if you can get data on the trends for those terms over time; one term might be growing in importance while another can be on decline. Your approach to snapping up those domains isn’t crazy if you did it defensively, ie, to block someone else from piggybacking on your approach by using a similar name. You should pick 1 of those domains with the goal of having a short name, no hyphens, and the one with the best traffic pattern; hold the others.
Then, ask yourself the all important question: what is it worth to me to get a big chunk of the visitors searching for the keyword phrases you researched? Keep in mind, these leads might be of very little value initially, because someone typing in “MLS Oakville Listings” in a search engine is likely to be either a) very early in the search process, b) have no desire to use a buyers agent, or c) another agent too lazy to get on the MLS. One agent that I worked with gets about 20 calls from agents each week that found info on a search engine and assume he is the listing agent because of an lDX link that shows up when they could have gotten MLS info directly (assuming their subscription was current). Also, your site will get a lot more traffic than just the traffic for the terms you are identifying if you set up an IDX properly. Many searches are address specific, where a buyer drives by a house and later searches for the street or the address. Those aren’t really measurable using the keyword tool because of the changing mix of listings. The keyword rich traffic that drove your domain name purchase will probably end up being around 10% of your overall site traffic.
That’s how you’ll determine how to move forward.
January 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm #9960
All good points. The domains I noted (especially the 2) and their number of hits were exact hits numbers.
My name is Darlene Darragh and I registered that domain a long while back but abbreviations are gone Darlene.com, Dar.com, DarleneSells.com, DarSells.com. Since my last name is a bit hard to spell I was hoping to abbreviate but I am not sure that is going to work so for my branded site I may have to use my full name. I will develop it and put content on it and link it back to another site using a more search friendly URL. So many are gone already for real estate.
The ones I chose did seem to have according to the Google analytics have what appeared to be a good number of local hits but keeping in mind what you said re: ‘in’ being a stop word. Good point.
I was also thinking of BestOakvilleAgent.com – what do you think?
Within my posts I will use these keywords to hopefully also rank higherJanuary 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm #9961This reply has been marked as private.January 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm #9962
Also, if you are in Canada and selling homes in Canada then having a site hosted on the ccTLD for Canada (.ca) and hosted on a server in that region (a server in Canada) will give you a bump in ranking for searches originating out of Canada. It’s great to have both the .ca and the .com, but from a SEO perspective if you want an extra bump in ranking in search results the .ca will actually add benefit here if the unique content is developed on it. This is the only time the extension of a domain really matters. This would be a hard call for me since .com is king, but if you are building on a keyword heavy domain name, targeting Canada, and mainly using SEO as your advertising vehicle, then I would try my hand at using a .ca! Best of luck!January 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm #9963
Thanks so much. Would you suggest then using the .ca and pointing the .com to the .ca – although I think my server is U.S. based so would the .ca still help then.January 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm #9964
I think my server is U.S. based so would it help with the .ca and pointing a .com to the .caJanuary 6, 2013 at 4:25 pm #9982
I think you are better off sticking with the .com and just hold the .ca for now without redirecting it. I haven’t seen any studies that show a big benefit to targeting Canada with a .ca.
On the location of your server, it comes down to the impact on speed, since speed impacts where you rank on a SERP. There is a fair bit of cross-continent latency but I haven’t seen data on latency within North America. I did some quick tests on this; see results below. Europe to US or vice versa adds too much time, so if you are in Europe, you really need to have your server in Europe. The speed testing service webpagetest.org does support doing tests from Canadian locations. So you could test any site that’s on your server from 1 of the supported Canadian locations or your market area and then re-test from US locations on the same side of the Mississippi River as your server location. Then compare the times on a # of repeated tests. If you find a lot of latency for Canadian visitors to a US server, you’d be best served by hosting in Canada. If latency is not a problem, you can host where you like in North America.
For reference, I run a managed WP hosting service. I ran 10 speed tests from Toronto and Dulles , VA using settings of IE8 and FIOS to our AgentPress demo site which has a page weight of about 570k. The 10 tests from Toronto had a median of 918 ms (a little over 9/10 of a second) and the 10 tests from Dulles had a median of 336 ms (a little more than 3/10 of 1 second). I also tested the StudioPress AgentPress demo site (essentially the same content as our demo) and got median results for Toronto and Dulles of 1407 ms and 548 ms respectively. Our hosting service is in Newark, NJ; the StudioPress demo lands at MediaTemple near Ashburn, VA which is next to Dulles, VA.
Those hardly conclusive results suggest 2 things: 1) there is some evidence of latency between US and Canada, which here was about 600 ms, or 6/10 of a second, for us and more for the StudioPress demo and 2) if the StudioPress demo runs on Synthesis (their hosting platform), then we were over 34% faster to Canada and 38% faster to the US. I like being faster
January 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm #10004
I have a reseller account with Hostgator that I am currently using. I have registered some .ca but I think I will use the .com for now as our local agents seem to use the .com more.
I did find a domain I think I like for the general – LuxuryOakvilleProperties.com that I may use for the main site and for my branding site I am still a bit torn as any abbreviation to my name are gone so I may use YourOakvilleRealtor.com. I am not sure about pointing my DarleneDarragh.com domain to this – I know you suggested not pointing but Darragh is too hard a last name for many to remember and any domain with Darlene seems taken. What do you think? I don’t have an issue building more than one site and linking content back and forth to each site at least until I get known – which you mentioned could take awhile.January 6, 2013 at 10:09 pm #10041
The domain “YourOakvilleRealtor.com” doesn’t really work to brand your personal name. It could be your general site, but which is the best comes back to the analysis you were doing.
You’ve mentioned several times about pointing 1 domain to another. That is a bad idea. Do you have a site at DarleneDarragh.com? Does it have a lot of incoming links and traffic? If so, you should keep it and build from there. If you simply own the domain but don’t have a live site at that address or have a site with little or no traffic, it’s still your name and therefore a decent spot for your personal brand site.
January 8, 2013 at 9:14 am #10350
I can use the darlenedarragh.com as my branded site and then create a real estate site using one of the domains registered but I guess the question is really YourOakvilleRealtor.com does not have great Seo on it but may be a URL people remember vs some of the other domains that had higher hits based on the keywords as noes in previous replies in this forum.January 8, 2013 at 9:26 am #10352
Here’s the challenge to darlenedarragh.com vs YourOakvilleRealtor.com. YourOakvilleRealtor.com works fine if you stick to Oakville and never move. What if Oakville becomes sluggish, but Bigtown, the new boomtoom just next door, has a smoking hot RE market? Your site is focused on Oakville, so you stagnate while others dominate Bigtown. What if you decide to move to a new area without an Oakville? Your domain name would be a hindrance rather than a help.
If you think your name is too long or hard to remember, try to come up with some catchy alternatives and use them in your promotional material and on your site. Example: thedarlene.com. Yes, it’s less focused on your full name and it requires you spend some $ for graphics/promotion for that catchy alternative, but it is more flexible.
If you like YourOakvilleRealtor.com, you could consider using it as the name for your listing site. As you pointed out, it has fewer hits, so the benefit isn’t as big, but it will help you on the keyword “Oakville Realtor”. This isn’t an exact science, so after weighing the pros and cons intelligently, you just have to go with what feels right.
January 8, 2013 at 9:35 am #10360
Bill has a good point. Why not something like DarleneSells.com or DarlaneSellsHomes.com or DarlenesHome.com
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