Everything You Need To Know About Voice Search

Voice search is one of the biggest topics in digital marketing right now. But it’s also one of the most misunderstood.

Today, over 40% of U.S. adults perform at least one voice search each month. And according to Google, 20% of searches on mobile devices are now conducted by voice. What’s more, there are over 40 million U.S. homes with smart speakers, a number that’s rapidly growing.

In short, there’s a huge market for voice search — and that market is getting larger every year.

But in spite of this growth, voice search hasn’t had the game-changing impact on search engine marketing that many people were predicting two or three years ago. Weirdly enough, voice search remains something of an afterthought for most brands.

The fact is, voice search plays a big role in modern search and search marketing. So it’s worth understanding how voice search functions, why it’s so popular, and how brands should react as the market for voice search gets bigger and bigger.

Voice Search Is Growing at a Rapid Rate

Over the past decade or so, voice search has grown at a mind-boggling rate. In the period of 2008 to 2016, voice search volumes grew by a factor of 35! And that number’s still growing.

To understand voice search and how it fits into the digital marketing landscape, you need to understand what’s driving this growth. That means looking at the devices used for voice search, as well as the demographics using these devices.

Recent Growth Driven by Smart Speakers

Much of the growth in voice search over the past few years has come from smart speakers, like Google Home or Amazon Echo. 

Today, roughly 20% of American households contain a smart speaker, and they remain a hot button item. In fact, Amazon says that it sold more units of the Amazon Echo than any other product during the 2018 holiday season.

While some households are hesitant to adopt smart speakers, their owners rarely look back. Roughly two-thirds of Google Home and Amazon Echo owners can’t imagine life without these devices.

How quickly will smart speaker usage grow over the next few years? According to one study, more than half of all U.S. households could have a smart speaker by as early as 2022.

Sandy Nichols, Sr. Web Manager at Qiigo says,

“Qiigo has a new team member named Alexa! Having a device like this in the office helps our teams test theories, measure results, and understand the impact of different content optimization methods. Our clients already benefit from our local marketing efforts, so adding voice search optimization is a natural addition to the Qiigo family of services.

Voice Search Usage Highest with Younger Users

Another sign that voice search is due for continued growth? Its popularity among younger users. Millennials use digital assistants at more than 2x the rate of Gen Xers and more than 3x the rate of Baby Boomers. 

What’s more, voice search is growing even faster among Generation Z. In one survey, more than 50% of teenagers report regular use of voice search technologies.

Voice Search Is Changing the Way We Search

Voice search isn’t just making up a larger share of the search market. It’s literally changing the way that people search.

When you compare voice queries to text queries, there’s a noticeable difference in the way people search. This means that as voice search increases, we’re seeing different types of queries and keywords take over.

We’re also seeing people switch the way that they conduct certain types of searches. Voice search has had an outsized impact on local search habits in particular, and it’s reshaping the e-commerce landscape.

Search Queries

The more popular voice search becomes, the more conversational search queries become.

Let’s say you’re looking for a fast-casual restaurant. Using text search, you’re typing something like “best cheap restaurant near me” into Google. But with voice search, that query will sound something like this: “Okay, Google. What’s the best restaurant nearby if I want something cheap?”

This example shows a few of the ways that voice search has changed the kinds of queries searchers use.

  • Natural Speech. When people use text search, they modify their queries, reducing them to basic keywords. But when people use voice search, they tend to adopt a more conversational tone, using more elements of natural speech.
  • Longer Queries. Voice search queries tend to run longer than queries that use text search. That’s partly due to more natural speech, which can change a one-word keyword like “cheap” into a conditional phrase like “if I want something cheap”?
  • Question Formats. Most text queries break Jeopardy’s golden rule: they don’t use the form of a question. Yet when people use voice search, more than 15% of queries contain one of the words “how,” “what,” “where, “when,” “why,” or “who.”

Search Results

In addition to changing search queries, voice search is also changing search results.

One side-effect of increased voice search has been a greater emphasis on Google’s Knowledge Graph and Featured Snippets. When users ask queries in the form of a question, Google is more likely to return a Knowledge Graph or Featured Snippet result.

Another side-effect has been more of a winner-take-all approach. When users conduct a text search, they receive a list of search results. But when they conduct a voice query, search engines typically return only one result. Second and third ranking slots, which remain valuable on text search, offer negligible value on voice search.

Local Search

Voice search is much more common on mobile devices than desktop. Likewise, mobile users are more likely than desktop users to conduct local searches. So it’s only natural that voice search has a high rate of local queries.

What’s surprising is how high this rate actually is. According to Google, voice queries on Android devices are 3x as likely to have local intent. As a result, voice search is playing a bigger and bigger role in local search and local SEO.


Another area where voice search has had a big impact is e-commerce. One projection says that, by 2022, voice search e-commerce will be a $40B market. A lot of this market will be driven by Amazon devices, which integrate seamlessly with the retail giant’s e-commerce platform.

Yet as important as voice search will be to e-commerce, it’s not going to dominate the market for online sales. In 2018, e-commerce sales exceeded $500B. By 2022, voice search sales are projected to reach $40B which might only represent 5% of the total e-commerce market.

Voice Search Is Changing SEO (But Not as Much as You’d Think)

Over the past couple of years, there’s been a lot of talk about how voice search will change SEO. After all, voice search changes the type of queries that people make. It also changes the type of search results they see. Doesn’t that mean you need a different type of SEO?

Thankfully, voice search hasn’t been the SEO game-changer that some people thought it would be. That can be chalked up to a number of factors, including:

  • Google updated its search algorithm to RankBrain. RankBrain determines the intent behind a query, regardless of how the query is phrased.
  • Despite the rising popularity of voice search, a number of experts overestimated the pace and rate of adoption.
  • Currently, best practices for voice search optimization are similar — and often identical — to best practices for organic SEO and local SEO.

That said, if you run a local business or see a lot of organic traffic from voice search, you’ll need to incorporate voice search to your overall SEO strategy. Let Qiigo help you navigate through the importance of voice search for SEO. Contact us today to learn more.

Everything You Need to Know About Google Job Search

When you’re searching for a new job, where do you look first? While some job seekers head to sites like Monster or Glassdoor, a lot of candidates — if not most — start their search with Google.

The launch of Google Jobs in the summer of 2017 reshaped the landscape for sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Monster. These sites depend on Google for a huge chunk of traffic, so they had to adapt quickly to this change. To do so, many of these websites decided to integrate their postings directly into Google’s new search engine, ensuring they appeared in search results.

But Google’s job search also affected other businesses, like staffing firms, recruiting companies, and employers who post jobs to their own websites. Unfortunately, many of these businesses have struggled to adapt. Their job postings either rank poorly on Google, or they don’t rank at all.

If you’re one of these businesses, you’re probably losing out on a huge chunk of qualified applicants. To regain these candidates, you’ll need to rank well on Google job search. And to do that, you’ll need an SEO strategy tailored specifically for Google’s job search engine.

The good news? That’s not nearly as tough as it sounds…

How Google Job Search Works

Before we get to how your job postings can rank well on Google, let’s take a look at how this service functions.

While Google uses a distinct search engine for job postings, this service is integrated into the company’s main search engine. This means that when a user searches for jobs using Google, they get slightly different search results.

  • While the user will still see the usual organic search results, they will also see a “Jobs” panel above the organic results. This panel will include the three top-ranked job listings. The job listings include basic information, like the job title, the job location, and the site on which the job was posted.
  • If the user clicks on a job listing (or clicks on the link for “more jobs”), they are taken to a separate page of search results. On this page, they can view job details for individual listings. If a user is interested in applying for a job, they can click a button that allows them to view the job posting on its original website.

That might seem fairly simple. Where things get a little more complicated is on the back-end.

One of the key features of Google’s job search engine is the information that it includes for each job listing. To ensure this information is accurate and complete, Google relies on structured data markup. This means that your job postings won’t appear in these search results if they don’t include the right kinds of markup.

On a very basic level, this means you have two options if you want your job postings to appear on Google:

  1. You can post your jobs on a site like Monster, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. These sites are integrated into Google’s search engine, so their postings automatically include the right markup.
  2. You can implement markup on job postings by yourself, either through in-house efforts or with the help of an outside agency. This means you’ll be responsible for including the right markup.

Whichever route you choose, you’ll need to do further work on your posts. Even if you include the right kinds of markup, you won’t rank well unless you’ve taken further steps to optimize your job posts. That requires a specialized form of SEO designed specifically for Google job search.

Optimizing for Google Job Search

search algorithm picture

Search engine optimization for Google job search is a niche form of SEO, similar to local SEO or eCommerce SEO. You’re targeting a specialized search engine, which requires a unique SEO approach.

Given the specialized nature of Google job search, you can’t rely on generic SEO strategies. While job search SEO uses some of the same strategies, job postings won’t rank with basic SEO methods.

We’ve compiled a few steps that we take when optimizing our multi-location brand clients SEO strategy for Google job search:

  • Essential Markup. There are eight types of structured data markup that Google’s job search engine requires. If any of these tags are missing or incorrect, Google will exclude the job posting from search results.
  • Additional Markup. There are several other types of markup that you can include in job postings. Strategic use of additional markup can boost your rankings in Google job search. However, it’s important that any additional markup is both relevant and properly implemented.
  • Keyword Targeting. As with any other form of SEO, you need to target the right search terms. First, you’ll need a sense of which terms job seekers are using to search for the types of jobs you offer. After that, you’ll need to include these terms in the right parts of your job postings.
  • User Experience. Google’s search algorithm will rank job postings based on how useful and relevant those postings are to users. Top-ranked postings will be easy to read, include detailed information, and answer job seekers’ most pressing questions about the position.
  • Campaign Tracking. Google Analytics now includes specific tools for tracking the performance of job postings. However, many third-party SEO tools aren’t built for job search. Chances are, you’ll need to set up a DIY system for tracking your job search campaigns.

Given the distinct nature of Google job search, you’ll need specialized talent if you want to optimize your job postings. If recruitment plays a critical role in your multi-location brand strategy, connect with one of our digital marketing experts  to learn more about our SEO and Google job search solutions.

Website Design with SEO in Mind: What You Need to Know

Most business owners know that search engine optimization (SEO) is important to the health of their website, but many don’t realize that SEO needs to be an integral part of website design from the get-go, not something that’s added as an afterthought.


Why? At its core, an SEO-friendly website will allow search engines to easily read pages across your site. The easier it is for a search engine to “crawl” and understand your site content, the better your website’s rankings in the search engine result pages.


But building a website that’s SEO-friendly and accurately represents your business and services takes careful planning, and can be complicated for businesses that have a difficult time documenting exactly what they do. So first things first.


If your website hasn’t been created around a digital marketing plan with a clear value proposition and business model, revisit that before anything else. If that’s all good, let’s continue.


Creating an SEO-Friendly Website

So how do you ensure that you cover all your SEO bases during website design, or redesign?


Here’s what you need to know about creating an SEO-friendly website:


Cover the Fundamentals:

  • Hosting – If your site is slow, your visitors will be unhappy and leave your page in the blink of an eye. Make sure your hosting follows these basic rules: be where your audience is, be fast, and be platform-specific when needed.
  • Domains – Your domain should make sense and relate to what you do, and all variations and subdomains should point at your main site.
  • CMS – The content management system (CMS) can greatly influence your success. With that in mind, choose the CMS that’s right for your needs, not the one a web company prefers.


Make Crawling Easy for Search Engines:

  • Indexation – Search engines need to read content to understand your site. For this reason, the primary content of your site should remain text-based, not images, flash, or video. Images, PDFs, videos, and content are also important and can be a great source of traffic for your site, but they need to be indexable.
  • Link structure – To index content beyond the homepage, you’ll need internal links that search engines can crawl. Tools like XML sitemaps, search engine directives, and your primary navigation can all help search engines discover new pages and crawl your site.


Structure Your Site So It’s Easy To Understand:

  • Categories, subcategories, and pages – These should be organized in a way that makes sense to users and search engines, with a clear and direct path. For most websites, a 3 to 4 level approach, where content can be easily reached within 3 to 4 clicks, works best.
  • URLs – Much like categories, subcategories, and pages, URLs can give further context to the information available. Follow a naming convention that makes it easy for users and search engines to understand.
  • Navigation – Equally important, navigation works with the structure, the URLs, and other components to help explain what each page is about. It can be easy to get wrong, and should be carefully considered before building your site. Great navigation will be easy for users to understand, and require little thinking on their part. Ensure your navigation is aa easy and natural as possible to prevent user frustration and confusion.


Bottom line? If your website is designed with SEO in mind, users and search engines will be able to quickly navigate and understand what your site is about, leading to happy users and better Google rankings.



How Important Is HTTPS in SEO Marketing?

HTTPS in SEO MarketingFor the past three years, Google has been pushing webmasters to shift from HTTP to HTTPS. This is part of their attempt to make the web more secure. One of the ways they’ve encouraged this change is by making HTTPS a ranking factor in Google search. But there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how important HTTPS is for SEO marketing.


Some recent data suggest that HTTPS plays a big role in modern SEO. For instance, only 1% of the web currently uses HTTPS, but roughly 40% of all first page results on Google are HTTPS pages.


That suggests that HTTPS is a huge ranking factor for SEO. But when you dig a little deeper, the picture gets slightly more complicated. In fact, some people maintain that HTTPS is more or less an SEO non-factor. Confused? You won’t be by the end of this post.


Understanding HTTP vs. HTTPS

Before diving into the role that HTTPS plays in SEO marketing, here’s a quick guide to what it actually is.


HTTP stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol.” Historically, HTTP is the way that websites create a connection to transmit data to users. Unfortunately, this connection is unprotected. HTTPS, on the other hand, stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.” Unlike HTTP, it actually protects the website-to-user connection.


This is accomplished with SSL certification. On an HTTPS website, an SSL certificate secures the connection between the website and the user, using a security key. This security key authenticates the connection, encrypts transmitted data, and prevents hackers from exploiting this connection.


HTTPS protection is particularly valuable on certain websites. On ecommerce sites, an HTTPS connection prevents payment information from being stolen. The same is true of any website where a user is entering sensitive information or engaging in private communication. If you download files from a website, an HTTPS can also prevent hackers from corrupting the files during transmission.


While most websites don’t necessarily need this level of protection, it has been Google’s policy since 2014 to encourage HTTPS as the standard protocol for the modern web. To encourage HTTPS adoption, they announced that it would become an SEO ranking factor.


The question is how important has HTTPS been to SEO marketing since 2014? And how important is it in 2017 specifically?

The Importance of HTTPS for SEO

Since 2014, a number of SEO marketing experts have had the chance to measure the effect of HTTPS on SEO. Most analyses have found that HTTPS, on its own, has a marginal effect on rankings. This aligns with Google official position, which they gave in 2015, stating that HTTPS acts as a kind of “tie-breaker.” If two sites are equally ranked, but one uses HTTPS and the other doesn’t, the HTTPS site will rank first.


However, some SEO marketing studies have found that HTTPS gives a small boost to all websites, not just cases where Google needs a tie-breaker. The teams running these studies have seen cases where lower-ranked websites were able to leapfrog closely-ranked competitors thanks to an HTTPS connection.


Part of the reason for this might be the other ranking factors that HTTPS is tied to. HTTPS causes pages to load faster. Page speed is a well-known ranking factor. Users are also more likely to trust HTTPS pages, so these pages might have better user engagement signal.


So how is it that 40% of all first-page results use HTTPS, when only 1% of the entire web has adopted this protocol? The simple answer is that 1% happens to include most the web’s biggest and most trafficked websites: major brands, news sources, social networks, etc. These sites need to be secure, so they were some of HTTPS’s first adopters. At the same time, these sites already have a huge edge in SEO marketing. So even if it seems like HTTPS is giving them a huge boost in the rankings, they’re mostly ranking well because they’re doing everything else right.


6-Point Healthy Website Checklist

Your business website is the number one source for information about your business online. So, it pays to run regular checks on the health of your website. This six-point healthy website checklist is an excellent tool for running a health check on your brand’s website. Covering six key areas — including factors like site integrations, design, and content — this website checklist will help you assess the overall health of your website and identify areas that need to be addressed.

1. Basic Integrations

It is crucial that your website has proper integrations with Google’s core webmaster and analytics tools, along with any other integrations needed for further optimization.

Check for:

  • Is your site integrated with Google Analytics?
  • Is your site integrated with Google Search Console?
  • Are your business and website registered through Google My Business?
  • Do you have a complete XML sitemap?
  • Have you submitted your XML sitemap to Google and Bing?
  • Is your site fully SEO-enabled?

2. Site Design

Good design should be intuitive and seamless. Users rarely notice a well-designed website, but they definitely notice when design is critically flawed. Keep users and search engines happy by creating and maintaining a user-friendly site.

Check for:

  • Does your site have mobile-friendly design?
  • Do all key pages have user-friendly URLs?
  • Is your site free of site speed and load time issues?
  • Can users easily and intuitively navigate your site?
  • Do you have alt-text in place for images and transcripts in place for videos?
  • Is your site free of broken links, or missing images/videos?

3. Basic SEO

Every website should have SEO basics in place to make it is accessible to search engines like Google. Poor SEO can strip your site out of Google’s search results, making it difficult for users to find your website, even if they use your brand name when searching.

Check for:

  • Has Google properly indexed all pages on your site?
  • Is your site fully crawlable by search engine bots?
  • Does every page on your site have unique, relevant meta data (page title and meta description)?
  • Is alt-text in place so that search engines can understand images?
  • Does your site use H1 and H2 headings to make content more readable and navigable?
  • Have you used keywords in page titles, meta description, H1s, and content on key pages?
  • Do all links contain relevant anchor text?

4. Quality Content

Content is still king when it comes to your brand’s website. Great content keeps users happy, helps your site build quality backlinks, and shows search engines that you’ve invested in a quality site experience.

Check for:

  • Does your site’s content pass the “3 R’s” test (Relevant, Readable, and Relatable)?
  • Does your site use multimedia (photos, videos, in-site apps) to enhance content?
  • Is your site free of duplicated content?
  • Is your site free of thin content (content below 100 words)?

*Tip From Our Team*

“Establish your authority on a topic by routinely blogging about it. The unique content that only you can offer will add richness to the user experience, and help you climb to the top of search results.” -Sandy Nichols, Sr. SEO Web Manager, Qiigo

5. Social Media Integration

Social media plays a huge role in modern marketing, and so it’s key that your site is optimized for the social web.

Check for:

  • Are share buttons in place for all key social networks?
  • Is your site integrated with your active social media accounts?

6. Common Issues

There are a number of common concerns that can cause issues for sites. It is always a good idea to check for these common issues separately, then make any necessary changes.

  • Have you checked for and corrected any 404 and 500 errors?
  • Have your checked for any 302 redirects and corrected them to 301 redirects?
  • Have you run a check on your backlink profile for links that could get your site penalized?
  • Do you have an up-to-date disavow file in place for any suspicious backlinks?

SEO and PPC are Among the Most Measurable Channels (via DM News)

Direct Marketing News LogoQiigo was recently featured in the Direct Marketing News, the industry leader in providing news on trends and technologies in marketing.  The article entitled “SEO and PPC are Among the Most Measurable Channels” was prepared by Rick Batchelor, CEO of Qiigo, and looked at the importance of SEO and PPC advertising for Direct Marketing News.

Click here to read Rick’s article “SEO and PPC are Among the Most Measurable Channels” from Direct Marketing News.

Or click here to view a PDF of the DM News article – DM News article.

YouTube and Your SEO Efforts

So you know that YouTube introduced auto-captions in limited availability last year.  It was nice, but you didn’t give it much thought, right?  Well, now is the time to start thinking about how YouTube auto-captions can benefit your SEO efforts.

YouTube just announced that they are going to open up all English videos to auto-captions.  So, here’s what you should know:

  • Any video with clear speech will benefit from auto-captioning.
  • Avoid background noise, as it will make it harder for machine-generated translation to pick up and accurately caption the content.
  • If you are the owner, you can improve the auto-captions by downloading and manually editing them.
  • Captions can be translated into 50 languages even though auto-caption is only available in English at this time.

So how does this impact your SEO efforts?  Now is the time to bring together your scriptwriter and your SEO writer for a little meet and greet.  Text is king in the world of SEO and content is much easier to index than video.  Your auto-captions are your text.  So make that text work for you by building in those ever powerful keywords.

You can get more information on the tech specs for videos and captions on the YouTube site at:


How to Get the Most from Your PPC Budget

If you are just getting started with Search Engine Marketing (SEM), or Pay Per Click (PPC) as it is more commonly known, the nuances can be overwhelming.  Here are some easy ways to maximize your PPC investment.

  • Know the difference between SEM and SEO.  SEO, search engine optimization, is the process of increasing traffic through organic search results.  SEO is extremely valuable and offers significant long term results for your business.  SEM is the form of internet marketing that increases traffic through paid ad placement.  Also known as PPC, these paid ads are seen on the right hand rail and at the top of your search engine results.  Each time someone clicks on your PPC ad, you will pay a fee to the search engine.
  • Know the value of PPC.  PPC advertising does net positive results from consumers.  According to a 2009 Engine Ready study, the conversion rate from PPC advertising is 2.03%, compared to 1.26% from organic advertising.  Additionally, consumers visiting your site through PPC links will spend an average of $117, as compared to the $106 spent by organic search consumers.
  • Know how to pick your keywords.  Picking keywords isn’t as easy as just choosing your name, your competitor’s name and words related to your product line.  Do your research.  Talk to your customers; find out what people search on to find your site before you select your keywords.  Less refined keywords will increase your cost.  A little research will help you to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Use the tools available to help you.  When choosing keywords, don’t overlook the value of tools like Google’s Suggestion, Google Trends, SEM Rush, EBay Pulse and others.  These various tools provide information on popular keywords for your business, historical data on keywords, keywords on the rise and other information than can help you to select the best combination of keywords for your PPC campaign.
  • Make them want to click.  As with any ad campaign, your PPC campaign must have compelling copy.  Keep it clean, to the point and error free.  Don’t forget to include discounts, promotions or other offers to draw a searcher’s attention.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no.  It can be hard to “turn away” potential business.  But with PPC the key to maximizing your budget is to only pay for those clicks that are likely to turn into sales.  Don’t be shy about only including prospective customers and excluding those who don’t meet your customer profile.
  • Don’t forget the landing page.  There is nothing more frustrating for a shopper than to click on a PPC link only to end up on a page that has nothing to do with the product they wanted.  Minimize customer frustration and improve conversion rates with quality landing pages.  For the best results, it is vital that your keywords, ad copy and landing pages all work together.
  • Strive for a top quality, quality score.  The quality score is used by search engines to determine the order of paid links on a search page.  This means that search engines are watching to see how much value you provide to your potential customers.  If your keywords closely correspond to your products, if your click through rate is good and you have good quality landing pages, your quality score will rise.  It is important for search engines to provide their customers with quality results.  Provide their customers with quality and the search engines will reward you with higher placement.
  • Follow up research is essential.  As with any ad campaign, you must do your research to determine its success.  PPC is no different.  However, with PPC you can track as you go.  Use Google Analytics and Yahoo! Web Analytics to track your results and see how your keywords are working out.  This will help you to know when to make changes and refine your keyword selection.

Integrating SEO and WordPress

You love your WordPress blog and you are all about SEO.  You’ve selected a domain name that includes one of your most important keywords. What else can you do to increase your SEO results with your WordPress blog?  Try a few of these suggestions.

  • Title Tags.  It is extremely important for your keyword to appear in the title tag.  The average surfer won’t click on a link unless it is relevant to their search.  A top 10 ranking for an irrelevant topic will not get any clicks.  Get your keyword in the headline of your post and get your headline in the title tag.  To do this, you may need to edit the header.php to include WordPress template tags in the HTML title tag.  You may need to use an IF statement to determine the type of page displayed and which tags to use.
  • H1 Tag.  The H1 tag lets search engines know what the page is about.  There should only be one H1 tag on each page.  More than one will confuse the search engine and drop your SEO score.  The best way to optimize your H1 tag usage is to have the title of your post inside the H1 tag.  For pages with more than one post, put the title of your post in the H2 tag and your logo in the H1 tag.
  • Inbound and Outbound Links.  All blogs benefit from the sharing of links.  While it is important to link to another’s blog, and have links to your blog, don’t overlook the value of linking to your own blog.  It is perfectly acceptable to link keywords in your anchor text back to your home page.  You can also link to your older posts, link from your posts to your home page and use a sitemap to show all your posts and pages.
  • Anchor Text and Keywords.  One of the most important aspects of SEO is to link your keywords with your anchor text.    More links containing your keywords increases your search engine ranking position. 

Lastly, and possibly most important, don’t forget to use your keywords in your posts.  Overuse can look like spam, but good placement of keywords within your blog posts will show valuable results.

Keywords in Domain Names: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

It is the question of the day, do you include keywords in your domain name.  It is a multi-faceted question.  The answer may vary based on how established your website it.  For start-up companies, if you can find a keyword-rich domain name, we say go for it.  But what if your business and domain name are established? It is a much more complicated question.

One of the reasons that having keywords in your domain name is valuable is because search engines view domain names as a fixed feature not often manipulated for increased rankings.  Because the investment in establishing an internet presence and domain name is so great, it doesn’t make much sense to fiddle with it once it is set.  So if you can get a domain name that is keyword rich, grab it and you will be starting a positive relationship with search engines.

Others in favor of keywords in domain names site the fact that it is a great anchor text when other sites use your domain name to link back to your site.  Since most links are just the website, you will pick up a useable link with optimized text when your keyword is in the domain name.

Having a keyword in your domain name may also benefit your relationship with the average Joe searching on the web.   If the keyword searched shows up in your domain name, the average surfer is likely to identify positively with your site.  Since the whole point of SEO is to drive traffic, any time you can come up at the top of the search is a good thing. 

Since it is often nearly impossible to get a domain name with your keyword in it, what else can you do?  Choosing a domain name that is longer and includes hyphens can get you a unique URL.  However, it does make it harder to brand to the average consumer.  Selecting a domain name that is in line with your businesses identity and goals will help to increase brand recognition.  Shorter, more memorable domain names work well in both the online and bricks and mortar world.  Of course, the key to success with any SEO investment is content that is fresh and unique with good quality links. 

The bottom line is if you can get a domain name that is keyword rich you are in a good place, but for the rest of us, good solid SEO practices will make up the difference.