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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My web host confused me completely. All I heard since Google Panda was globally released in April 2011, and Google Penguin a year later, is that content is king! But my web host insists the choice of a domain name is tantamount to frequent, fresh web content.

The domain name I actually wanted to use for my business has already been registered by someone else. I was not too concerned about this, thinking that SEO content is king, not domain names. Now I am not so sure anymore. Shall I register a name similar to the one that has been taken, or break away completely, register a different and innovative name, and focus on content to get my page up the Google ranks as fast as possible?
 

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Exact keyword domains are still effective. Aside from the opinions and empirical data provided by high level SEO professionals, just look at the domains on the first page of SERP's when you use a obscure keyword search.

If you are trying to drive a lot of traffic to your site from other forms of media then you might want to focus on a branded domain that's catchy, short and easy to remember. Otherwise, it won't hurt, and will probably help, to use a keyword domain. You can only target one keyword this was so it's worth doing a little research for which keyword is going to provide you with the best traffic.
 

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It depends on the size of your market. If you search for "Atlanta carpenter" you'll see that the first page of SERPs is almost all lead generation services.

But if you search (in my little town of Asheville, NC) for "Asheville carpenter", ashevillecarpenter.com is the #1 result, which, I'm sure, gets him a boatload of business.

The long and short of it is, an Exact Match Domain won't hurt you but I wouldn't lose sleep over it. Create a steady stream of useful content and keep after the SEO and you will find your way to the first few pages soon enough.

But if you're in a larger market, you may need more than that to get to the coveted first page.
 

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if you can get a emd "exact match domain" like arizona plumbing repair or similar I would go for it. You have to find the right search term that brings in traffic. With that said, you can always have 2 sites, 1 with the emd and 1 with your business name. Rules for the local seo service search is a little different than trying to nab a national search term. Panda and penguin tend to be over hyped. If your scraping sites for content and building 5k xrummer links a day than in most cases you will not be penalized.
 

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It would be helpful to have more info to answer your question. There is no site, no location, and real detail to provide a good answer.

One general and reliable rule though, you're very close with the content is king principle. That phrase is used a lot but seldom understood. Think of it this way: People first, search engines second. Make a site that serves the needs of your visitors. All the Google updates really just come down to rewarding sites that focus on users and penalizing those that don't. Panda and Penguin were simply just to help Google tell the difference more effectively once you cut through all the hype.

As for the domain, it helps if it contains a keyword about what you do and your company name should also be structured that way. If your company name is available, that's always best but since you mentioned you couldn't get the most desired domain, I'm guessing you need to be creative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you to all for the informative replies! I will be creative with a domain name without losing sleep over it (/*big sigh of relief*/). I needed to be reminded of the 'people first, search engines second' principle. I became too entangled in technology jargon and less attentive to offering my clients a user-friendly website with an effective navigation design.

On a lighter note ... cbscreative, my signature should read something like this: "Carpenter, builder, tool adviser ... but don't ask me for technology advice".
 

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It has been said that content is king but I see plenty of sites with very little content ranking pretty high. How do they even rank at all? I'm guessing it's all hidden behind the covers.
It's not the easy to "hide your tracks" in this internet marketing game. If it's a low competition keyword, it's not that difficult to be #1.

If you give me a example of a search phrase and location, I can probably figure out how there ranking.
 

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The long and short of it is, an Exact Match Domain won't hurt you but I wouldn't lose sleep over it. Create a steady stream of useful content and keep after the SEO and you will find your way to the first few pages soon enough.
I agree 100% with what Handy Feller is saying. The domain can't hurt, but content and SEO are still what's going to move you to the top and keep you there.
 

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A new domain (I'm assuming you haven't bought an existing domain) should be fine, but go for branded and avoid hyphenation where possible. COM, NET, are preferable... I don't think Google (or anyone else for that matter who might be weighing up your business) would hold as much stock in BIZ, US, INFO TLDs.

Content in and of itself is not king in my opinion. Content is only useful if it has been promoted, and promoted successfully. The problem a lot of people gloss over is the fact that for every piece of content that 'succeeds' and earns links, you'll probably have incurred the expense for three of four others that just went nowhere.

If you are taking this approach, consider trying to make a piece of content that is evergreen and can be easily adapted or pushed when something relevant comes up in the mainstream media cycle or something seasonal is being talked about. That means your first attempt at promotion might fail, but you can give it another shot later.
 

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Excellent advice here. I 2nd everything, esp what CBS says, design for people. Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms to find what it deems useful for people. In 5 years, they're going to be smarter than they are now. Google wants unique and educational content to serve up to its searchers.

A couple of content tips...
1. Try to write at least 300 words for each page
2. Make sure you images have long, descriptive file names. For example a plumber might name a photo named "delta-faucet-install-san-jose-ca.jpg"
3. Make sure your titles and tags use service words and city names

Domain name tips...
1. Make sure it explicitly describes your service...without it being too long, or hyphenated.
2. If you do an EMD beware of the fact you might want to expand to a new city one day.
3. You can always create a URL structure like this, if you want to reference a city name....www.abcservice.com/denver-co...thus creating unique city pages.
 

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SEO is not a one trick does all. Every thing that shows that your site is about what you want people to know it's about, adds up. That includes domain, content, related links, everything. Think about it logically, don't get too technical
 
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