Over the past few days (and some believe still ongoing), Google have been rolling out huge changes to its algorithm. It looks like one of the areas this is getting hit hard is keyword rich domains – those little honeypots that used to sit nice in the rankings for hardly any effort. Instead, the googlebot is having a good go at finding the brands.
It’s mostly been the SME’s that adopt KW rich domains, so at first glance this is another hammer blow to the small guys. But, I would consider that any localised domain names that have a local portion to the names should still fare well under local search, as long as the game is being played with regards to Google Places and Plus profile pages.
In many ways, it’s not that Google is ‘out to get’ KW rich domains, rather, it’s now able to ‘read’ the signals for branding. This is the end result of work that started way back with the Farmer and Panda updates. Instead of the easily-manipulated link graph, it appears Google is now evaluating social signals and authority with ease.
So, what should you do if you are affected? I do not believe a big rush to change domain is the answer. What we have seen work here at Goldladder is adopting the same attitude as a big brand. Almost certainly, you will need to allocate resources towards client satisfaction and information across online channels. All social media accounts should be helpful, informative and engaging. Blogs should be value-rich, encouraging sharing and linking. Review sites should be well chosen, and maintained regularly.
In addition, think about your website. It absolutely must be well optimised for mobile. It must use the latest developments for language and multi-national settings. It should not still be using layout that was worked for SEO in 2007, rather it should be clean, engaging and make users stick.
I know for a lot of small businesses that enjoyed a steady flow of traffic for nothing, it will be hard to change overnight. But the light at the end of the tunnel is that to compete with a brand a thousand times bigger than you, you do not need to match resources like-for-like. Its about accepting what is the base level of branding and authority you need to project online, and make sure that this is achieved, maintained and improved.
If you need help with your online strategy, please do not hesitate to contact us.