Domains

Refining Your Domain & Website Portfolio

How many side project do you have piling up (that you know in the back of your mind you won’t ever complete)?

How many domains and/or websites have you acquired that are just idling, not generating revenue, and eating renewal fees?

If you answered any number other than 0, then you ought to reexamine your website and domain portfolio and take action. You need to look at domains and websites while accounting for their potential future value.  For instance, a domain like 3dmovies.net might currently be losing money as a parked page, but I’m certain that in the next few years its value will only increase.  Try to anticipate the future and decide what your next move will be from there.

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Website Trust and Authority

Website trust and authority are completely different things; they are commonly clumped together and confused.  Website trust is essentially a measure showing search engines that a website provides real value and does not engage in unethical techniques (aka blackhat seo).  Where your backlinks are from is an important factor in domain / website trust.  If you have backlinks from highly trusted editorial websites (Newspapers, universities, goverment sites, professional associations, etc.), then you will more likely be trusted than a website which only has backlinks from spammy or bad neighborhoods. 

The other side to this determining trust is who you link out to.  If you link to non-reputable and spammy resources, then your website will lose trust.  One last factor may play into the trust that is designated to a certain domain or websites; this is registration details.  Google is a registrar of domains; thus they can see who owns what domains, and they already know what these websites link to.  If the majority of your portfolio contains spammy or link farm like websites, one could make the assumption that on a whole, domains with your contact details could be flagged as having a greater chance of not being trustworthy. These are the factors that play into determining the trust a domain or website has.

Website authority is a bit simpler to understand; authority is a measure of how many website link to your domain and how these websites link to you.   Different links hold various authorities; the sum of these links and the authority associated with them determines your authority.  Google PageRank was once a good measure of authority, but it has recently been tainted by manipulative webmasters.  Google likely accounts for this tainting by adjusting the trust of these websites.  The diversity of a websites link profile is another factor.  If your website has 100 links from 1 different website, this will not be as affective at raising authority as having 100 links from 25 different websites. 

Authority can also be considered on a webpage to webpage basis compared to trust which is generally viewed as a global website factor.  A singular webpage of a website may have authority, while the rest of the website might be filled with non-authoritative content.  This touches upon the concept of deep linking and the importance of building deep links.  Domain / website authority and trust can be broken down into these concepts, but their value to a website in seo is clearly significant.

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Dollarade – The CPALead Alternative?

Dollarade is a CPALead like company that employs a slightly different method for users to complete surveys or offers. The benefit of Dollarade’s gateway is that it only covers the Flash content of your website; this is perfect for tv or movie streaming websites.  It allows your visitors to navigate around your website; they can actually see your content without needing to complete a survey.  Additionally, the Dollarade gateway will tend to get a higher conversion ratio for the same survey because the user will know that a working video exists on your webpage; whereas with CPALead, they may see a video under your gateway, but they do not know that it works.  I have previously compared CPALead revenue against CPM and popup revenue on the same website; the results were an over 500% increase in revenue when CPALead was implemented.  I have done a similar comparison of CPALead against Dollarade on the same website:

Period Revenue Page Views Conv. % CPM Other Info
July 2009 1,028.98 153,405 19 6.71
August 2009 1,449.24 193,610 21 7.49
September 2009 4,003.38 426,910 19 9.38 Season Started
October 2009 3,866.42 410,275 16 9.42
Cumulative 2009
(July-October)
10,348.02 1,184,200 18 8.74 CPALead Average
November 2009
(7 days in)
795.84 88,238 20 9.02 Dollarade
implemented

It is interesting to see that Dollarade ended up generated better revenue overall due to a higher conversion ratio; it is likely that this is because Dollarade uses a slightly different method than CPALead to encourage users to complete offers.  Please note that even though Dollarade did generate more revenue per thousand visitors, it was only a slight increase; you should experiment between these two networks yourself to see if your results vary.  Also, Dollarade’s greatest strength (only covering Flash content) is also its weakness.  If you have a movie or tv streaming website with links to other sources (Supernova, WiseVid, etc.), your visitors will simply be able to click on these links without completing a survey offer.  You may need to rework part of your website, so that you are able to implement Dollarade to its full capacity.

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Hyphenated .com vs. Non-hyphenated .net

Ideally, you would like to have the (non-hyphenated) .com, but sometimes that is not an option as the .com is already a preexisting website or it is out of your budget.  Many webmasters are now needing to decide between the hyphenated .com vs. the non-hyphenated .net for their websites because the .com has already been taken.  Keyword1-keyword2.com and keyword1keyword2.net are the same from a seo point of view; however, these domains are different from a user standpoint.  The hyphenated .com and the .net will both give the non-hyphenated .com type in, direct, traffic because users generally forget the existence of hyphens in domains and default to the .com extension.  Instead of choosing between these two domains, I would recommend buying both of them and 301 redirecting the undeveloped domain to the developed website.  Remember that the .net and the hyphenated .com are viewed the same by search engines, so you should develop the domain that sounds, flows better, or is more memorable. After you have chosen which domain to develop, emphasize the hyphen or the .net in the banners or other images that include the domain, so that less traffic is funneled off to the .com.  .nets and hyphenated .coms are becoming popular because the non-hyphenated .coms are all taken; instead of choosing between the two alternatives to the .com, get both and develop the more brandable domain.

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Parasitical Value Vs. Brand Value

Choosing the perfect domain name for your website can be quite a challenge; generally, you can simplify the process down to two competing factors: parasitical and brand value.  The idea behind parasitical value is to purchase a domain name containing long tail keywords to benefit from organic search.  By looking at search trends in your niche, you can take advantage of the existing organic search.  In short, you want to select an available domain name with keywords that you plan to target in organic search to generate traffic.  Examples of domain names with parasitical value are:

  • keyword-seo.com
  • webmaster-discussion.com
  • keywordseodiscussion.com

The other factor that you should consider when selecting a domain name is brand value.  Brand value refers to how well people will recognize, remember, and associate keywords with your website.  To create a domain with brand value, you want to pick a domain name that is short, catchy, and memorable.  Some examples of domain names with brand value are:

  • digg.com
  • reddit.com
  • slashdot.org

Parasitical value and brand value are competing factors in domain selection.  Unless you are able to purchase a one or two word generic, you will need to choose between parasitical and brand value when choosing your domain name.

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.Org > .Net?

Recently, I created another blog which has the theme of controversial issues.  I bought the domain name controversialissues.net and later purchased the .org version.  The .net held a stable rank of #14 in Google for the search phase “controversial issues”.  I  bought the .org version and proceeded to 301 redirect the .net to the .org version.  The blog did the Google dance and bounced between the ranks of #3 to #19 for the keyword phase “controversial issues”.  It finally stabilized and maintained the ranking of #9 in Google for that keyword phase.  The blog also gained search engine rankings for other search phases.  During the time that the blog changed domain extension, no changes were made to the content, nor were any links added (to my knowledge).  This means that all factors which affect the search engine ranks were equal, except for the domain extension. From this experiment, one can conclude that the .org extension ranks higher than the .net extension.  In general whether a website has a .org or .net extension should not matter for seo purposes as search engines  treat gTLD (generic top-level domains) the same. It is possible that in this particular niche of medical, government, social, etc. topics that the .org extension has more trust than the .net counterpart, which would account for its boost in search engine rankings.  When discussing domain extensions outside of the realm of seo, the .org may also be preferable over the .net in certain situations.  Many people still recognize .org websites as more trust baring than a .com or .net because the majority of people believe an organization is in charge of the website.  However, this is not true, and there are no restriction upon who can own a .org domain name.  For this reason many webmaster choose the .org over the .net in certain niches, such as health, medicine, law, etc.  This experiment and these facts are some of the reasons that the .org can be seen as superior to the .net.

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