• RedLeader

    Hey Chris, in regards to your last point re: using keyword-rich domain names to rank locally is a bad idea. If you’re simply talking about the Local Pack, I could agree with that.

    If you’re speaking about the rest of the SERPs, well, that’s flat out not correct. While it will generally take a few links to get these sites ranking on the first page, the evidence is still very abundant that shows even a low-quality EMD site with a few pages of content and a couple of dozen links can rank quickly, and well, for a term localized term.

    We see it constantly with clients’ competitors, and you can even see it in the local Dallas market you’re in, where 3 of the Top 10 results for “Dallas SEO” explicitly have “Dallas”, “DFW”, and “Texas” in the URL and metas. That’s a powerful combination of exact match information right there.

    The saturation of EMD sites gets even higher when you apply it to other fields, like lawyers and that perennial favorite, locksmiths. :-)

  • Mambo Man

    Myth #11:

    Google has stated that failure to optimize for mobile can now impact your rankings, so this is one myth you had better lose pretty quickly.

  • http://www.andrewcollings.com/ Andrew Collings

    Excellent article. Thank you,

  • Hudson Hornick

    Hey Red, I think Chris is right. I believe what you’re referring to is probably attributable to the title tags including those location-specific keyword phrases, not necessarily the URL.
    Title tags are huge – domain names, not so much.

  • http://www.seotipsandstrategies.com/ Mary Gammel

    Another popular myth is that buying say 10 domain names and pointing them all at the same website will improve rankings for the keywords in those domain names. This only helps with preventing others from getting the domain names. Google will rank the website for the main domain name where the content is located and basically ignore the other redirected domains. I’ve seen people get into trouble with this domain name buying when they use masking instead of forwarding which makes it look like you have different websites but duplicate content.

    Instead of buying domain names for this pupose, it’s more effective to build out keyword rich content on your website.

  • Chris Silver Smith

    I think you meant my first point about keyword domains — not the last point about microsites. While I was indeed speaking about rankings in the Local Pack, the point was not that it’s bad, nor that it’s not a factor, but that it’s not an absolute must-have. I’ve seen people with decade-old domain names talk about throwing them out to get a shiny, new keyworded domain — which would be a bad and unnecessary attempt at quick-fix compared to many other tactics. While keyworded domains can lend some advantages, particularly in terms of link text, we can see substantial numbers of sites ranking advantageously without the keyword domains, particularly in those business categories where businesses less-traditionally incorporate their business category names into the business names.

  • Chris Silver Smith

    You’re absolutely right — I’d call this what Google would call it — a linking scheme. If you built out individual sites with useful info and content around each topic, and separately promoted each site, you could have them roll up to the same business addresses and phone numbers. You’d still need to keep your main business website to be clearly the canonical site with your address info on all major local directories and local search engines.

    But, let’s face it — most small businesses would be better off in developing out that same content on their one, main website or blog.

  • http://www.completewebresources.com Kyle Sanders

    Completely agree. With an EMD that has a geo-specific modifier, quality content, and a consistently updated blog, it’s quite easy to rank well organically. Throw in a concerted effort to build great citations and you can take markets rather quickly. In some cases (read: weak markets), all you need to do with a local EMD is build 100 citations over a month, blog about local events (festivals, happenings, etc.) and watch it cruise to the top. The same goes for national terms, although those can take longer, in some cases.

    That said, a new EMD/microsite ranking for terms via the domain and links alone will get crushed if the content is poor/low quality by virtue of Google continuing to fold engagement metrics into their algorithms. We tested this in several markets with medium competition with consistent results.

  • http://www.malonemediagroup.com Preston Taylor

    Chris – This is a great post my man. There is quite frankly, nothing better than a list to summarize this ongoing debate of what works and what doesn’t. Theories aside, the content herein is right on the button and I couldn’t agree with you more with respect to microsite creation. It seems that those days are past and now labeled a “fad”. Time to move to creating authoritative web destinations that educate, delight and entertain the consumer base. Appreciate your well thought out article and wish you all the best in 2014.

  • Viv (Kala) Williams

    I was gonna write in to disagree so I”m glad u addressed the context of your statement. In my metro area for SEO terms, EMD’s are pretty dominant in some serps. Though branded company names-do lead in certain other (more competitive?) keywords. Yeah I should investigate what the difference is.