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Picking Quality Keyword Domains in 3 Quick Steps

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March 24, 2008


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In a pinch, there are 3 metrics you can quickly check to determine the profit potential of keyword domains. The domain’s keywords should be checked for keyword search volume, monetization potential and keyword frequency. In my opinion, they’re also listed in their order of importance. This is far from a comprehensive examination but it will reveal a few key characteristics about a domain name that can help you determine if it’s worth registering or not. I would advise much more diligence when purchasing a higher priced domain in the aftermarket.

In short, good keyword domains make it easy to match products and services to the people looking for them. For the following example we’ll use the domain name and more specifically, the phrase “herbal capsules” for keyword analysis.

1. Keyword Search Volume - Simply put, keyword search volume is the amount of search queries for a given search term over a specified amount of time. Currently, the most widely used tools to determine search volume are Wordtracker, Overture, Keyword Discovery, and the Google Adwords Tool. The search volume for the exact keyword phrase “herbal capsules” will give you a rough idea on the likelihood of receiving direct type-in traffic at The figures are not directly correlated, meaning 1,735 monthly Overture searches will not translate into 1,735 direct type-ins at In fact, it’ll probably be a very small percentage of that. There really isn’t a reliable formula to determine that “X” amount of search volume will equal “X” number of type in visitors. Just know that the higher the search volume, the more potential traffic either through direct type-ins or SEO development based on the “herbal capsules” keyword phrase.

If no search volume exists for a particular phrase than you might want to reconsider registering that domain, especially if it’s for the sole purpose of earning PPC revenue from type-in traffic. Lack of search volume doesn’t mean that particular keyword domain is worthless. It does however require that traffic be generated from an additional source, such as development and link building. A keyword domain with low search volume can actually perform quite well once developed, especially if it has good advertising potential and keyword frequency.

2. Monetization Potential - Are advertisers bidding on the keywords that make up your domain? Once you’ve identified a market in step 1, you need to determine if there are products and services to help you monetize that traffic. Probably the quickest way to do this by performing a keyword search at (“herbal capsules”) and observing the quantity and quality of ads that appear through the Google Adwords program. Quality is determined by the focus of the ads. Are they tight and on topic, containing the keywords that make up your domain? Try to disregard the “catch-all” ads often served up by advertisers like Ebay, BizRate and as they will not provide the targeted ads that your visitors are looking for.

If your keyword domain shows strong results amongst Adwords advertisers, it’s very likely you’ll find a number of other monetization opportunities through various affiliate marketplaces and PPC programs. Adsense is not the only game in town when it comes to website monetization. It does however provide a quick checkup for monetization potential.

3. Keyword frequency - Keyword frequency represents the number of times a keyword phrase appears in a search engine’s index. The “results” appear in the upper right corner at after a search query has been performed. In my opinion, it’s more a function of how common a phrase is, not how popular it is. Still, it can provide valuable feedback when it comes to making a domain registration decision. Do not register a domain based solely on the fact that it has a high keyword frequency. As a general rule, the higher the keyword frequency, the better as this signals that the keyword phrase is commonly used. However, exceptions to this would be phrases such as “more than” ( and other common connectors which will return millions of Google results but really have no clear use as a keyword domain for monetization purposes. You’ll also want to scan the results to make sure your keyword phrase is being used in the context that you expected it to be. Many times various punctuation marks may be present in the results which will dramatically skew the results (See “small medium” as an example).

On the other hand, a domain such as (“pergola kit”) which returns less than 10,000 Google results may seem too obscure to register when in fact, it’s a great keyword domain. In this case, you’ve come across a small, focused niche that will actually perform very well. If you run “pergola kit” through steps 1 and 2 it will become obvious why.

That’s it for now. Hopefully these tips will come in handy the next time you’re deciding whether a domain is worth registering or not.

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