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GameSite Domain Names - SEO Vs Originality

April 9th, 2009 - Category: Developers
While I was searching for an available domain name to buy for a friend of mine, looking around I just understood that the 99.99% of all the .COM logic sense domain names including the words: "Games", "Game" or "Play" are taken.
Funny thing is that most of them are just sitting there in "PARKING" pages probably for years. I guess some of them make a couple of dollars a year for that Spam, some other little bit more.

I recently contacted one of this parked domains freeflashgames.com, right now you can see it's just a Spam page. I was thinking: "Well, OK, usually I would pay 9 dollars for a COM domain, but I really like this name i would offer 50 dollars!" for a moment I thought it was too much, anyway, now 50 dollars for me was like, I am giving you way more than enough for a Spam page that probably has been banned by some search engine.

A very nice person answered to my email saying that the price i wanted to pay was too low, they where starting the bids from a price of $400.000, yes, Four Hundred THOUSANDS of dollars! Now honestly what is the point? In a market saturated like this, who is the insane mind that is going to spend that money?
And what is the point to buy a domain that contains the word "Game" when the ruler domains of this industry don't even mention it: Newgrounds, Kongregate, MochiAds, Nonoba, Whirled or a more recent Fupa that has an Alexa ranking that looks like the profile of a mountain.


Of course is all about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) today, but does it really work?

After a consultation with some other developers on MochiAds, this is what came out:If you look at Alexa's top ten sites by traffic, most of them have domain names that really aren't helpful at showing what the site's about.
Having words like "Games" or "Flash" helps your SEO work. But if you are going to build something larger and put a lot of effort into it, those words are less important.I would say a original name is good, and you can build a brand of it.Of course, if you would happen to have Games.com, that would be a winner.

You shouldn't use "-" in the domain name. Not necessary, but having a domain name that is easy to remember and hard to misspell is an advantage.

Toys.com was recently sold for 5.1 million USD. ToysRus was the buyer.

Don't mention that your games are addictive in your domain name, that word is so overused that is pretty much useless right now.It's important to plan ahead and map out how you want to develop your website before you go shopping around for a domain. Different domains serve different purposes.

Some factors to consider:

Branding

A domain like "Free-Online-Games.biz" might do well from
an SEO perspective but it's a nightmare to try and brand. If you ever
consider selling casual games or other services it would be very hard
to gain consumer trust with such names.

Community-Building

Similar to branding, but community tends to build around
non-generic names. Games.com is brandable, but it has no personality
(talking about the domain, not the site). Would you be proud to be a
community member of Games.com? Maybe, but it sounds very generic.

Attracting advertisers

If you get big, you'd want to attract ad dollars from big
companies with big brands. But having a lot of impressions isn't
going to get you the big brands by itself. The big boys want their
brands associated with other quality brands. It will be hard to
convince advertisers that "Free-Arcade-Games.net" is a
premium brand.

Good SEO domain names are impossibly hard to come by, all good.com keywords are taken. And if you force a keyword in your domain, you're just making it longer than it needs to be. If you throw in the word 'games' 'online games' or 'free games' in your domain, don't expect to rank for any of those terms in search engines. If you want to try it out, nothing is stopping you from creating a generic site and sending traffic to your main website. But for your main website I
would suggest creating a Memorable domain/branding. To get search engine traffic, you have to work for it over a dedicated length of time, so don't expect there to be a shortcut.


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Article Comments


gameslunatic - April 23rd, 2009
I enjoyed reading this article and it clearly identifies with whats going on in the market, there are countless generic flash games websites out there that are dumped up and left to rot, notably a lot of them are key word stuffed. I also found the part about the domain owner demanding $400,000 for the keyword rich domain hilarious, with no clear justification behind the rediculous value. Keyword rich domains are way over valued and can become an obsession for inexperienced webmasters looking for any trick to speed up a site's traffic accumulation.I for one made the same mistake and have since moved on from it.Great article, keep up the great blogging lorenz!

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