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SEO Tips Part 2: Keywords in your web address


SEO John Hacking Search Tempo cartoon

In this SEO series, we’re getting the deep dish from Google ranking hot shot, John Hacking of Search Tempo.

Last post John talked us through what’s going on with Google and how the keyword game has changed – check it out: SEO Tips Part 1: The Keyword Palaver. Today, you guessed it, we are looking at keywords in website addresses. 


  1. John, it used to be advantageous to have keywords in your domain name (main URL). Is this still the case?

    Recently, Google started to reduce the ranking of sites with exact match domains. So that’s now no longer an SEO strategy. Just as well, as exact match domains as business names aren’t very brandable. You want a name that’s short, easy to spell and easy to remember. For instance ‘Hello Puppy’ is more memorable and attractive than ‘Brisbane Puppy Training’.

  2. So keywords in URLs are now no help at all?

    They are still very useful. But if you want ranking for ‘North Brisbane Dog Training’ then simply put up a page somewhere in your website called ‘North Brisbane Dog Training’. However, having your domain name as means that you are risking Google’s exact match domain name penalty. Recently, I’ve found keywords in the URL of blog pages are particularly useful for SEO.

  3. How far can you play this strategy out? 

    One of my clients paints houses. Slowly but surely he is creating 262 pages: a page for each suburb in Brisbane. So having keywords in your domain name is different from having keywords in your page URLs – that is, pages beyond your home page. Having keywords in those is still good for ranking.


Your BIG opportunity: Ask the SEO expert

What do you want to know about SEO?

Last week…

Sophia asked: "All the focus with SEO seems to be on Google. What about Yahoo and Bing and the others?"

John says: In the Australian market Google has over 95% of search traffic, ie traffic generated by people clicking on search engine results. That being the case it is more rational to focus on Google and forget the rest. The reality is that if you rank well in Google it is likely you will rank pretty well in Bing and Yahoo as well.

And Claude wrote: "I have a old web site that I build myself back in 1996 using a Freeware HTML editor. It ranks really well but I want to update it. How can I make sure I won't lose my rankings?"

John says: The first thing is to take a backup of your old site so if things go wrong you can at least get back to where you were. The second point is to make sure that you rebuild you web site using an SEO-friendly content management system like WordPress. The last important point is to set up what are called 301 redirects from the old page file names to the new page file names generated by your content management system. Here's more information about 301 redirects:

And Maureen commented: "Good and useful blog on this topic. Is it still the case that a Google map of the business will help with the SEO. If so does the virtual tours that links to the maps enhance it even more?"

John says: Having a Google Map (now called Google Places or Google Plus Local), will certainly help with your rankings. For local specific searches e.g. restaurants Holland Park, Google will usually list the Places entries at the top of the page before most of the organic listings (see example below).

The best way to get your Places listing in the first 5 or so results is to build links to the URL for the listing. And, more importantly, provide as much information as possible in your listing – including: photos, videos, testimonials and special offers. Yes, a virtual tour linked to your map should help. I would also link to your map from your contact us page. 



What's your question? John will answer it at the end of the next SEO Tips post. Irresistible, right?

In SEO Tips Part 3, John talks us through the mystery of meta tags. Stay tuned…

John Hacking of Search Tempo can help with your ranking, no matter where you are in the world. Give him a hoy if you need some help.
P.S. He doesn’t charge monthly fees.

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Posted on Jan 23rd, 2013 SEO tips  ,  ,  ,  ,

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