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Google domain name penalties can stick around a lot longer than you might expect

I was reading an interesting article in Search Engine Journal this morning about how Google penalizes some domain names, and doesn’t lift the penalty even years later after the domain has changed hands and has a new site on it.

It’s something that some new domain owners find out the hard way. One specific case highlighted in the article is a company that purchased the domain name Girlfriend.com. Here’s the scoop:

“We bought the domain three years ago to have a brand called Girlfriend Collective, it’s a clothing company on the Shopify platform.
We haven’t had any… warnings from our webmaster tools that says we have any penalizations… So I was just wondering if there was any other underlying issues that you would know outside of that…
The domain is girlfriend.com and the query would be Girlfriend Collective.
It’s been as high as the second page of the SERPs, but… we get quite a few search queries for our own branded terms… it will not show up.
My assumption was that before we bought it, it was a pretty spammy dating directory.”

(Source – Search Engine Journal)

There’s now doubt that Girlfriend.com is a pretty darn valuable domain name, but with a penalty from Google, it’s certainly not working the magic that the new owners were hoping to get with such a good domain.

What’s particularly interesting about this example is that when they looked in Google Webmaster Tools no warnings showed up about any kind of penalty. This means there’s probably no easy way to check if the domain you just bought has been hit with a penalty from Google.

So what can you do to figure out if a domain you’re planning on buying could come with a nasty penalty?

Head over to Archive.org and take a walk through time and see what sites have been on the domain you’re looking at buying. If you find a spammy or scammy looking site, you might want to think twice. At the same time, it doesn’t sound like there’s really any way to actually know for sure.

Luckily, there is something you can do if you find out a domain you bought seems to have been penalized. Contact Google and wait, they can do the research and verify that you’re doing something a-okay with the domain and remove the penalty.

“In the end, Mueller admitted that it might be something on Google’s side. However an issue that remains is that there is no solution for other publishers. This is not something a publisher can do on their own like a disavow. It’s something a Googler must be made aware of in order to fix.”

(Source – Search Engine Journal)

This was all news to me, is it news to you? Have you ever bought a domain that was penalized by Google? If so, were you able to get the penalty removed?

3 Innovative Content Strategies for a Company Blog

The single most important thing to remember when creating a content strategy for a company blog is, you must create content in other channels too. It is necessary to reach out to readers and draw them in with an authentic voice, creating a personal connection, and being willing to offer video content in a wide variety of locations.

Cultivate Your Voice

Creating a consistent and relatable voice for your company blog is more important than ever. Consumers are tired of being driven to content that feels impersonal and that offers no intrinsic value to the reader. One way to combat that is to ensure that in addition to offering industry information and insight, you also cultivate a personal exchange. LeadFeeder has done this for their readers through topics such as social selling, customer success checklists, and practical ways to use their tool to get a better understanding of your website’s visitors.

Another important consideration in creating the voice of the company blog is to ensure that it is well thought out and defined as part of a broader content strategy. It’s important that the tone convey personality and not sound generic to the reader. To do this it is necessary to carefully cultivate the elements that will lend authenticity. A blog, even one hosted by a business, doesn’t need to follow perfect grammatical structure. Colloquialisms, contractions, buzzwords, and even slang are acceptable as long as they are being used consistently.

 

Make it Personal

Part of creating a company blog that invites users to become more invested in the content is to create a personal connection with the audience. One way to do this is to install heat maps that allow the user to see themselves interacting with the site in real time. This lets them feel seen and allows them to know their input and feedback are specifically valued beyond being another statistic.

Another way is to share the stories behind the brand. For example, SparesBox has a category called Our Stories, which encourages those who visit the blog to learn more in a way that feels intimate and authentic. To take it further, interacting with your readers in real time on social media platforms like Insta Live is also a refreshing idea. This requires having people who are consistently monitoring various channels and who are on board with the voice of the brand and able to interact within the confines of the structure established to ensure consistency.

 

The role social media is playing in customer satisfaction is continuing to grow. Most blogs have installed buttons that invite readers to share the content on their favorite social media site. But how many are following up when their clients are talking to them on social media? Only the ones who want to ensure they have happy customers who are willing to sing their praises to their entire social media network.

 

A Moving Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

If video isn’t already in your content strategy, it should be. The most recent Internet Trends report from KPCB projects that more than 70 percent of all online traffic will be derived from online video. YouTube, arguably the most well-known video platform, has more than a billion users who watch hundreds of millions of hours of video content each day.

The way in which your company can introduce video content to its audience is more diverse than ever. YouTube videos or native video content can be posted on a company blog or hosted elsewhere to introduce new products and services. However, social media platforms are rapidly becoming the preferred method for people to view video.

Instagram introduced InstaStories in August of 2016. Some can be set to disappear after a day which gives them a sense of urgency and exclusivity that is attractive to viewers. It guarantees engagement and allows your followers to feel more connected in a tangible way.

This is similar to the feature offered by Snapchat that has found such popularity over the past year. MediaKix recently reported that daily video views have increased 400 percent in 2016 and the growth was expected to continue along the same trajectory in 2017. Any business that is targeting Millennials or teens should be creating a content strategy that includes leveraging this newer platform.

For a broader demographic, Facebook is still one of the most powerful platforms for companies who want to drive traffic to their blog. By now most people are aware that video has quickly begun to dominate Facebook newsfeeds. The next evolution of this will be Facebook 360. This will allow content creators to utilize virtual reality technology to give viewers a fully immersive experience with their video or image content. This has immense potential going forward and should be something you are working on now to implement in future content strategies. It would be easy to talk about a new product or service on your company blog and post a link to a Facebook video that gives the reader more information.

 

As you develop your content strategy, take the time to really develop the voice with which the company will speak to consumers. Use it consistently across all platforms to create authentic experiences for readers. Then, develop it further with the use of video on whichever social media platform is home to your target demographic.

 

Source: Pixabay

The post 3 Innovative Content Strategies for a Company Blog appeared first on Domain & SEO News.

4 Things to Consider When Buying a Domain Name

Whether you’re setting up your first website or you have a strong background in website setup, it’s important to carefully consider your domain name. Buying a domain name plays a huge role in establishing your brand. It’s not a process that comes as an afterthought, and it’s not just the name that matters, either. Here are four other things worth considering when buying a domain name.

The SEO Value

There are many factors that impact where your site shows up in search engine results. In fact, if you’re using a website builder, you’ll have plenty of search engine optimization (SEO) tools at your fingertips. One of these factors that comes into play in SEO is the keywords in your domain name.

Let’s take an example. If someone searches “Start Blogging Online,” they’ll find startbloggingonline.com on the first page of the search results. (Note: Your domain name holds weight in search engine rankings, but there are tons of other factors at play. Startbloggingonline.com ranks for this long-tail keyword not solely because of its domain name but because it utilizes other SEO methods to appear in top results for blogging-related searches.)

Think about what SEO value your ideal domain name would bring to the table. Is the keyword relevant to your business or industry, or does it hold another meaning that more people are likely to search for? When people search this key term, what are they expecting to find? Does your site deliver on those expectations?

Don’t try to stuff too many keywords into your name. Your business name is the ideal option, but if you’re starting a blog and trying to come up with a website name based on what’s available, limit it to one word or a two- to three-word phrase. The longer you get, the more complicated it is for readers to remember, and that can indirectly affect your SEO by reducing your backlink potential.

Though SEO potential should be considered, don’t focus all your attention on what keywords will put you at the top. Consider SEO, but don’t forget about branding. Your domain name should benefit both of these areas, not one or the other.

 

Your Budget

If you’ve done any research into possible domain names for your site, then you’ll notice that some names are more expensive than others. On the low end, you’ll likely pay around $10-$15 per year to register your domain name. However, others sell for thousands of dollars.

This high price tag usually comes with domain names that have been previously registered. They may become available once the initial user’s ownership on them expires or if the owner decides to put the name up for sale. Since the domain has been used before, it often comes with added benefits like inbound links that can help with SEO. If it’s the right domain name for you, it also has the benefit of branding value.

In this case, a business with a somewhat atypical name might be able to snatch up a cheap domain that matches their business name. A more common name—whether other businesses also use the name or it’s just a common word, theme, or phrase—may either be taken or sell for a higher price. If your ideal domain name is priced quite high, then you may have to work this into your budget since it can have certain advantages.

It’s up to you on whether or not you want to tweak your domain name to go for the cheaper option or if you want to take advantage of the branding value and spend the money on a more expensive name. Once you go to register your domain, your registrar will tell you whether or not it’s taken and if it’s for sale. Consider your budget and how much you’re willing to spend on a good domain name, but make sure to have a few back-up options available in case your first choice is not for sale.

 

Your Extension Options

When you create your website and choose your domain name, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between several extensions, which include those like .com, .net, .org, and more. Oftentimes, the .com version of a domain is taken, but you can still buy it with a different extension, and sometimes at a cheaper price.

But are the other extensions worth it? The answer is that it depends.

First of all, you want to make sure your extension reflects the nature of your business or organization. For example, .com represents the word “commercial,” .net is for a “network,” and .org means “organization.”

For most business and personal uses, you’ll want to use the .com version. That’s because it’s the most used extension, and it gives your business credibility in having a presence on the web. It’s also more memorable. If web users can remember your domain name but forget the extension, it will be most likely assumed that it’s .com, which will make you easier to find on the web.

Weigh the costs and benefits. If your ideal domain is taken with the .com extension, you might be able to claim the name with the .net extension. Otherwise, you can search an alternative name to see if the .com is available.

 

Where You’re Buying From

Once you have your domain name picked out and know that it’s available, it’s time to think about who you want to register your domain name with. There are numerous registrars out there, including:

  • GoDaddy
  • NameCheap
  • com
  • iPage
  • Bluehost
  • DreamHost
  • HostGator
  • com

This is not a comprehensive list; it’s just a few examples.

You’ll notice here that some of these options, such as Bluehost, HostGator, and DreamHost, are not only domain registrars but are also web hosts. If you’re hosting through one of these companies, then you’ll have to consider if you want to go through them for both services. Though this has its advantages, many people caution against it.

The pros of using the same company for hosting and registering your domain name include:

  • It’s convenient.
  • Setup is easy.
  • Technical support can help if there are any issues.

However, there are also cons to doing this, including that:

  • It’s not as secure as spreading your services out.
  • It can be difficult to transfer your domain if you choose to change your host.
  • Some web hosts rent you the domain name but actually register it in their name, meaning that you don’t have the rights to move it to a new host or sell it. This is not the case with all hosts, but you should pay attention to the terms of your hosting agreement.

It’s up to you to weight the pros and cons about where to register your domain name, but before you make a final decision, be sure to at least consider other options. You’ll also want to research different hosts and domain registrars to see which one is the best for you. Pay attention to the terms of agreement so you understand what you’re getting from these services.

With these ideas in mind, you should be able to move forward with purchasing a domain name that benefits you and your business in many ways. What domain name options are you thinking about picking up for your next website?

 

The post 4 Things to Consider When Buying a Domain Name appeared first on Domain & SEO News.

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