Driving Traffic Through Smart Domain strategy WebmasterWorld’s PubCon November 11-14, 2008 Why domains matter • Domains have been continually growing to more than 168 million worldwide • At the same time, aftermarket sales values have been increasing by approximately 20% year- over-year • Upward trend continues showing that even in down or flat markets, domains are increasing in numbers and value • Why? Why domains matter • Domains are assets that are both collectible and revenue producing • Each domain is unique – no two are exactly alike • Hold an inherent ability to attract traffic • Direct navigation traffic accounts for 10-15% of revenue for Google and Yahoo Why domains matter • Domains are equal parts pathway and destination … they are both the avenue and the storefront of the internet • Creates the first impression online; Primary way an online consumer interacts with your brand or brand extension • Also the primary way, they locate your online store Why domains matter What are the shingles you hang online doing to attract business and convince people to enter the store? How domains can help attract traffic • Help define and reposition brand promise • Improve search optimization and search marketing • Counter balance search using direct navigation • Offer an easy way to initiate social media marketing and other engagement techniques Impact on brand • What are the key brand attributes or keywords associated with your brand (a.k.a., “category killers”)? • Do you own those domains or can competitors move in on your territory and start aligning key attributes with their brand? • Are you making sure people who are looking for you can find you? Lock in traffic and protect your brand associations by registering typos, nicknames, country code TLDs for all regions you operate in and other derivatives. Impact on brand • Case studies: – ToddlerToys.com = – CreamCheese.com = – Underwear.com = – Microsft.com (missing 2nd “o”) = Improving SEO and SEM Tie goes to the keyword domain • All things being equal, the domain you use could be the tie breaker to get your site ranked higher • Case Study: Tropical Birds • TropicalBirds.com is a new site less than X months old • Outranks the Honolulu Zoo, several aviaries and hundreds of bird/pet stores • Forces others to spend ad dollars for paid listings Improving SEO and SEM Improving SEO and SEM Significantly improved inbound link juice • Most people still use your web address to provide links • Which of these links would provide better signal to search engines for the term “spices”? “Visit Penzeys.com for the best prices” “Visit TheSpiceHouse.com for the best prices” Improving SEO and SEM Consider going “retro” • Domains available on the aftermarket offer additional benefits – Age (unexpired domains) – Page Rank – Link strength • Properly redirected, domains with these attributes can transfer or lend strength to your newer or lower ranked domain Improving SEO and SEM Consider going “retro” • Be sure to do your research • Previous black-hat techniques or bad inbound links associated with the domain could do more harm than good • If research checks out, be careful about updating too much – could get you sandboxed (however, this is widely debated) Improving SEO and SEM Increase response on search marketing ads • Marketing experts we work with recommend testing the domain you use, as well as the rest of the ad • Depending on your product or target audience, display domain does have an impact on response • For example, if you’re a cosmetic doctor advertising your service, which domain is more likely to pull better results? BeckerMD.com LookYounger.com Improving SEO and SEM • No way to really know unless you test first • Best for rebranding strategy or new brands • Google compliance: Will need unique content, if selected domain is not the main website Counter balance with direct navigation • More than 70% of internet users type in a domain name to get to their destination • At more than 4%, direct navigation converts at twice the rate of regular search traffic • Advertisers, such as Garden State Life Insurance, are increasing ad placements on parked sites, and getting better conversions at cheaper rates • Makes sense to own key terms Counter balance with direct navigation • Visitor is engaged and clearly has an expressed interest in subject • Makes sense to own key terms • Provides constantly renewing source of interested parties who have self-selected your topic • After initial investment, only cost is renewal fee Counter balance with direct navigation Three ways to use direct navigation • Simple redirects to main site: – Books.com = BarnsAndNobel.com – Gift.com = JCPenny.com – TennisShoes.com = KSwiss.com • Verticle portals – Baby.com = Johnson & Johnson – Asthma.com = GlaxoSmithKlein – NoFleas.com = Bayer Counter balance with direct navigation Three ways to use direct navigation • Re-brand entire company/site – OberonGames.com = iPlay.com – WBZL.com = SouthFlorida.com Get your visitor engaged Category Killer domains are well positioned to be used as social networking sites • Case Study: Skateboards.com – Active site – User generated content is free and fresh • Videos, photos, stories • forums and chat rooms – Site is profitable without any external advertising … all current traffic is direct navigation Get your visitor engaged • Portal site positions your brand as the subject matter expert • Case study: Baby.com – Informational site requires investment and maintenance – Pay off can be significant – Word of mouth increases brand strength Get your visitor engaged • Landing pages can create unique connections • Case study: McDonald’s MorningImpaired.com – Short-term content, less robust and less maintenance than full portal – Usually funny or lighthearted – Obvious lead generators … sign up for mailing list, download wall paper, play games What’s the value of a domain? Potential ROI Case Study: Stocks.com Savings in CPC • Monthly visitors: 10,000 • Cost per click on key term: $4.63* • Monthly savings in CPC: $46,300 • Annual savings in CPC: $555,600 *Per SpyFu.com Nov. 3, 2008 What’s the value of a domain? Potential ROI Case Study: Stocks.com New Revenue • Monthly visitors: 10,000 • Typical conversion rate on website: 2%* • Estimated new customers monthly: 200 • Estimated new customers annually: 2400 • Average profit per new customer: $100-$250* • Estimated profit from new domain: $240,000-$600,000 *Variable data – assumptions made to show potential. Actual values will vary depending on specific profit margin and conversion rate. What’s the value of a domain? Potential ROI Case Study: Stocks.com Overview • Estimated annual value (revenue or CPC): $500,000 • Years to reach ROI: 5 • Value of 5 year investment: $2.5 million • Current asking price: $??? How much will the financial services industry segment spend in advertising this year? $1.1 billion in display only Q1 & Q2 2008. Ways to acquire domains • Registration – most single-word and two- word premium domains are gone • Aftermarket is new primary market – Live Domain Auctions – Two main online sales platforms • Auctions • Listing services – Expired and Deleting domain services – Private brokerage and stealth acquisitions Questions?