I get a lot of emails from blog readers about domains that they think are a great fit for development. Typically they have evaluated the name based entirely on search volume and CPC. While these are absolutely very important metrics for development, they are absolutely not the only factors that come into determining if a domain is a good development candidate.
If you develop a domain your main goal should be to get your site on the first page of Google, and then over time move up the page to reach the coveted above-the-fold. Take a look at the chart below and you will quickly see how important being above-the-fold really is:
As you can see 56% of the clicks go to the #1 spot, followed by 13.45% for the #2 spot and 9.82% for the #3 spot. If you go further down the page you might find yourself with only 1.45% of the clicks which probably isn’t the level of traffic you are looking for.
What many Domainers miss when evaluating a domain for development is this very concept, how hard will it be to rank in the #1, #2, or #3 spot in Google? This is where competitive analysis comes in, which in my mind is the most important thing to look at when reviewing a domain for development, that’s right, more important than search volume or CPC.
It only takes a few minutes to do the research, but what you will learn will help you understand what percentage of that search volume you are likely to see. Doing the research is easy, below are the steps you should be taking:
- Do a search on Google for the keywords you are targeting
- See who is in the #1, #2, and #3 spot
- Go to OpenSiteExplorer.org and plug each of these sites in
- Look at the backlink profile of each site
- Determine if you can get more backlinks that these sites
If the sites in the top three spots of Google each have over 100,000 backlinks with big juicy links from sites like the New York Times or TechCrunch then you are going to have one heck of a job beating them. If you have a huge SEO budget then you might be able to pull it off, but I find most people have an SEO budget of $0 which means you’ll be out of luck.I find this is the #1 reason why many development projects fail. Along with emails about great domains for development, I also get emails from people who have put a lot of time into building a great website on their domain full of fresh content and updated frequently, only to find themselves on the middle of Google page 2.Remember, as I’ve said before, the hard part about developing a site is not building the site, it is the SEO work required to get the site to rank well, especially for competitive terms.So next time your bidding for an expired domain that you think would make a great development candidate, make sure to go beyond search volume and CPC because at the end of the day getting 1.45% of the search volume number you’re so proud of, probably won’t make you that proud.