Here’s an interesting article on redirects and while the author makes some good points, I do take issue with this statement the following paragraph.
Actually, there are many other things going on behind the scenes that impact rank, and the domain name is rarely a significant factor.
Well, I can’t speak for someone else’s experience, but I can speak for mine and in my experience Google does favor keyword-rich domain names. The weight to which Google places on the keyword in the domain name is unknown, but that Google does is pretty clear. Otherwise, how do you explain that blogs whose permalinks include keywords rather than numbers as in WordPress’s default permalink structure actually do better in the SERPs?
I do agree that there are a number of factors that influence rankings. The keyword in the domain name is just one factor. All other factors being equal, I’d say it could be a significant competitive factor.
In the next paragraph, the author says this:
Let’s say your website has been out there for 6 months or more and you assume, for whatever reason, that you can get a higher search engine ranking if you were using a keyword in your domain name instead of the one you have. In addition to your company web domain, maindomain.com, you rush to purchase keyword1.com, keyword2.com and keyword3.com.
He then goes on to explain how to do a redirect properly and avoid duplicate content. All of that is really a non-issue. Why not just build a separate website with that keyword-rich domain name?
There’s nothing that says you are limited to one website for your company. Many brick and mortar companies have satellite offices to handle local business in far away towns. If you consider each web page you build a separate ad for your business then it’s OK to have one that you use for company branding purposes and one or two or three that you use for search engine optimization purposes in targeting specific keywords you want to capture. No duplicate content necessary. But on the other side I do not recommend search engine spamming either. These are companies that launch a ton of micro-sites all stuffed with keywords that they want to target as part of their search engine optimization efforts. The issue with this approach is now you run the risk of diluting your online brand and confusing your potential customers who come across any of your many spammy keyword rich domain, micro-websites. So the point here is use a top relevant keyword as part of your domain, but like with everything in life, don’t overdue it!