At the beginning of 2013, I started to review my previous Daily Golden Nuggets to see what predictions came true, which didn't, what internet technologies changed, and which ideas are completely dead.
Within my first 50 Nuggets I wrote about the idea that you could create multiple websites for yourself for specific targeting reasons. The idea is to have multiple domain names that serve specific purposes.
I'm going to revisit the topic a little bit, but I also have an update to some of that information because Google filters things a little different now.
I'm going to use my usual example jewelry store "Perosi Jewelers" and the website perosijewelers.com. Since that (fictitious) jewelry store is located in Totowa, NJ I could register the domain name totowajewelrystore.com and use it in my advertising, which was a typical suggestion years ago.
However, Google doesn't like multiple domain names pointing to the same website. From their point of view it would look like 2 different websites with exactly the same content. That's called duplicate content and it will surely get you wiped from all of Google's search results.
If you want to use multiple domain names in your advertising, you need to use the 301 redirect feature to forward everyone typing "totowajewelrystore.com" to the 'perosijewelers.com" website.
The 301 redirect method also renders that second domain name worthless for search engine ranking of the keyword "totowa jewelry store." But that's okay now.
Prior to 2012 one of the common ranking techniques was to set up a smaller website that tells people you are a jeweler in the town of Totowa. You would start from scratch and write all new content for that website. No need to go overboard--perhaps only 10 pages--but it all targeting would be the keyword "totowa jewelry store." These smaller sites were called "micro-sites" and they were very effective because they exploited a loophole in Google's search algorithm. This was considered domain name spamming.
Google knew about the loophole but took a long time to finally fix it, but they finally did in October 2012. So those exact match domain names do not work anymore.
Another variation of domain names that don't work are those with hyphens. In other words, the domain totowa-jewelry-store.com would not be successful anymore now either.
People usually register domain names with hyphens when their first choice domain name is already taken. If there were another Perosi Jewelers they might consider registering "perosi-jewelers.com" as a domain name, which should work for them since that's the store's name.
However, registering a slogan or a keyword phrase with hyphens could work against you. Google might interpret your domain as spam.
In reality your actual domain name doesn't matter anymore. For branding and user comprehension, you should always strive for domain names that match your company name, or a simple permutation of your company name without the use of hyphens.
If your company name is not available then you should consider using your slogan as your domain name, but again, avoid the hyphens.
Lastly, if you could always get yourself a memorable domain name like "nostinkyjewelry.com" which would make your customers laugh and perhaps lead to a completely new form of branding.
Ranking a website now has more to do with the content on the site and how people link to your site. Your domain name really doesn't matter.