What makes a domain valuable?

This is a question everyone raises in domain industry. Now we focus on domains only, i.e. where no website is currently running. It is known that a good domain has a great potential to start a web business, thus it is a question of importance. A domain is valuable because of the followings:

  1. Having a great name in terms of keyword and/or brandability
  2. Having a long and successful history from previous use

And, as the combination of the above listed two parameters, having traffic, possibly relevant, even without content.

So let us see what is a great name

As of today, great name should have a .com extension. A domain possesses a great name if it is nice sounding, short and brandable. Great domain name – in terms of instant traffic – if it has a high volume matched keyword, i.e. nail.com, aeroplane.com, freebooksonline.com or dvdreleases.com. There is more than 100,000 monthly search for these terms and these domains possess type-in traffic as well. So starting a relevant website on these domains would come with relevant traffic from the first moment.

Domain nameAlexaDAExact search volumeBroad search volumeBroad / Exact ratioHighest related search termHighest related search term volume
nail.com1.6M2492k20M217,39nail designs550k
aeroplane.com13.3M10112k7.6M67,62aeroplane games49k
dvdreleases.com9.5M1373k1.9M4,98latest dvd releases60k
freebooksonline.com13.3M150k0.8M16,62free audio books online12k

As we can see from the table, these domains have traffic (Alexa rank) even without a backlink profile (low DA). In the table the ratio of broad (containing but not limited to the keyword in question, i.e. nail design, nail art etc) and exact match (only the keyword i.e. nail) search volume is also indicated.  As this ratio indicates, keyword domains can further be divided: nail.com and aeroplane.com belong to one class: they contain one word from a search. I.e. people usually type another search terms besides nail or aeroplane. This fact is reflected by the high ratio of broad and exact match search volume. On the other hand, dvdreleases.com and freebooksonline.com possess low broad match/exact  match search volume, which means that the domain name exactly specifies what its content should be about what we defined as keyword uniformity in our other post. Low keyword uniformity secures higher freedom in use, thus, its brandability and price – and its potential at the same time – is higher as well.

Great domain name also means short domain as well. In our post analyzing domain names on Brandbucket, in the market of brandable domain names, 12 character length is a strict limit for brandability. It is evident that domain entropy also correlates with domain length, i.e. the more the keywords, the lower is the domain entropy value.

So, great domain name has high search volume and high domain entropy. In other words it is short and brandable – I guess this is something all of us knew before reading this post, however, it should be emphasized that this is a measurable, rankable metrics of a domain name.

What is long and successful history good for?

Again, a domain name is bought by an end user in order to have a successful website running on it, possibly with relevant traffic from the first moment. As discussed above, this can be achieved by choosing a great domain name. However, there is another widely used method for having relevant traffic, namely by buying a domain name with a history i.e. a domain name where previously a website was running.  The traffic in this case comes from two sources: from the referral links of the previous website running under the domain name, or from the organic ranking of the new content, where the domain strength originates from these old links. It is important to check the backlink profile and domain history prior to purchase, i.e. if there were more, different websites running under this domain name in terms of content as it might harm the new site.

In the past years, PageRank was the metrics for describing domain strength. Since the discontinuation of  PageRank toolbar update, other metrics have become widely used such as MOZ Domain Authority or DP from SEO kicks discussed in our previous post.

So what makes a domain name valuable?

Of course, best domain names combine the above mentioned two characteristics as a website can start with relevant traffic because of both its name and history, so a website with a unique, quality content can have an easy start saving marketing costs.