The first thing most new site owners do is come up with the perfect domain name, then go buy it and a hosting package. What they don’t realize is, that rush to purchase can actually affect them negatively in search engines. I’ll tell you why and how you can lock in your ideal domain name without causing yourself harm.
Understand Page Indexing
The trick to avoid hurting yourself in the search engines, like Google, is by knowing how your site pages are indexed in the first place. There are two primary ways that Google takes notice of your pages. The fastest way is for you to let Google know you have a new page on your site. It’s called a ping. By default, your WordPress site is set up to automatically ping search engines. Normally that’s a good thing, but not if your site is not ready. More on that in a moment.
The second way search engines index the pages of your site is by sending out search robots, called bots and spiders, to crawl the Web in search of new pages. That sort of indexing often takes between two and four months.
How it Harms You
Here’s how you hurt yourself by purchasing a domain and hosting together far in advance of having your site ready to launch. Once your domain name points to a specific location in cyber space, namely a host’s server, a page is automatically created for it by the host. It will generally say something like “Under Construction.”
Eventually, that page will get indexed by the search engine bots and spiders. So, when someone types a search phrase in Google that matches something close to your domain name, one of the results they may see will be your domain name, followed by the only other text info on the page. It will look something like this:
Once you do have a site in place, it could take you another two to four months to get your real pages indexed by search engines by moving the old “under construction” listing down in the rankings.
Keep in mind that the process of taking a site from idea to publication could be up to six months or more, depending mainly on how sure you are of what you want to do and how much of your core content you have created. That’s plenty of time for search engines to index your “under construction” page before you get a real page in place.
Park It for Now
So, if you’re in a hurry to snatch the perfect domain name, you can. Just don’t purchase hosting yet. You can get your domain through a variety of registrars, like GoDaddy, and simply park the domain. In other words, you will own the domain, it just won’t point to anywhere in cyber space. If there’s no page associated with it, the domain won’t be indexed by search engines.
Research with a Pro
The very best advice is to contact a marketing guru or site design specialist before you purchase anything, and let them give you pointers on domain name choices that works best for the keywords on which you want to rank highest. There may be a lot of marketing angles you had not considered. Plus, they can probably recommend a good domain and hosting company for you to use, as well as the proper site platform that best meets your needs.
See What I Mean
If you want to see another way to goof up your SEO, go to Google and type in “skip intro” to see how a Flash page really messes up the search engine rankings of your home page too.