Why You Should Own Your Own Domain - Getting Spotted by the Search Engines
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If youíre planning to optimize your web site so that it shows up in a good position on the search engine results pages (SERPs), you definitely want to have your own domain name. If youíre planning to use SEO on your web site, then you know about key words and how they relate to the way that the search engines index your site. Well, the key words in your domain name matter, too.
Letís go back a moment to compare potential URLs. Earlier I said that if you set up a web site with a free web hosting company and didnít have your own domain, your siteís URL would be something like http://www.freewebsite.com/yoursite. If you own your own domain, your siteís URL would be more like http://www.yoursite.com. Aside from looking more professional, itís much easier to rank higher for the right key words for the second URL.
You see, with the first URL, your index.html page may be the home page of your site Ė but it isnít the home page of that domain. And Google, Yahoo, and the other search engines will be looking at the whole domain; your site is just a sub-domain to them. Since search engines tend to pay more attention to home pages than to other parts of a web site, you can pretty much guess where that leaves you.
If you own your own domain name, however, at least you have a fighting chance. Itís hard enough already to work your way to a high rank on the SERPs, especially for some of the more competitive and sought-after key words. Why make your job harder by setting yourself up to struggle against the SEO handicap of being a sub-domain on a free web hostís site?
Another SEO issue worth mentioning is permanent 301 redirects. Letís say you decide to change the branding on your web site, and move it to a different URL. If you own both URLs, itís much easier to tell the search engines that your web site has permanently moved to this new address.
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