When people talk about buying domain names for development the focus is often metrics like search volume and CPC. Don’t get me wrong, these metrics are definitely important and I don’t buy a domain name unless it meets a certain threshold. The problem is that people buy based on these metrics only thinking that they have a great development candidate, when they really don’t.
The important thing to remember about domain development is that the goal of building the site is to get traffic, and if page one is occupied by people with five-figure/month SEO budgets, you might not stand a chance. The problem is that many Domainers jump-into markets with high search volume and CPC without first taking the time to understand the market. Then, one year later when their site is still on page two or three of Google they complain that development didn’t work for them. The problem wasn’t the domain or the website, the problem was not taking the time to understand their market.
Let’s take a look at something like “Los Angeles Hotels” – a search term with nice volume and CPC, but a look at page one should tell you that you don’t stand a chance of ranking well for this term.
As you can see, the top of the search results is dominated by Google Adwords ads, then below that are some of the biggest, most heavily SEOed websites on the Internet. If you think you’re going to outrank sites like Expedia or TripAdvisor you better have a huge budget because it’s an uphill battle.
Of course, some people do have multi-million dollar budgets and then you can target more saturated or competitive markets. However, most people don’t which means you’ll want to find markets where the top sites haven’t spent a small fortune on development and SEO.
So remember, when you’re buying a domain name for development, don’t just look at the search volume and CPC. If you truly plan on developing the domain look at the market, understand who the players are, and decide if you can realistically do what it takes to get onto Google page one.
Also, one final note, it is critical to remember that you need more than just a domain name with a website to rank well. Backlinks are critical and if you aren’t building backlinks targeting the keywords you want to rank well for, you probably won’t see the results you’re looking for. If you don’t know how to get started, make sure to read article, Backlinks 101.