From Mallika Ravikumar (transcribed from an audio message):
Hi, my name is Mallika Ravikumar. I’m an author and writer based in India. Thank you for the wonderful videos you’ve put up. They’re very informative and helpful. I have a quick question.
I have two websites. One is the author website with the name www.mallikaravikumar.com. I also write a blog with the separate domain name called www.indiatraveltales4kids.com where I write about India history and culture for kids. I’ve been hearing a lot about the advantages of integrating the blog into your site including from your videos, and I’m wondering how that would work for me.
Particularly, because I chose my blog name based on keywords. That is – India, travel, tales, and kids – so that it would rank higher in a search. But if I were to integrate it into my author’s site, would I lose the advantages of having keywords in my domain name? And could I continue with the same name and still integrate it into my site? So, that’s my question. Thanks once again for the wonderful videos, and they are very, very helpful. Thanks.
There are really two parts to Mallika’s question.
Part 1: Will I lose the advantages of having a keyword domain if I integrate the blog into my site?
The simplest answer is ‘yes.’ She already has the blog and wants to integrate it with her main author site, but in doing so will lose the advantages of having the keywords within the blog domain. Of course, there is more nuance to it than that. And many of you are probably thinking – “keywords don’t matter in domains anymore!” – That’s not totally true, but it’s more true than it was 10 years ago.
There’s a good list of Google ranking factors that I would suggest you read at Backlinko.com. Among their list, they do include having keywords in a domain as a ranking factor and another factor including having a keyword as the FIRST word in a domain. So, in Mallika’s case, starting the blog domain with India would be probably be a relevant ranking signal to Google being able to determine the targeted country for the blog’s content.
However, as I discussed in the WEask.tv Q2, having keywords in your blog domain is decreasing in important as a ranking factor. Since 2012, Google has been cracking down on the abuse of exact-match keyword domains when they released the EMD (or Exact Match Domain) Update. This update lowered the amount of weight given to keywords in the domain and sometimes even penalized those trying to stuff highly searched phrases into their domain name. Gone are the days of sites like bestcheapplumberinchicago.com ranking easily for that search term.
If you want learn even more about this change, check out a 2011 video with Matt Cutts of Google where he answers the question, ‘How important is it to have keywords in a domain name?’
While Mallika may be giving up some moderate ranking signals, the effects will likely not be severe. There are a few other things you could be sacrificing, however.
Mallika’s site is a keyword domain, but it does have some branding to it that could be influential. When people see indiatraveltales4kids.com, they know exactly what to expect because of the words in the domain. If the blog was somehow combined with her author site that has her name as the domain, these branding signals would be lost.
You’ll also be sacrificing the fact that the blog may have existed for quite some time and has likely collected outside links pointing back to the site. These links are a huge factor in how a blog ranks. You could forward the domain to recoup some of this link juice but the safer move would be to stick with that domain long term.
Part 2: Could I continue with the blog domain and integrate it into my author site?
This sounds like Mallika is asking if she can keep both domain names and somehow integrate them. The only way I could think of doing this would be to link to your blog from your author site. Just a good old fashioned hyperlink that makes the web work. It appears she’s already happening. Good job there, Mallika!
In my opinion, I wouldn’t combine the two domains/websites right now. I think they’re both big, in-depth sites with lots of pages and lots of blog posts. The indiatraveltales4kids blog is big enough to stand and grow on its own and integrating it into the author site might cause it to get lost in the shuffle.
I know that in my earlier video I said that it will be more work to manage two sites and listed some other reasons to combine a blog and website, but this is one instance where I think the extra effort is worth it.
Thank you, Mallika, for the well-thought-out question. I know the answers were specific to your case but hopefully it can still be useful to others.
If you have any of your own questions, please head to webeminence.com/we-ask-tv and post your question in text, audio, or video form.