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SEO For founders - Full Course

Don't buy a domain yet

Don't buy a domain yet

Don't buy a domain yet

Hi there, it's Olli ✌️ I'm Indie Hacker & Co-Founder at getspexia.com

I know that Founders struggle with SEO (I've been there). This is my take to make SEO more accessible & fun to learn. Because it is fun. I am continuously improving the content & hope you will find this valuable. Let me know on X if you spot any mistakes. Enjoy & keep rocking! 🤘

Your website domain can move the needle in the war of rankings. 🔮

It was one of the “I wish I had known the advantages earlier” kind of situations for me when I first found out.

That’s why I am dedicating this chapter to explaining the advantages.

I will also provide an intuitive explanation for why we can observe these benefits..

Refer to the SEO strategy chapter for a more technical view on it.

And I know, I know, you can always switch the domain later as well.

But frankly, this is quite a hassle from a SEO perspective. A lot of pitfalls to watch out for.

So let's not do this and rather make sure to think about potential SEO benefits before purchasing!

Let's get to it. 🤘

Your website domain can move the needle in the war of rankings. 🔮

It was one of the “I wish I had known the advantages earlier” kind of situations for me when I first found out.

That’s why I am dedicating this chapter to explaining the advantages.

I will also provide an intuitive explanation for why we can observe these benefits..

Refer to the SEO strategy chapter for a more technical view on it.

And I know, I know, you can always switch the domain later as well.

But frankly, this is quite a hassle from a SEO perspective. A lot of pitfalls to watch out for.

So let's not do this and rather make sure to think about potential SEO benefits before purchasing!

Let's get to it. 🤘

Your website domain can move the needle in the war of rankings. 🔮

It was one of the “I wish I had known the advantages earlier” kind of situations for me when I first found out.

That’s why I am dedicating this chapter to explaining the advantages.

I will also provide an intuitive explanation for why we can observe these benefits..

Refer to the SEO strategy chapter for a more technical view on it.

And I know, I know, you can always switch the domain later as well.

But frankly, this is quite a hassle from a SEO perspective. A lot of pitfalls to watch out for.

So let's not do this and rather make sure to think about potential SEO benefits before purchasing!

Let's get to it. 🤘

Summary

  • There are 3 domain types, exact match domains (EMD), partial match domains (PMD) and no match domains (NMD). Match in this context refers to the overall of the words in your url with the primary, high commercial intent keyword you optimise your landing page for.

  • The domain can be chosen strategically to make ranking easier for important keywords with strong commercial intent.

  • If you go for an Indie Hacker project and there are people searching for what you offer, an exact match domain can be an advantage. If not available, a partial match domain makes sense.

  • If you are building a product with focus on brand or SEO is not a good marketing channel for you, go for a no match domain or partial match domain.

  • There are 3 domain types, exact match domains (EMD), partial match domains (PMD) and no match domains (NMD). Match in this context refers to the overall of the words in your url with the primary, high commercial intent keyword you optimise your landing page for.

  • The domain can be chosen strategically to make ranking easier for important keywords with strong commercial intent.

  • If you go for an Indie Hacker project and there are people searching for what you offer, an exact match domain can be an advantage. If not available, a partial match domain makes sense.

  • If you are building a product with focus on brand or SEO is not a good marketing channel for you, go for a no match domain or partial match domain.

  • There are 3 domain types, exact match domains (EMD), partial match domains (PMD) and no match domains (NMD). Match in this context refers to the overall of the words in your url with the primary, high commercial intent keyword you optimise your landing page for.

  • The domain can be chosen strategically to make ranking easier for important keywords with strong commercial intent.

  • If you go for an Indie Hacker project and there are people searching for what you offer, an exact match domain can be an advantage. If not available, a partial match domain makes sense.

  • If you are building a product with focus on brand or SEO is not a good marketing channel for you, go for a no match domain or partial match domain.

Quick Recap

Previously, we looked at the customer journey in context of SEO.

We saw that solution aware but product unaware keywords are the ones we optimise our landing page for.

Let’s do a quick recap with Flappie as an example.

The keyword people are searching for when they try to find Flappie’s product is “cat flap with prey detection”.

They know there is a solution (solution aware) but don’t know any products (product unaware).

Otherwise they would do branded search, e.g. search for "Flappie cat flap" directly.

People searching for this want to find out more and potentially purchase something.

In SEO we call this keywords with high/strong commercial intent.

Of course, Flappie wants to get as many of those people as possible onto their page.

To achieve this, they have to rank as high as possible on Google for this keyword.

How to do that? Optimise your landing page.

We’ll check out what exactly that means later.

For now just think of it this way: We add the keyword in relevant places on the page. One such place is the heading.

But how does the domain come into play now?

Let me explain 👇

Previously, we looked at the customer journey in context of SEO.

We saw that solution aware but product unaware keywords are the ones we optimise our landing page for.

Let’s do a quick recap with Flappie as an example.

The keyword people are searching for when they try to find Flappie’s product is “cat flap with prey detection”.

They know there is a solution (solution aware) but don’t know any products (product unaware).

Otherwise they would do branded search, e.g. search for "Flappie cat flap" directly.

People searching for this want to find out more and potentially purchase something.

In SEO we call this keywords with high/strong commercial intent.

Of course, Flappie wants to get as many of those people as possible onto their page.

To achieve this, they have to rank as high as possible on Google for this keyword.

How to do that? Optimise your landing page.

We’ll check out what exactly that means later.

For now just think of it this way: We add the keyword in relevant places on the page. One such place is the heading.

But how does the domain come into play now?

Let me explain 👇

Previously, we looked at the customer journey in context of SEO.

We saw that solution aware but product unaware keywords are the ones we optimise our landing page for.

Let’s do a quick recap with Flappie as an example.

The keyword people are searching for when they try to find Flappie’s product is “cat flap with prey detection”.

They know there is a solution (solution aware) but don’t know any products (product unaware).

Otherwise they would do branded search, e.g. search for "Flappie cat flap" directly.

People searching for this want to find out more and potentially purchase something.

In SEO we call this keywords with high/strong commercial intent.

Of course, Flappie wants to get as many of those people as possible onto their page.

To achieve this, they have to rank as high as possible on Google for this keyword.

How to do that? Optimise your landing page.

We’ll check out what exactly that means later.

For now just think of it this way: We add the keyword in relevant places on the page. One such place is the heading.

But how does the domain come into play now?

Let me explain 👇

Domain Types

Flappie’s target keyword for their landing page is “cat flap with prey detection”.

There are 3 different types of domains they could have.

  • Exact Match Domain (EMD) that matches the keyword exactly: catflapwithpreydetection.com

  • Partial Match Domains (PMD) that matches parts of the keyword: flappiecatflap.com

  • No Match Domains (NMD) that doesn’t match the keyword: flappie.com

Here is another example.

What’s the difference? Why does this matter for ranking?

Flappie’s target keyword for their landing page is “cat flap with prey detection”.

There are 3 different types of domains they could have.

  • Exact Match Domain (EMD) that matches the keyword exactly: catflapwithpreydetection.com

  • Partial Match Domains (PMD) that matches parts of the keyword: flappiecatflap.com

  • No Match Domains (NMD) that doesn’t match the keyword: flappie.com

Here is another example.

What’s the difference? Why does this matter for ranking?

Flappie’s target keyword for their landing page is “cat flap with prey detection”.

There are 3 different types of domains they could have.

  • Exact Match Domain (EMD) that matches the keyword exactly: catflapwithpreydetection.com

  • Partial Match Domains (PMD) that matches parts of the keyword: flappiecatflap.com

  • No Match Domains (NMD) that doesn’t match the keyword: flappie.com

Here is another example.

What’s the difference? Why does this matter for ranking?

Why the domain type matters

Loosely speaking, you get authority for the keywords that are part of your domain.

And with more authority, you rank higher for these queries.

This can help you get past more authoritative pages for specific searches.

In case of Flappie, if their domain would be catflapwithpreydetection.com, it would be very difficult for competitors to outrank them for that specific keyword.

You see the benefit?

The domain can be chosen strategically to make ranking easier for important keywords with strong commercial intent.

The same holds true for partial matches of the parts of the keywords in the domain. You will get authority for the matching words.

See below for a nice example.

The downside of an exact match domain however is branding.

“Cat Flap With Prey Detection” is a pretty shitty brand name.

But for a lot of solopreneur projects, this is just fine.

The other extreme are no match domains which is something like Flappie or Spexia. Recognisable brand names.

The middle ground are partial match domains that contain some strategic keywords but still can be just fine with regard to branding.

It’s a trade off.

Let’s see an example for all domain types

Loosely speaking, you get authority for the keywords that are part of your domain.

And with more authority, you rank higher for these queries.

This can help you get past more authoritative pages for specific searches.

In case of Flappie, if their domain would be catflapwithpreydetection.com, it would be very difficult for competitors to outrank them for that specific keyword.

You see the benefit?

The domain can be chosen strategically to make ranking easier for important keywords with strong commercial intent.

The same holds true for partial matches of the parts of the keywords in the domain. You will get authority for the matching words.

See below for a nice example.

The downside of an exact match domain however is branding.

“Cat Flap With Prey Detection” is a pretty shitty brand name.

But for a lot of solopreneur projects, this is just fine.

The other extreme are no match domains which is something like Flappie or Spexia. Recognisable brand names.

The middle ground are partial match domains that contain some strategic keywords but still can be just fine with regard to branding.

It’s a trade off.

Let’s see an example for all domain types

Loosely speaking, you get authority for the keywords that are part of your domain.

And with more authority, you rank higher for these queries.

This can help you get past more authoritative pages for specific searches.

In case of Flappie, if their domain would be catflapwithpreydetection.com, it would be very difficult for competitors to outrank them for that specific keyword.

You see the benefit?

The domain can be chosen strategically to make ranking easier for important keywords with strong commercial intent.

The same holds true for partial matches of the parts of the keywords in the domain. You will get authority for the matching words.

See below for a nice example.

The downside of an exact match domain however is branding.

“Cat Flap With Prey Detection” is a pretty shitty brand name.

But for a lot of solopreneur projects, this is just fine.

The other extreme are no match domains which is something like Flappie or Spexia. Recognisable brand names.

The middle ground are partial match domains that contain some strategic keywords but still can be just fine with regard to branding.

It’s a trade off.

Let’s see an example for all domain types

Exact Match Domain

I came across this example on X.

Bank Statement Converter does exactly what it sounds like: Convert a bank statement into Excel.

It's founded by @BallerIndustry who makes 18k monthly recurring revenue with this simple tool.

Pretty impressive. Check out my Thread on it if you want to learn more.

The keyword that describes exactly what he is offering and that the most people are searching for is “bank statement converter”.

The domain is an exact match - bankstatementconverter.com!

The benefit?

When you search for this keyword, bankstatementconverter.com ranks #1.

And that is even though all the other pages are more authoritative.

We’ll see later how exactly “authority” is measured but the higher, the better!

I like to think of exact match domains this way:

Google wants to show users the content that matches their intent best.

If people heard about bankstatementconverter.com from non-SEO marketing efforts & want to check it out, they will search for “bank statement converter”.

As they are looking for @BallerIndustry’s solution, they will only click on that.

Even if it would not rank number 1 yet.

Afterwards, they will close Google because they found what they were looking for.

This is a very strong signal to Google. It shows that bankstatementconverter.com fulfils the intent of the user.

So they will start ranking the site higher.

But they don’t know that it is actually people searching for the “brand” name which just happens to be an exact match of the keyword.

So there is no way for them to differentiate between people searching for the keyword in general and people just searching for some tool.

That’s why they just rank bankstatementconverter.com number 1 for all of them.

Note however that if you do not fulfil the intent of the users, you will not rank even with an exact match domain.

bankstatementconverter.com does a very nice job here.

Users coming on there can directly upload their pdf. One click. Obvious call to action. Good stuff.

Great job @BallerIndustry!

I came across this example on X.

Bank Statement Converter does exactly what it sounds like: Convert a bank statement into Excel.

It's founded by @BallerIndustry who makes 18k monthly recurring revenue with this simple tool.

Pretty impressive. Check out my Thread on it if you want to learn more.

The keyword that describes exactly what he is offering and that the most people are searching for is “bank statement converter”.

The domain is an exact match - bankstatementconverter.com!

The benefit?

When you search for this keyword, bankstatementconverter.com ranks #1.

And that is even though all the other pages are more authoritative.

We’ll see later how exactly “authority” is measured but the higher, the better!

I like to think of exact match domains this way:

Google wants to show users the content that matches their intent best.

If people heard about bankstatementconverter.com from non-SEO marketing efforts & want to check it out, they will search for “bank statement converter”.

As they are looking for @BallerIndustry’s solution, they will only click on that.

Even if it would not rank number 1 yet.

Afterwards, they will close Google because they found what they were looking for.

This is a very strong signal to Google. It shows that bankstatementconverter.com fulfils the intent of the user.

So they will start ranking the site higher.

But they don’t know that it is actually people searching for the “brand” name which just happens to be an exact match of the keyword.

So there is no way for them to differentiate between people searching for the keyword in general and people just searching for some tool.

That’s why they just rank bankstatementconverter.com number 1 for all of them.

Note however that if you do not fulfil the intent of the users, you will not rank even with an exact match domain.

bankstatementconverter.com does a very nice job here.

Users coming on there can directly upload their pdf. One click. Obvious call to action. Good stuff.

Great job @BallerIndustry!

I came across this example on X.

Bank Statement Converter does exactly what it sounds like: Convert a bank statement into Excel.

It's founded by @BallerIndustry who makes 18k monthly recurring revenue with this simple tool.

Pretty impressive. Check out my Thread on it if you want to learn more.

The keyword that describes exactly what he is offering and that the most people are searching for is “bank statement converter”.

The domain is an exact match - bankstatementconverter.com!

The benefit?

When you search for this keyword, bankstatementconverter.com ranks #1.

And that is even though all the other pages are more authoritative.

We’ll see later how exactly “authority” is measured but the higher, the better!

I like to think of exact match domains this way:

Google wants to show users the content that matches their intent best.

If people heard about bankstatementconverter.com from non-SEO marketing efforts & want to check it out, they will search for “bank statement converter”.

As they are looking for @BallerIndustry’s solution, they will only click on that.

Even if it would not rank number 1 yet.

Afterwards, they will close Google because they found what they were looking for.

This is a very strong signal to Google. It shows that bankstatementconverter.com fulfils the intent of the user.

So they will start ranking the site higher.

But they don’t know that it is actually people searching for the “brand” name which just happens to be an exact match of the keyword.

So there is no way for them to differentiate between people searching for the keyword in general and people just searching for some tool.

That’s why they just rank bankstatementconverter.com number 1 for all of them.

Note however that if you do not fulfil the intent of the users, you will not rank even with an exact match domain.

bankstatementconverter.com does a very nice job here.

Users coming on there can directly upload their pdf. One click. Obvious call to action. Good stuff.

Great job @BallerIndustry!

Partial Match Domain

Both Ticketcorner and Seatgeek offer sports game tickets.

But if you search for “ticket for sports games”, Ticketcorner outranks SeatGeek.

And if you search for “ticket seat for sports games”, Seatgeek outranks Ticketcorner.

You see the behaviour?

It’s because of the partial matches in their domain.

Ticketcorner contains the strategic word “ticket” which gives them a competitive advantage for ranking.

Why?

Because ticket is actually what people are searching for more frequently than seat in context of purchasing tickets.

Partial Match Domains have another advantage: They are still great brand names.

Both Ticketcorner and Seatgeek offer sports game tickets.

But if you search for “ticket for sports games”, Ticketcorner outranks SeatGeek.

And if you search for “ticket seat for sports games”, Seatgeek outranks Ticketcorner.

You see the behaviour?

It’s because of the partial matches in their domain.

Ticketcorner contains the strategic word “ticket” which gives them a competitive advantage for ranking.

Why?

Because ticket is actually what people are searching for more frequently than seat in context of purchasing tickets.

Partial Match Domains have another advantage: They are still great brand names.

Both Ticketcorner and Seatgeek offer sports game tickets.

But if you search for “ticket for sports games”, Ticketcorner outranks SeatGeek.

And if you search for “ticket seat for sports games”, Seatgeek outranks Ticketcorner.

You see the behaviour?

It’s because of the partial matches in their domain.

Ticketcorner contains the strategic word “ticket” which gives them a competitive advantage for ranking.

Why?

Because ticket is actually what people are searching for more frequently than seat in context of purchasing tickets.

Partial Match Domains have another advantage: They are still great brand names.

No Match Domain

No match domain is the best choice if you want to go all in on brand.

One reason could be that SEO isn’t a good channel for you to begin with.

This is the case for us.

The SEO space is just super crowded with a lot of old players that take the market.

All good. No problemo from our side. We do content marketing then;)

But it does not make sense to go for a PMD or EMD in this case. Stick to building a nice brand.

No match domain is the best choice if you want to go all in on brand.

One reason could be that SEO isn’t a good channel for you to begin with.

This is the case for us.

The SEO space is just super crowded with a lot of old players that take the market.

All good. No problemo from our side. We do content marketing then;)

But it does not make sense to go for a PMD or EMD in this case. Stick to building a nice brand.

No match domain is the best choice if you want to go all in on brand.

One reason could be that SEO isn’t a good channel for you to begin with.

This is the case for us.

The SEO space is just super crowded with a lot of old players that take the market.

All good. No problemo from our side. We do content marketing then;)

But it does not make sense to go for a PMD or EMD in this case. Stick to building a nice brand.

Other considerations for a domain

There is another important destinction to be made.

Country-code top-level domain names (ccTLDs) vs. Global top-level domain names (gTLDs).

In their documentation, Google explains “ccTLDs are tied to a specific country (for example .de for Germany, .cn for China), and therefore provide a strong signal to both users and search engines that your site is explicitly intended for a certain country”.

So if you want to go international, make sure to go for a global top-level domain name.

See here for Google's list of gTLDs.

Another great explanation by John Mueller, Senior Search Analyst from Google can be in his reddit post.


One last thing, there is no difference with regard to SEO between "exact-match-domain.com" vs. "exactmatchdomain.com".

The thing that could matter though is that people perceive the domain without hyphens as visually more appealing and are then more likely to click on it.

I haven't found any studies on this however.

There is another important destinction to be made.

Country-code top-level domain names (ccTLDs) vs. Global top-level domain names (gTLDs).

In their documentation, Google explains “ccTLDs are tied to a specific country (for example .de for Germany, .cn for China), and therefore provide a strong signal to both users and search engines that your site is explicitly intended for a certain country”.

So if you want to go international, make sure to go for a global top-level domain name.

See here for Google's list of gTLDs.

Another great explanation by John Mueller, Senior Search Analyst from Google can be in his reddit post.


One last thing, there is no difference with regard to SEO between "exact-match-domain.com" vs. "exactmatchdomain.com".

The thing that could matter though is that people perceive the domain without hyphens as visually more appealing and are then more likely to click on it.

I haven't found any studies on this however.

There is another important destinction to be made.

Country-code top-level domain names (ccTLDs) vs. Global top-level domain names (gTLDs).

In their documentation, Google explains “ccTLDs are tied to a specific country (for example .de for Germany, .cn for China), and therefore provide a strong signal to both users and search engines that your site is explicitly intended for a certain country”.

So if you want to go international, make sure to go for a global top-level domain name.

See here for Google's list of gTLDs.

Another great explanation by John Mueller, Senior Search Analyst from Google can be in his reddit post.


One last thing, there is no difference with regard to SEO between "exact-match-domain.com" vs. "exactmatchdomain.com".

The thing that could matter though is that people perceive the domain without hyphens as visually more appealing and are then more likely to click on it.

I haven't found any studies on this however.

What should you do?

First of all, you should keep reading to better understand the authority mechanism;).

But besides that I would decide based on your ambition and the scope of the project.

If you go for an Indie Hacker project and there are people searching for what you offer, an exact match domain can be an advantage. If not available, a partial match domain makes sense.

If you are building a product with focus on brand or SEO is not a good marketing channel for you, go for a no match domain or partial match domain.

Hope this was valuable. If you have feedback, write me on X! 🤘

First of all, you should keep reading to better understand the authority mechanism;).

But besides that I would decide based on your ambition and the scope of the project.

If you go for an Indie Hacker project and there are people searching for what you offer, an exact match domain can be an advantage. If not available, a partial match domain makes sense.

If you are building a product with focus on brand or SEO is not a good marketing channel for you, go for a no match domain or partial match domain.

Hope this was valuable. If you have feedback, write me on X! 🤘

First of all, you should keep reading to better understand the authority mechanism;).

But besides that I would decide based on your ambition and the scope of the project.

If you go for an Indie Hacker project and there are people searching for what you offer, an exact match domain can be an advantage. If not available, a partial match domain makes sense.

If you are building a product with focus on brand or SEO is not a good marketing channel for you, go for a no match domain or partial match domain.

Hope this was valuable. If you have feedback, write me on X! 🤘

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Course Chapters

The SEO Operating System for Startups Founders

Copyright © 2024 Profaile GmbH. All rights reserved.

The SEO Operating System for Startups Founders

Copyright © 2024 Profaile GmbH. All rights reserved.

The SEO Operating System for Startups Founders

Copyright © 2024 Profaile GmbH. All rights reserved.