I’m blogging about my journey in setting up a new startup affiliate marketing portal. You can read about the history of this project here.
The site concept is to provide a portal enabling parents and prospective parents to compare maternity and baby products and accessories.
Preliminary research is essential to the success of every project, online or otherwise. I’m guessing that if you’re reading this then, like me, you probably devote time to reading startup blogs and articles. This type of research is vital, but sometimes is is equally important to just do it.
In keeping with this approach this will be my last post before I announce the launch of my new site. That said, I’ll be doing a little last minute research pre-launch and documenting my findings here. In future where I come across a resource I find personally useful and informative I will either link directly to the article or summarise it, along with my own take on it.
If, like me, you’re setting up an affiliate marketing site then Keyword Analysis should be your first port of call. Whenever I’m setting up a site for a client I discuss their key search terms with them, to identify what they expect their visitors to search for in the search engines in order to find them. I have to say that for me ‘search engines’ still equals Google.
Begin your research with the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Enter your key search term and this handy tool will provide you with a list of Keyword Ideas, along with an indication of Global (worldwide) and Local search volumes for related search terms. In my case my local search area is the United Kingdom, but I am thinking big and targeting the global marketplace.
The site I’m developing is focussed on products for parents and parents-to-be. In time I will add a full range of relevant products, but initially I intend to focus on maternity wear and maternity clothes.
I searched on”Maternity” and the Keyword Tool indicates search volumes of 5,000,000 and 1,000,000 searches on this term. If I can attract only a tiny, minute infinitesimal percentage of this market I will be sipping Cuba Libres by the pool next summer! In my case relevant top ranking searches include: “maternity clothes”, “maternity clothing”, “maternity dresses” 673,000 (135,000); “maternity wear”, “pregnancy clothing” 550,000 (110,000); “baby clothes” 1,830,000 (450,000). More specific items such as “maternity bras” 33,100 (12,100) and “maternity top” 60,500 (14,800) are also indicated. These figures serve to indicate the potential of my target market, and to an extent the degree of competition I am likely to face.
The more competitive search terms are likely to prove difficult to target as they are so competitive, so it will be important to consider long-tail search terms as potential sources of traffic [see The Resurgence of Long-Tail Keywords in SEO].
This tool will also prove very useful in choosing which keywords to target for individual product pages within the site – close variations often yield different results. More on this later when I consider SEO for the site.
The question of branding also requires consideration of Keyword Analysis. Until recently, with the introduction of algorithm updates such as the Penguin update and the Exact Match Domain (EMD) update the presence of a keyword phrase in your domain name made it easier to achieve a high ranking for that keyword phrase.
In my case I own the following domains: www.mummycool.co.uk, www.mummycool.com, www.mummywear.co.uk, www.mummywearmaternity.co.uk and www.mummywearmaternity.com
These domains pre-date the Penguin update and my original intention was to build the site on one of the “MummywearMaternity” domains. Recent research indicates that while
EMDs (and PMDs) no longer provide the same ranking boost that they used to…EMDs can, and in many cases do, still rank well. [SEO Factors To Consider When Choosing A Domain Name]
The quoted article suggests that branding considerations now outweigh EMDs or Phrase Match Domains (PMDs), although these still carry some weight.
My Domain Name Choice
A good domain name is characterised by a number of important factors. It should be:
- Memorable: vitally important from a branding perspective
- Unique: ditto
- Relevant: ditto
- Error-proof: Not prone to mis-spellings or misinterpretation (Expertsexhange)
- Short: SEOmoz suggests sticking to a domain of 15 characters or less.
- Non-hyphenated: Due to negative SEO and quality perceptions.
The question I face is whether to brand my site as MummyCool or MummyWear Maternity. Based upon a combination of these branding considerations and the fact that I intend to target a wider market than simply maternitywear my decision is in favour of the MummyCool brand.
Next step: Launch the MummyCool website.