Domain Service Scams: An SEO Saga and Tutorial

This is reprinted from my blog. It’s part of an SEO 101 kind of piece, so the COLT originals won’t get much other than amusement out of it. For SEO newcomers, though, it should help readers come to grips with the basics.

The story thus far: Last week, I got a letter in the mail from Domain Registry of America. It’s an official-looking letter, and opens with the following:

“As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification of the domain name registration that is due to expire in the next few months.”

It goes on to tell me how to renew my domain, using Domain Registry of America, at a price that’s 6 times what I pay for full registration, hosting and customer service with my current domain service provider.

So….these guys are jerks. This is a scam, designed to trick the unwary into thinking a government agency has contacted them about their soon-to-expire domain. My plan is to make these guys famous, and use my campaign as a sort of SEO tutorial for all of you.

Domain Service Scam SEO, Part One

Any SEO campaign starts with finding the best keywords for the job. The easiest tool for this job is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. I use the more robust Market Samurai, which has a free trial, but for today we’ll use the Google tool and look for keywords related to Domain Registry of America in general, and Domain Service as a whole.

Once we log in, we navigate to the “Find Keywords” page. In the blank for “Word or Phrase” we type in “Domain Registry of America.” I choose this because it seems like the most likely thing somebody would type in after getting a letter like the one I got. We click the search button and wait for Google to process. 

When the results come up, we get a look at the performance on Google for the phrase we entered, plus a whole bunch of related searches. When we scan through them, we’re looking for four things.

  1. How many global (worldwide) searches happen for that term each month.
  2. How many local (in your area) searches happen for that term each month.
  3. How much competition there is for that particular keyword.
  4. A basic logical analysis of any attractive keyword about whether or not out target market (people who got letters) would use that phrase in a Google search.

Looking at the results, four phrases jump out to me as possibilities: domainsdomain service, domain registry of america, and domain registry of america scam. Let’s look at them one by one.

Domains

This one looks great on the surface: competition is low, it gets over 2 million monthly searches worldwide, and a half-million in my local area every month. There’s only one problem: it’s really, really generic. Folks who do this search may or may not have any interest in what I have to say about this particular domain registry scam. Also, it’s worth noting that all of my other phrases include this word…so we’ll get some service here anyway.

VERDICT: PASS

Domain Service

Great numbers here. We have 133,000 monthly global searches and 40,000 monthly local searches, with low competition. If I was starting a business, this is the keyword I’d jump on. It’s still a bit generic, but I’m happy to warn people searching for this term about the nefarious rapscallions who are running the scam called Domain Registry of America.

VERDICT: KEEP

Domain Registry of America

This is where things get interesting. The global and local searches are low: 3,600 and 2,900 respectively, and the competition is high. If I were running a business, this would be a really bad choice. It doesn’t get enough attention to justify how hard I’d have to fight to get “above the fold.” On the other hand, we really need to serve people who do a search for this specific term. That’s the whole point.

VERDICT: PASS

Domain Registry of America Scam

We have low competition, which is good, but very few searches. A total of 480 a month. For a large company, this isn’t much, but it might be a good pick for a local businesss. A martial arts school, for example, could do worse than generate 480 potential leads every month. This also works for our purposes. There won’t be many people using the search string “Domain Registry of America Scam” but because of the low competition, we stand a chance of reaching all of them. You’ll also note that the phrase includes the Domain Registry of America keyword we wanted, but the competition was too hot for.

VERDICT: KEEP.

 

In the end, we’re focusing on Domain Service and Domain Registry of America Scam as our keywords of choice. As the series progresses, we’ll demonstrate how we’ll corner the market and claw our way up the Google search ranks.

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