Dot brand SEO – Optimizing Search Results with dot brand domains

Search is generally the largest traffic driver on websites. For example, 50% of USA e-commerce orders in Q1 2016, compared to 20% for direct domain entry. Search Engine optimisation is therefore extremely important for brands. In this section, we look at how well dotbrand sites have been optimized for search, as well as how they actually perform, searching for a certain number of keywords.

SEO is a combination of multiple factors, out of which :

  • Content – The richer the content of the site, the better it ranks.
  • Technical structure and design – Sites must be technically optimised to be readable to search engines.
  • Inbound links – The more other sites point to you site, the more relevant you are considered by Search Engines

However, it should be noted that some of the brands are currently making pilots and tests. Corresponding sites may not be even declared to the Search Engines. Upon launch, optimisation may take time, particularly when it comes to creating the back-link profile.

An opportunity offered by dotBrand is the creation of keyword rich domains. We will therefore also be looking at how dotbrand sites actually rank when searching for the keywords composing the second level domain.

Our detailed study provides more details on how dotbrand websites perform in search.

Design and optimisation for dot brand SEO

Inbound links

The number of inbound links for sites supported by dot brand domains is low, and most of domains have no inbound links. As a matter of comparison, highly optimised brand websites would have in excess of 1,000 inbound links. The right part of the chart correspond to above 100 inbound links, and the darker colours correspond to the more recent researches. It is very interesting to note that the number of domains with inbound links is growing, while the proportion of domains with no links is decreasing.


Matt Cutts explains in this video that even though “he wouldn’t assume that just because you have a large number of indexed pages that you automatically get a high-ranking”,  the more pages you have, the more chances you have to rank for different keywords. Plus, the more pages you have, the more likely you have more overall links and PageRank, which do directly impact your rankings.

The number of large sites in the dotBrand world is increasing consistently since 2016.

Search Performance

Exact match search has been performed on both the second level domain name and on the combination of second and top level domain name. Second level domain names exact match could be a user searching for “life to the fullest” and finding We find from our dot brand SEO research that the brand TLD is taken into consideration by the search engines.

The combination of second and top level domain would be searching for “home barclays”, and finding The charts show the proportion of sites found in the first pages of results for bing and google. The left part shows how websites are ranking just for a second level match, while the right side shows the ranking for second and top level match.


Share of sites in the 2 first results pages of Google when searching for SLD or SLD and TLD


Share of sites in the 2 first results pages of Bing when searching for SLD or SLD and TLD

Search and Domain Names

Moz  is one of the largest community of search engine experts. Moz carried out an extensive survey of over 150 marketing professionals, and analysed the results in order to represent the perceived importance of various factors in Google’s search algorithm. This is explained in The factors were ranked from 1 (not influential) to 10 (highly influential), and the latest survey was run in 2015.

We looked at how launching a new website on a “” domain or on a “keyword dot brand” domain would impact every one of those factors.

  • Keyword is the exact match root domain name, 5.83
  • Keyword is present in root domain name, 5.22
  • Keyword is closely related to domain name trough entity association, 4.08
  • Keyword in the subdomain name, 3.82
  • Keyword is in the domain extension, 2.55