Excuse the title of this post but I am mad. In the last 2 weeks, two of my clients called me asking for my advice. A local company here in South Africa cold called both of them offering to sell them the new .co domain extension for R2700.
I almost fell on my back. Now, .co's sell between $20-$30 depending on who you purchase it from. It might even be cheaper or more expensive depending. I haven't had the time to look at all the domain registrars so it might vary a little. One client, in particular, said that by buying a particular domain name from them they would guarantee no 1 on Google listing. Naturally, I laughed out loud which I'm sure was my way of disguising my anger. Nothing makes me angrier than SEO companies making false claims. At the end of the day we do not own Google and definitely do not know "exactly" how their algorithm works otherwise EVERYONE would be no 1 in Google. There are hundreds of ranking factors they use. We can only apply the best practices and test and test and test. Anyway, I'm not here to go into an SEO lesson right now it's more to WARN YOU about these companies.
I took it upon myself to call this company based in Cape Town to find out a little more about their offering because I didn't want to judge them without knowing the facts. It turns out that they also sell the domain name with some content (a small website) on it which is cool, kind of justifying the R2700 they are charging but what intrigued me more was that they were claiming that these domains would have no 1 on Google listings. Anyone can achieve this with Google Pay Per Click Advertising but SEO takes a long time and certain variables need to be considered i.e. the difficulty/competition for a keyword you want to rank for example. Also, importantly is whether the keyword actually has monthly searches.
You can find this out by going to Google's External Keyword Tool. The last thing you want to do is optimize a website for a keyword and it doesn't get any traffic. A BIG waste of time and money. During our conversation, I asked for examples of No.1 listings which he gave me a few. So, at a quick glance, I see that there are very little to no competing pages for the keywords they are ranking for. I won't disclose the domains here because I'm not in the game of kiss and tell but in general to see the competition for any keyword in Google you can type your phrase in "" and see how many results. The first image below shows over 12 million competing pages. To be no 1 for that keyword even with a keyword rich domain could take years and years. Now the second image shows 79 competing pages. If I bought that domain I could probably rank no 1 in less than a week for the keyword "SEO supplier".
Low Competition = Easy to rank
The moral of the story is it's very easy to rank for low competing pages. I have been testing the .co extension for some time now and it does not carry the same weight as the .com, .net, .org or .co.za not for me anyway. This is my experience however and I can only talk from experience. A few months ago the international SEO community wrote many articles that the .co carried equal weight as the .com for geographical modifiers i.e any keyword rich domain with a city/town behind it - plumbersincapetown.co, housesforsaleincapetown.co etc but I'm yet to see this. I have many websites with geographical modifiers in the domains that rank very well with .co.za, .com and .net extensions but not plain .co. I will still test this some more before coming to a final opinion. Things might change. In conclusion, be VERY careful of SEO companies claiming to get you to no 1.
It's very possible but make sure the keywords at least have a substantial amount of monthly searches and make sure they are not tricking you by saying they can rank you for some stupid keyword like - "best plumber in cape town that delivers the best service" because at the end of the day nobody searches for - "best plumber in cape town that delivers the best service".P.S. Keyword rich domains are very powerful - it took me less than 6 months to rank www.retailinteriordesign.co.za for a client of mine for the keyword - "retail interior design" and now he is receiving FREE traffic for this keyword and yes this keyword is searched monthly and is currently receiving very nice traffic.
PLEASE, if ever you need a second opinion, feel free to email me personally from the contact form and I'll gladly help or just leave a comment below. Also, if you've been approached by any company claiming guaranteed no 1 listings in Google then please share it with our community. As far as buying a .co domain with a website on it for R2700, I suppose it's fine as long as the domain can rank well in the search engines and proper research has been done on the amount of traffic it can receive.