Our client owns several domains. One is keyword specific <snip> and one is the company name <snip>. Currently we have a 301 directing everything to the keyword specific domain, but the client wants to push towards using their company name. If I switch the redirect will that have an impact? My gut feeling is that the keyword domain is more important?
I agree with the client.
In general, a URL based on a company name will help create a stronger brand, and that usually outweighs the slight SEO advantages (if any) of a keyword-rich domain name. I'd go with the client's wishes in this case, but be sure to reverse the 301s (in other words, redirect the keyword domain to the company domain).
OK. The client currently ranks in the top 1 or 2 for their keyword domain and also company domain, but second page for plurals of the keyword. They are competing with larger (international) retailers so it's not performing badly - just don't want to damage it.
I would always prefer the brand name to keywords.
It looks much more professional! If you see a website at companyname.com you know it's a website for that company. If you see a website at cheap-bits-and-bobs.com, you know it's a website selling bits and bobs, supposedly cheaply, but you don't know who is behind it, and it looks seriously dodgy. After all, everyone knows that to buy books, you do to amazon.com ... but what has a rainforest and river in South America got to do with buying literature? Nothing that I'm aware of! But try the keyword-laden bookshop.com or bookstore.com and all you'll find is cybersquatters who have parked the domain name. Alternatively the shorter books.com redirects you to Barnes & Noble's website, but under the name barnesandnoble.com, the company name and not the keyword.
If your content remains the same and you put the right redirects on so that every URL that used to work still works and goes to the right page, you shouldn't see any negative impact on your rankings.
Thank you guys, put my mind at ease. Will get Webmaster Tools working on the site, and check all the incoming links and make sure they get redirected appropriately.
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