A pet peeve of mine is people confusing a large amount of search results as an indicator of search volume. Search results represent the state of the web’s pages, relative to searched keywords, not the degree to which the keywords themselves are searched. This pet peeve is extended when people search without quotes, since the exact phrase they think they’re seeing search volumes for may not even be on the page (you would need to have searched terms in quotation marks for pages with the exact phrase).

But this doesn’t mean search results tell us nothing, or that they aren’t useful. In fact, the quantity of search results, along with the nature of the results themselves, can be a powerful indicator of domain value.

How To Use Search Results Properly

The best case is with an exact match keyword domain, or at least a domain where a keyword figures extremely prominently. A good case for a domain to buy would be one where a search for a specific term in quotation marks yields a high number and high quality results, and where that exact keyword or keyword phrase (without the spaces, of course) is available as a .com.

So, if you see an available domain, check its search results when you add spaces between the words and surround them with quotes. If you can think of a useful phrase that may not be taken, check the results, and check the domain availability. It’s as simple as that.

General Use

If a phrase is used a considerable amount, it is part of society and may be useful. Even if you don’t see the monetization directly, that doesn’t mean it isn’t potentially brandable or useful in another way. I’ve always liked the phrase “what sorcery is this?” and when I ask people about it, most have heard it said before but few could identify it. Sure enough, 55,000 results for the exact phrase, and an available .com. 55,000 isn’t mind-blowing, but the quantity confirmed that it was indeed a said expression. I figured I could use that.

“Official” Use

While the general use section was more about quantity, this is about quality. What’s populating the search results for your exact match search? If you see lots of business, first, and last names, this suggests not only usability and versatility, but potential buyers. This may seem unethical, but you are providing a service in acquiring the domain on their behalf, and should be paid for your time. You aren’t intending to use the domain in bad faith and trying to impersonate their business (hopefully); you are helping them find better and more ways to represent their business.

At the end of the day, search results show the activity of the people, and in trying to gauge the market and value of your existing and potential domains, it doesn’t hurt to have a peek at the search results for your intended word or phrase, no matter what it is. What seems like a random string of consonants can be the acronym of a massive organization. You just can’t know until you look, and it takes less than a minute to find out. Remember the rule: the more you know about a domain, the more you can properly assess its value and potentially justify the buy or sell in your favour.

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