Whenever I plan to start a new blog, the first two things I do are:
- Buy a domain name.
- Install WordPress.
Now, keep in mind I said “plan” to start a new blog. I might not necessarily be ready to put all of my energy into making the website right away. Instead, I just want to keep my domain parked. But what are the SEO effects of parked domains?
The question is:
How can I start optimizing my website before there’s any content, so that when I do have content, my SEO will have gotten a head start?
There are a lot of WordPress themes out there which are great at gathering up subscribers prior to a website’s launch. But you also need to make search engines bots understand that your site will soon become very valuable to search engine users.
I was watching a video by Matt Cutts (embedded below) in which he explained the SEO-friendly way of parking a domain before a website is fully launched.
These tips are very helpful for bloggers to make the most out of their parked domain and upcoming blogs.
Basically, here’s the process:
- Install WordPress on a domain.
- Do some on-site SEO.
- Build some backlinks.
- …and viola, you’ve got page rank!
Sounds easy, right? But there is more to it. Let me explain…
Google Uses A Parked Domain Detector To Find Parked Domains:
Parked domains are usually considered idle, and Google uses something called a “parked domain detector” to find and crawl inactive domains.
- Yes, Google does crawl parked domains.
But an “empty” (or parked) domain is of no use for search engine bots because they can’t determine what your blog is all about.
So the question remains:
How can we park a domain and reap SEO benefits?
Firstly, whenever you buy a new domain, simply go ahead and install WordPress on it. Now, go ahead and install all of the essential SEO plugins and set up WordPress properly.
Even if you are using a “Coming Soon” WordPress theme, I recommend you do following things:
- Next, create a sitemap, and submit it to Google and Bing. This will ensure your new domain will be indexed. Although you won’t get much benefit out of it until you do the final launch, the good thing is your site will be crawled and indexed.
- Create social media profiles (Facebook fan page, YouTube channel, Pinterest Profile, Twitter profile, etc.) which will help your parked domain to get social signals. Once you launch your site, you can quickly integrate these profiles into your blog.
The whole idea here is this:
If you have parked your domain for future use, you need to let search engines know ASAP what your website is going to be about.
Simply adding in basic SEO details (e.g. site meta description), will help your site rank higher once it gets fully launched.
Here is that Matt Cutts video I mentioned earlier:
What to do after the actual launch?
One major problem which you may face after the launch is slow indexing.
Since Google has already determined the rank of your site using its “parked domain detector tool”, your site is now officially known by Google as “THIS DOMAIN IS PARKED” (i.e. not offering anyone much value).
You need to find other ways like blog commenting, guest posting, getting backlinks, and getting social signals before search engine bots will come back and recrawl your site.
You can follow my earlier case study on faster indexing of new sites to get your newly-launched site recrawled and indexed quickly. Here’s another guide on how to increase Google’s crawl rate.
Instead of keeping your domain completely idle, my recommendation would be to install WordPress and do the above-mentioned steps. This will not only help you create a brand before the actual launch, it will also help search engine bots to understand your site and get it indexed.
So tell me: What steps do you take after buying and parking a domain name? Do you install a blank website or do you add a few pages (like me) to get it indexed quickly? Let me know your process in the comments below!
Here are some more SEO posts to check out:
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