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Comparing Google Exact Match Search Volume to Type-in Traffic

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I spoke on the phone yesterday with a gentleman who is just beginning to get his feet wet in the domain industry. The person has done a lot of keyword research, registered a hundreds of dollars of keyword domain names, and he is now exploring his options to begin generating revenue. I asked him if the domain names receive traffic, and he said they receive thousands of visits a month.

I was very surprised to hear that new registrations were receiving so much traffic, so I inquired further. It turns out the names aren’t parked (or being monitored) but the owner assumed Google search volume equated to type in traffic. Unfortunately, this isn’t accurate by any means, and I generally find new registrations (except hot trends) do not receive any type-in traffic at all.

I haven’t done a ton of research on the comparison between average monthly search volume in Google and type in traffic, but I thought I’d share some information I have from some of my domain names. The figures might not be entirely accurate, since some of the traffic to my sites could be repeat visitors, so I will not use sites where I know this happens frequently.

Google exact search volume for: tropical birds: 5,400
Type-in traffic for TropicalBirds.com: 215 uniques (4% total site traffic)

Google exact search volume for: torah: 49,000
Type-in traffic for Torah.com:1,052 uniques (50% total site traffic – keep in mind other extensions are developed websites)

Google exact search volume for: chain cat shark: 36
Type-in traffic for ChainCatShark.com: 5 uniques (5% total site traffic)

Google exact search volume for: chain cat shark: 36
Type-in traffic for ChainCatShark.com: 5 uniques (5% total site traffic)

Google exact search volume for: gun collection: 5,400
Type-in traffic for GunCollection.com: 32 uniques (100% total site traffic)

Google exact search volume for: middle valley: 140
Type-in traffic for MiddleValley.com: 32 uniques (100% total site traffic)

Google exact search volume for: tequila fest: 91
Type-in traffic for TequilaFest.com: 18 uniques (100% total site traffic)

Google exact search volume for: hockey goalie helmets: 880
Type-in traffic for HockeyGoalieHelmets.com: 9 uniques (100% total site traffic)

I have found that the longer the domain name (and more words it has), the less type-in traffic it receives, especially when compared to search volume. However, longer tail keywords do tend to rank better when fully developed, and the higher the ranking, obviously the greater percentage of search traffic it will receive.

Owning a domain name where the keyword string gets search volume is good, but you can’t assume that will equate to type in traffic.In fact, when you look at the numbers, I think you will find the % of type in traffic compared to the exact match search volume is fairly small.

If anyone else is willing to share their information, perhaps we would have a more compelling discussion.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and his company earns revenue from domain names. Elliot is President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Elliot is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Read this blog's disclaimer for information about the publisher, comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts.

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Comments (30)

    Tatjana

    First thank you for sharing this valuable information with everyone out there.

    I agree with you, as I do myself same experiment ,and own some great hot products keywords domain name, with not such a great extensions like .info .

    Recently I develop one of the domain, that was collecting dust doing nothing, no revenues, no parking, really useless dust collector. I develop very simple website based on WP platform with some affiliate products, and 2 days later I find out is #1 on Google search .

    Yes I find out that developing site on keywords bring more traffics, but still traffic can hang in the air for 2 reasons which are following ;

    keywords is not part of the Google trend,
    keywords is not part of the Google products

    For all of us out there, I suggest always development as solutions to drive traffic , because parking days is really gone.

    Thanks

    December 16th, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    curious

    Why do you rely upon local search volume vs global, when your sites are able to cater everyone?

    I’m not referring specifically to this type-in example…..just curious how you utilize the tool in general when evaluating domains.

    Thanks.

    December 16th, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Snoopy

    “Google exact search volume for: tropical birds: 5,400
    Type-in traffic for TropicalBirds.com: 215 uniques (4% total site traffic)”

    Are these both monthly figures?

    December 16th, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    check url availability

    Great article, but all the example domains were .com in the article. An interesting follow-up would be to show, with examples, how type in traffic stats for other tld’s is so much lower than .com. Also, if you have names in multiple tld’s, show the type-in differential.

    Love your blog elliot. Keep up the good work.

    December 16th, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    t

    search for this term in google,

    AOL released sensitive search data detailing 20 million searches preformed by 658,000 subscribers

    December 16th, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    jp

    You should be comparing to googles exact match search volume for keyword.com (G w/ ext)

    it’s a more realistic representation.

    There are always more searches than type-in of course. The G w/ext metric will give you a measure of type in, sadly based on people that don’t know how to use te address bar.

    Of course only the best domains make that list, however I’ll bet Torah.com does.

    December 16th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    whoknows

    Interesting. This is the type of research I like to see before registering a domain. I don’t like it when I hear about people coming up with a domain name and just registering it without having done any type of market research.

    Short domains are better because it is simpler. That is what it comes down to at the end of the day. After a long work day, the average person doesn’t want to use the brain energy to type in My Online Health.com. Instead, a better name is eHealth.com (just using examples). Just imagine trying to type out the meaning of CNN every time you just want to spend a few seconds looking at the latest news. Not something I would want to do.

    What sucks for a lot of business is that there are only so many two letter combinations that can be used.

    December 16th, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Rosco

    Interesting post.

    What about type in traffic for a domain like wwwtorah.com ?? compared to http://www.torah.com. Any one know the percentage of type in’s.

    Just opened up my analytics account right this minute and had a look at three of my unmarketed domains. Two word domains. These are also .co.nz domains as well.

    My results: 1 direct type in per 30 exact google searches.

    December 16th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    whoknows

    What methods can a person use to increase type in traffic? I think when a website becomes a common use for a person, they are more likely to type the name in the bar.

    December 16th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Rosco

    @whoknows – offline advertising; tv, radio and print media to name a few. Not the most effective advertising, better to stick with adwords as you can target the customers that are actually looking for your solution/product and you only pay per click.

    December 16th, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Elliot

    @ curious

    I know many people outside of the US use ccTLDs more often than .com, so I prefer to use the local search volume.

    @ Snoopy

    All are monthly figures.

    December 16th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    roddy

    Yes here in australia .com.au is king , but i doubt anyone could make a lving from direct navigation for their domains , i think the usa and .com are entrenched in the direct naviagation situation , also perhaps asian folk and numbers is the other example of lots of direct navigation

    December 17th, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Mark

    Hi Elliot-

    Great post.

    I have wondered many of times of the ratio of searches to type in traffic.

    Rosco states about 30 to 1.

    In the old overture keyword selector days, pre-google, I would wonder the same thing. My own tests were absolutely inconclusive. Those domains I was lucky to grab showed no identifiable relation from searches to type ins. Curiously, several of my long 10+ character domains would receive respectable traffic.

    I would bet Mr. Schilling could provide some input.

    Would love to hear more on this from others.

    Cheers!

    December 17th, 2009 at 1:21 am

    LS Morgan

    We have names with relatively low monthly search volume that seem to do great with direct nav (proportionally speaking, relative to what their gmsv might suggest) while other names that have profoundly better search engine volume just don’t seem to inspire people to type those keywords right into the address bar and bolt a .com onto the end.

    It’s weird, but it’s a totally real phenomenon.

    December 17th, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Greg

    Elliott,

    You might be able to answer a side question that came to mind after reading your post.

    At times I notice when doing an Exact Match with the Keyword Tool that the Local Search Volume results are higher than the Global Search Volume.

    How could that be and what are some reasons to focus on one versus the other?

    December 17th, 2009 at 9:34 am

      Elliot

      @ Greg

      Perhaps people locally to you have different search habits than others globally.

      December 17th, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Open Domain Market

    How did you find out the type-in traffic? I am wondering how to find that information.

    December 17th, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Greg

    My bad.

    I assumed that the Global figure included the Local figure, i.e., the U.S. is part of the world. Therefore it would be impossible for the Local figure to be larger than the Global figure.

    It sounds like you’re saying that the Local figure is not included in the Global figure and that the Global figure is everything outside of the U.S. Very good to know. Many thanks.

    This came up when doing an exact match search for:

    Doll Houses For Sale

    The November Local figure is 2,400 and the monthly Global figure is only 880.

    Again, I had wrongly assumed that the U.S. was viewed by Google as being part of the Global figure.

    Many thanks for your response.

    December 17th, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Elliot

    @ Open

    How did I find the type in traffic for which names?

    December 17th, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Eppie

    @Greg — the difference is that Global is a 12 month average, Local just shows a single month. What you’re seeing when local outpaces global is a spike in search volume.

    Your doll houses example is likely a result of people doing searches for Christmas presents.

    December 17th, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Kevin

    Fascinating info El!

    Thanks!

    December 17th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Greg

    Excellent explanation. Well thought out. I will keep that in mind going forward. Many thanks.

    December 17th, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    ron

    Elliot,
    Your dogwalker site has sign up and registration sections that require PHP programming and SQL database knowledge.
    Could I ask how you accomplished that part of the site? And further, would he be available for more programming work?

    December 17th, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Domains By Volume

    Great post Elliot, so interesting to see this sort of data and to hear others thoughts on type-in vs search volume.

    My friends in the industry (domain, affiliate, and SEO) and I been targeting high volume keyword-based domains for years now, and while it’s great to receive some type-in traffic, most of the traffic I get is from search engine rankings. The exact match volume from Google’s keyword tool definitely doesn’t equate to type in traffic as you mentioned, but it’s a good relative indicator of what sort of demand there is out there for a particular keyword.

    Whenever I find a niche or vertical I want to target, whether it’s a hot seller on an affiliate site, or just a term that is popular and has a lot of PPC advertisers (which would generally mean more clicks and targeted adsense ads), I’ve always gone over to Google’s keyword tool first.

    I’d plugin my root term, sort by exact match search volume (either global or local) and then dump those into a bulk domain checker like Godaddy’s (allows up to 500). I would look for .com/.net/.org domains that were exact keywords. No prefix or suffix on the keyword. For example, if keyword was “blue gadget shoes”, I’d look for bluegadgetshoes.com, bluegadgetshoes.net, or bluegadgetshoes.org.

    We’ve found a number of keyword based domains this way and can say from experience that terms (even high volume) with lower levels of competition tend to rank fairly well in Google’s natural search. Sometimes we’d cross link with some of our other domains, sometimes we’d build a few links from a quick article distribution or submitting to a few directories, but honestly, these methods were more for getting them indexed as quickly as possible. In many cases, these sites would rank well because of the keyword domain.

    Finding the domains, while very valuable, became very time consuming, so we put together a greasemonkey script (Firefox add-on) that will show what .com/net/org domains were available, built into Google’s keyword tool. You still use google’s tool as normal, it doesn’t interfere with anything, just adds a column that shows you the available domains. This has made our life so much easier and we launched it so it’s publicly available and of course free.

    Here’s a link to the greasemonkey script at Userscripts.org: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/63224

    Oliver

    December 18th, 2009 at 11:04 am

    chandan

    excellent article :)

    December 18th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Kevin

    @Domains By Volume

    Nice Greasemonkey script. I recommend moving your affiliate links to the external request for domain availability. That way they can be instantly updated across all of the userscript installations (as the links themselves would be returned in real time as the requests are made) instead of requiring users to update their userscript installation if the affiliate links need to change (better rates elsewhere, changing affiliate accounts, tracking, etc.).

    December 24th, 2009 at 4:00 am

    Domains by Volume

    @Kevin,

    Thanks for the comments. We have already taken your comments into consideration and updated our script. We really appreciate the feedback and along with yours, we’re also working on adding user filters including sorting by keyword/domain length, search volume and even TLDs. I’m also working on adding International Domain Support for different languages / domain names.

    Happy Holidays!

    Oliver – DomainsByVolume.com

    December 26th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Build a coupon site

    Hi,
    Thanks for article. I go through whole post and comments to find answer that i am looking and come to this but did not find. my question.
    You said type in traffic for tropical birds: 5,400 . You mean people type this domain in browser and that traffic is 215 uniques (4% total site traffic).

    If let say i develop this domain and get 1st or 2nd postion then what percentage of traffic i can expect. will it be around 4000 traffic monthly .

    Thanks.

    January 17th, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Free Appraisal

    Hi,

    Interesting. I had 2 developed domains as examples.
    The first has 3600 exact, it receives about 10 visitors daily
    The second one has 1900 exact, it receives 20-30 visitors daily.

    March 18th, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Josh

    This was an interesting post for me to read. I’ve done quite a bit of research into the amount of type in traffic a domain gets as a percentage of its monthly Google exacts.

    My findings showed ranges between 0.5% and 6% were coming from direct type in traffic. As you’d expect, this depended on the amount of words and letters in a domain and I go into this in depth on my site.

    March 18th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

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