It’s long been known that keyword-rich domain names don’t really help with search rankings. If your site is “www.cheap-used-cars.com”, you’re not going to rank better for “cheap used cars” simply due to the domain name.
That said, I never really saw much downside to them. They don’t help, but they don’t hurt. However, Google’s John Mueller recently pointed out some reasons why they could cause some problems, and I found his thoughts rather insightful. Here are a few things he shared.
Spam: Those names can look spammy, which is never good.
Business Focus: If your site is “cheap-used-cars.com”, it’ll be weird if you try to add other services like vehicle repairs or tire services.
Nothing To Search For: Perhaps worse, it’s hard to search for you. If someone searches for “cheap used cars”, you might be in the list somewhere, but you might not be. If you had a more conventional name, you’d be easier to find. It’s similar to companies that got cute and put “near me” in their name, but now they’re simply difficult to actually find if you’re looking for them.
The last one is the killer for me. As a business your main goal shouldn’t be to rank high for unbranded terms (like “cheap used cars”), but to have people intentionally search for you because of your reputation. If you get fancy with names like this, people might want to find you specifically and struggle to do so because Google interprets your company name as a string of keywords instead.
This isn’t a problem I see much of anymore, but I thought it was a neat insight into some previously unknown drawbacks to those types of domain names.