Estimating type in traffic for a domain

July 23, 2009

In this post, I’ll outline a simple formula you can use to evaluate the type-in traffic potential of a generic keyword .com domain.   I thought this might be a useful exercise after reading recent editorial on .CM Typo Traffic and plan to write a follow up post applying this formula to alternate domains like .cm.

Where do type-in visitors come from?

Generic .com keyword domains get type-in traffic from several different sources, namely visitors who…

  • type in domains (e.g. expecting to find a certain type of site
  • use the URL box as a search box (since certain browsers append .com to keywords)

Determining keyword demand by Google monthly searches (MS)

The first thing I look at is the demand for the keyword.  I use Google’s keyword tool to determine ‘exact match’ monthly searches (MS).   Important: When using this tool,  change the match type from ‘broad’ to ‘exact’ or you will receive inflated numbers.

Direct Navigation Percentage (DNP) – estimating how  many people use direct navigation (type-ins) vs. search

Next we’ll need to determine the percentage of users who use direct navigation (DNP) instead of search.   For today’s example, I am going to use a ‘guessed’ percentage of 2%.   If you have a large amount of parked domains in a niche you can determine your industry percentage by dividing your total unique monthly visitors by the total number of Google’s estimated searches for your keywords.

The basic formula

If Keyword Phrase, gets 5,000 Google searches per month and we estimate that 2% of users use direct navigation in this niche, the type-in traffic estimate for  is 100 visitors per month (5,000 x 2%).


Hope this post helps provide a starting point for evaluating keyword domains from a type-in perspective.  Future posts will concentrate on other contributing factors to domain value including development potential, SEO advantages and end user resale value.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

dcmike77 07.23.09 at 12:52 pm

That’s not helpful because no one knows what the DNP is. It would vary by industry, country, etc.

Tony 07.23.09 at 1:03 pm

I think this is an oversimplification but nice effort.

I think the biggest factor is not the industry but the number of words or even letters in a domain. One worders tend to get 5-10x the traffic of 2-worders which in turn tend to get 5-10 more traffic than 3-worders with everything else being equal. At least this has been my experience.

admin 07.23.09 at 2:55 pm

Thanks for the comments. Hope it wasn’t too much of an oversimplification – was trying to lay out a very basic framework for beginners who don’t really know where to start when evaluating any type-in potential for a name.

Couldn’t agree more that number of words is a very good indicator of type-in potential. I didn’t include it in this post because it is already somewhat factored in the the Google monthly search demand. For example, ‘candy’ receives 550,000 estimated monthly searches, but ‘candy bars’ only receives 22,200 searches. I’ll probably write a standalone post about word length, hyphens, stop words and numbers if I turn this post into a series as planned.

As far as DNP goes, a more accurate guess can be gotten by comparing the number of estimated searches to the actual clicks received. For example…

The term ‘blog hosting’ receives 4,400 searches per month on Google. If I own and it receives 10 type-in visitors a day, it’s Direct Navigation Percentage (DNP)=

(10 * 30 days) / 4,400 = 6.8%

If I owned 100 hosting domains, I could average together their DNPs for a more accurate estimate which might give me a slight edge when evaluating type-in potential of other hosting domains.

Anunt 07.23.09 at 4:07 pm

Use and and use common sense!

Bob 07.23.09 at 8:15 pm

Good foundation for a series! I hope that you do follow up with this. It took me a long time to figure this some of this stuff out, and it’s great to see somebody else that’s willing to share what they’ve learned on this relatively mysterious topic……

Vikz 07.24.09 at 2:02 am

Exactly the sort of simplified explanation beginners like me are looking for. Thanks!

lisa 10.19.09 at 5:13 am

Hi! A great Traffic Estimator tool is It seems to generate very accurate information.

admin 10.20.09 at 9:31 am

Thanks for the Estimix link lisa. I ran a number of test searches with it. The numbers look high, but a very interesting tool nonetheless. Just added it to the ‘traffic tools’ section of my domaining mindmap.

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