By 6 years ago in SEO

How I use URL Search to get thousands of visitors

URL Search is defined by Google as when a user types a URL such as into the search box. It differs slightly from Navigational Search which is where a user types the name of the site e.g. “myspace” rather than the URL.

Most people who search for URL’s don’t realise they are doing anything wrong – some of them are hijacked by Googles very clever line of JavaScript that moves the cursor from the browser address bar to the Google search box when the Google homepage is loaded.

Ranking highly for popular URL’s can send a huge amount of traffic and is a great way to target your competitors customers.

For example if you saw your competitor running a newspaper advert with a URL such as at the end of the advert you can expect people to be searching for that URL on the major search engines.

The image below shows the traffic Blogstorm received in the last 2 weeks from people searching for “” (see results page here). If a tax disc was a commercial product that I could sell then this traffic would be pretty valuable. Although the total is 8,019 the figures for the last few days have been around 2,000 per day.


Of course you need to have a catchy title otherwise nobody will click on your listing, it also helps to be competing with people who have no clue about SEO.

Ranking for these sorts of pages is pretty easy because they usually have very little competition unless you are targeting major sites. Certainly if you stick to a niche industry you can often outrank the original site or at least come second.

As well as keeping an eye on URLs that your competitors are publishing offline a great way to find popular URLs to target is by using the Google Keyword Tool. Simply enter “www” as your keyword and it comes up with a list of popular URLs which can be ordered and sorted as you wish.

Google Suggest is also a great way to find commonly searched for domains and even pages within domains.

By Patrick Altoft. at 9:00AM on Monday, 04 Aug 2008

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.


58 Responses to “How I use URL Search to get thousands of visitors”

  1. andymurd says:

    That’s very sneaky but I like it. Shame there’s no kind of affiliate programme for tax discs.

  2. Awesome post… thanks Patrick… need to digest this a couple minutes to see what I want to use it for :-)

  3. @Patrick – very clever, very sneaky

    @andymurd – there is, it’s called the post office, although I hear it doesn’t pay too well and they can pull the plug on you at any time :-(

  4. Rob Mortimer says:

    You can spend years on the big issues, but sometimes the small changes can make all the difference…

  5. sponge says:

    how to promote my blog?

  6. BallparkBob says:

    The guy who sits next to me constantly does this and I never thought of this on my own. You can bet I’ll be using this idea going forward.

  7. Tom says:

    Alright! Boat loads of traffic. But, how does it convert?

  8. sandossu says:

    That’s really clever and I didn’t though of that.

  9. Brian says:

    Brilliant. Another way to pull in traffic.

  10. Jim Gaudet says:

    Not sure I will actually do this, but using the Keyword Tool and Google Suggest were great ideas. Thanks for the info.

    ~ Jim

  11. VMOptions says:

    This is an awesome trick! I can see the potential to generate traffic, the question is how well will that traffic convert.

  12. Kimota says:

    Hmmm, not sure about this. Seems rather deceptive to me. And sure, it may produce traffic, but they’re hardly going to convert. Can help inflate page impressions for advertising though.

    This just seems too spammy for my tastes.

  13. DVBC says:

    Yes it does preety well – I used to have such a fix

  14. Joost says: did rank on urls but they got punished by google a few weeks ago.

    • Seth says:

      Joost: we may not really have punished but something is really going on thats for sure. After three weeks of not being found on certain keywords we now are being found again (sometimes part of the day, sometimes the whole day).

      It really is strange and we have absolutely no clue what is happening at the servers.

      Somebody knows more about this “case”? is it a glitch?

  15. I think google read your post and it seems that they delete this www in the keyword tools.. and it shows insufficient data

  16. I believe Yahoo and MSN also use a similar, sneaky JavaScript on their homepages. Often times, simply have a non-hyperlinked URL in the content of your website is enough to rank well when people search for it, especially if it contains a common misspelling of the address.

  17. Mikael says:

    For some reason this only works for United Kingdom search. When trying out the same thing for United States all search volume is “no data”. Maybe Google has already seen this coming?

  18. Jonk says:

    Hadn’t even noticed this feature in Google. Nice one Patrick.

    Once too many people pick up on this they will tighten it up big time I would imagine. But hey, make hay while the sun shines, right?

  19. tarun says:

    i like that idea.. brilliant

  20. Interesting idea… haven’t seen it before.

  21. That’s a pretty nifty idea Patrick. The only concern is that it might not really convert well, as visitors driven by a url printed on a newspaper or magazine are already expecting to see the advertising brand’s website. Great tip!

  22. Siberia says:

    Well thats a little slice of genius right there, fascinating blog I’m very glad I came across it =)

  23. Erin says:

    What about “keyword quality score”? Should I worry that this will negatively effect the rest of my campaign?

  24. [...] For a new, young business it pays to think about how people will search and find your business. Some searchers will miss spell yournoodel and even more may search for http://www.younoodle so decide what phrases to optimise. As an exercise I have attempted to reach higher search engine rankings for http://www.younoodle based on an idea from blogstorm. [...]

  25. Emma Kane says:

    Sneaky but well done…I agree its a touch spammy, but could be a nice way to pickup traffic..

  26. [...] 4th August – How to use URL Search to get thousands of visitors (tomcritchlow) You’d be surprised how many people type domain names and URLs into search engines, often because the search engine is their homepage or they’re not sure if they’ve spelt it correctly. Patrick shares how his blog managed to generate traffic by ranking for the URL of a popular UK Government car tax registration/renewal page. If the real page is down or if your search listing appears more genuine, easy traffic could be gained. Direct Link: BlogStorm [...]

  27. al13 says:

    How many links do you put on that page?
    Where are these links from?

  28. Paul says:

    That’s a pretty clever idea. Sorta reminds me of when I heard of people looking for misspelled items on eBay.

  29. seo pixy says:

    That post was great, I really loved it and I found it very useful too, thank you!

  30. Seo blog says:

    This is a very high quality Search Engine Optimisation tips. Some that I have not even seen before. Thank you for sharing!

  31. That’s very smart. I’m not sure I’d use it myself as it seems just a little on the borderline of not being quite ethical…althought that’s just my opinion.

  32. Joe says:

    Yes indeed, very clever. I will be applying such methods myself I think.


  33. Lalit Wason says:

    Great Post!
    Keep it up
    I also have Search Engine Marketing Education Blog. Can you suggest me some tips for that.

  34. Kerry Dye says:

    Conversion is going to depend on the service/product, we’ve had a PPC campaign that converted well on URL searches for another site, but generally it is going to be low, much like ranking organically for someone else’s company name – most people want to go to them, so you only pick up a fraction of the traffic you’d otherwise get for a first page ranking.

  35. Well thats a little slice of genius right there, fascinating blog I’m very glad I came across it =)

  36. Thats a really good idea. I never thought of the actual URL as a search term!

    Subscribed to your RSS Feed.. Keep up the good work!

  37. [...] stumbled upon this post a few weeks back thanks to a friend and found it quite interesting. I was intrigued, so I tried it [...]

  38. 123EZ says:

    Are you sure google allow to target the URL of specific site specially your competitor?

  39. keyspy says:

    Yeah it works out well sometimes. You are lucky to hit the right URL. But what about the conversion and user experience? Your SERP title was good to get enough click.

  40. [...] las vorig jaar op Blogstorm over hoe “je duizenden bezoekers naar je blog kan trekken via URL zoekopdrachten“, of het echt werkte wist ik niet. Ik ben ermee gaan experimenteren, nu 5 maanden later kan [...]

  41. ShandE says:

    I don’t recommend this. If not now considered black hat, you can bet it soon will be and then there is going to have to be a lot of rework to fix it.

  42. Very interesting… However, I am pretty sure that this can get you banned from Adsense and other similar ways to monetize this traffic… :(

    It’s against every TOS out there in my opinion… then again, I might be wrong :P

  43. Thanks for sharing and I am ready to use this to get thousands of visitors. Excellent post by the way!

  44. Think again perhaps says:

    What are the legal implications? I’m thinking of the law covering the area of passing off and trademarks.

  45. Its an interesting idea. Whether it could be used to generate conversions and sales i’m not too sure.

  46. RTW says:

    i am really surprised that others are not writing about this tactic. It is good insight on a new way of gaining clients.

  47. Auth says:

    I never realized so many people did domain searches and so much traffic could come from it. I guess I thought if someone knew the domain they would just save a step and put it in the toolbar.

  48. [...] gillar jag främst artikeln om att använda sin url för att locka till sig fler besökare. Pusha, Facebook, [...]

  49. Might allocate a small portion of my time in optimising sites for the domain search, never realised this segment was so large-thanks for sharing the info!

  50. Jonny says:

    It is a cool idea.

  51. [...] article paru le 4 Août 2008 montrait comment récupérer beaucoup de visiteurs en copiant une partie [...]

  52. Wow, imagine being able to outrank the actual URL that was typed in, that could drive some serious traffic and potentially make some serious money. Very clever tactic, I just need to find a way to use it to my advantage, thanks for sharing.

  53. Nice guide. I’m sure you’d get a lot of traffic on the back of low-competition URLs, but it would be interesting to see how many conversions were made.

  54. Pretty interesting article. It’s always cool to come across new SEO techniques. Just when you’ve seen it all, someone posts a great article like this. Thanks a lot. I’ll be giving it a go soon.

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