How to Choose a Domain Name that Works for SEO & Branding
Over the weekend I had an opportunity to catch up a few articles as it pertains to SEO.
One of the articles really isn’t an article as much as it is a tutorial video. I’m not certain it’s a tutorial video either as much as it is a knowledge share.
Nevertheless, the knowledge share is by Rand Fishkin. If you’re not familiar with Rand, his background and expertise as owner and founder of Moz.com, then you’re missing out on value-add content that’s applicable to growing your business.
Each Friday, Rand randomly chooses a topic to share and expound upon for the search marketing and business world to gain greater insight about. He shares by way of video called Whiteboard Friday.
If you don’t subscribe, then you ought to going forward. You’re missing out on a lot by not subscribing.
In this edition of Whiteboard Friday, Rand talks about one of the most imperative a decision a business makes about it’s digital presence: selecting a domain name.
Whether good, bad, or plain jane ugly results, you’ll live with the consequences of the selected domain name for your business.
In the video, Rand shares eight criteria for picking a winning domain (see list below).
- Make It Brandable
- Make it Pronounecable
- Make it as Short as Possible (but no shorter)
- Bias to .com (or your ccTLD)
- Avoid Names that Infringe upon Existing Trademark (or could be confused)
- Make the Name Instantly Intuitive
- Use Broad Keywords When Sensible, But Don’t Stress Keyword Inclusion
- What to do If or When Your Name Isn’t Available
There is one criterion that I don’t exactly agree with based on my own experience.
For example, he explicitly states to stay away from exact and partial match domain names.
I don’t necessarily agree with this statement or thought process in totality.
I say this only because I have ranked numerous exact and partial match domains on page one of major search engines time and time again, even after Google’s 2012 Exact Match Domain Update (EMD Update).
This isn’t to say that Rand is totally wrong. However, I don’t believe that one should explicitly disqualify exact and partial match domains when selecting a domain name for their business.
In fact, why not own and redirect such domains to your primary website, taking advantage of what’s known as type-in traffic.
My final thought about EMDs and PMDs are based on seeing and experiencing a low supply of .com domains for a higher demand of businesses with the same name.
In fact, there are actually quite a few local companies that run into the issue of not being able to purchase a domain that matches their business name.
For instance, what if your plumbing company was located in Austin, Texas and was named A-Plus Plumbing. With or without a hyphen, I’m willing to bet there is more than one A-Plus Plumbing in the U.S. alone.
That said, it’s likely that the .com, .net and .org domains, with and without the hyphen, for A-Plus Plumbing were registered decades ago.
So, now what domain should the business register? Well, one option is choosing a different business name based on domain availability.
Another option is registering one or more of the following exact and partial match domains:
Yes, their business name is A-Plus Plumbing, but what do you think potential and existing customers in need of plumbing services in Austin, Texas likely to type or voice search for?
Exactly, they’re likely going to use keywords and location as their search phrase.
And before I forget, yes, adding prefixes and suffixes can lengthen a domain quite a bit as you can see with the list of domains above. So be careful to choose short prefixes and suffixes.
Enough of my soapbox. Watch and get ready to learn from one of the best in the business. See you around.