How to Choose the Best Domain Name for SEO

choosing a domain nameSadly when picking a domain name for a new website all the best ones for SEO are usually taken; have no fear though as there are still lots of great domain names available…

- Exact keyword match domain names were once a prime online commodity, for example if you had a website about “Umbrellas” then the domain name would automatically do very well in the search engines with very little SEO.  Luckily the days of exact match domain dominance has dwindled in Google and things are a lot more open to people who weren’t lucky (or rich) enough to get the perfect domain name.

If you can get the perfect matching domain name then that’s great, if not then don’t worry too much just make sure your main, broad keyword is mentioned within the domain name for example would be fine in the example above.

Recent studies have shown a 40% decrease in exact match domain power in the past year alone – see SEOMoz’s recent ranking factor slideshow for more information

- The domain extension is important for a few reasons. You can buy domain names with many extensions including ‘.com’, ‘’, ‘.biz’ and ‘.co’. Usually the lesser known domain extensions are available (like ‘.biz’ for example) because they are deemed a lot less valuable than common extensions such as ‘.com’ and ‘’.

It’s true that websites that use say the ‘.biz’ extension are on average more spammy/untrustworthy than sites on the ‘.com’ extension; educational or government extensions are generally very legitimate.  Google’s Matt Cutts has quoted that the domain extension doesn’t effect Google’s rankings of a website which has had many strongly opposing views from SEO’s around the globe.

Whether or not it’s bad to use a ‘.net’, ‘.biz’ or ‘.co’ domain name extension, these have three more distinct disadvantages:
1) People find it hard to remember anything but a ‘.com’ or a local extension such as ‘’ when you mention a website’s name in person or on a real-world advert
2) Webmasters trust domain extensions such as ‘.biz’ with less regard due to the number of spammers using them, finding external links and gaining trust is therefore a lot harder
3) Most businesses serve local areas, if your target market is the UK then a ‘’ will help a little with SEO and gain local visitor trust

You can see here on AdGooRoo which top level domains product the most spam. However tempting it may be to buy a ‘.biz’ domain name I suggest that you don’t.

- Brands are becoming more important in SEO and it’s a great idea to create one before choosing a domain name.  Brands usually have a physical location, gain natural links and people search for them on search engines, this means that brands are a good trust signal to Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. so they gain a little more advantage in SEO.

Brand names can get associated with products/services, or more importantly keywords; when you think of the brand Ferrari most people will instantly think of ‘cars’ or perhaps even ‘sports cars’ for example.  Google also associates keywords with other keywords, a function that boosts it’s spell checking facility, paid advertisements and little things such as the Wonder Wheel.  If your brand name was associated with a certain product or service then you have a double boost with both keywords in your domain name if you chose a name in this format: [Brand Name][Main Keyword].com

We have worked with a new brand named ‘Controliss‘ which sells blinds online. Google’s related search terms for Controliss now associate the brand name with ‘blinds’, it’s main keyword.  This has helped the Controliss website reach page 1 of for the keyword “Blinds” in less than 9 months from scratch, a very lucrative position to be in.

So when choosing a domain name think about creating a brand and adding in your main keyword for SEO. Avoid domain extensions (also known as TLD’s) such as ‘.biz’ and if you are a local business then perhaps go for your local domain extension and also buy the ‘.com’ for future security.

One last thing to mention is dashes; always consider how easy it is for another person to remember your domain name after you tell them the name in person. Each dash in a domain name represents another barrier in getting people to a website, more than one dash makes it near impossible!  Avoid domain names such as, if possible avoid dashes completely, there is a strong consensus that two or more dashes will harm your SEO in general.  Good luck!

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This post has 5 comment(s).
  • You say “think about creating a brand” and “stay away from .biz domains”
    I wonder what you think of the following:

    what if I’m creating a brand, a business directory showing local business news as an addition, so the “biz” extension could be even in the brand’s name

    eg. – London’s business directory

    Since Matt Cutts says there domain extension doesn’t effect seo, do you think it’s .biz is a good choice in this case?

    I’m really interested in your opinion.
    thanks, regards

    Posted by Feeling Lucky on 18 May 2011
  • Hi Imre,

    Searching Google for “business directory” I can only see one “.biz” domain in the top 100 results.

    There are so many business directories out there what makes yours special and stand out from the 100′s of other copies?

    If you are running a directory then it’s in Google’s guidelines that you should ensure that only quality entries are allowed in the directory and that unique information can be found on the site.

    Many thanks.

    Posted by admin on 20 May 2011
  • Some really good points made and it’s one of the most common questions I get from people looking to start up a business.

    I’ve got a few more considerations, on an expansion from a Matt Cutts blog post earlier this year…

    Posted by Opiyo SEO on 31 May 2011
  • Unbelieabvle how well-written and informative this was.

    Posted by Nettie on 25 Jun 2011
  • Its better to use the domain having keyword in that, extension dont matter if you want to optimize your website in search engines. I prefer to use .biz domains if .com not available, this is the highest top level selling domain the industry. There are many premium domain extension .biz are available in the market. So choose the best one for your business.


    Posted by johnkaainth on 20 Mar 2012

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