Sadly 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 Umbrellas.com 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 WonderfulUmbrellas.com would be fine in the example above.
- The domain extension is important for a few reasons. You can buy domain names with many extensions including ‘.com’, ‘.co.uk’, ‘.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 ‘.co.uk’.
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 ‘.co.uk’ 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 ‘.co.uk’ will help a little with SEO and gain local visitor trust
- 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
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 best-umbrella-company.com, if possible avoid dashes completely, there is a strong consensus that two or more dashes will harm your SEO in general. Good luck!