Choosing The Right Domain Name

Before there can be a website there must be a domain name so choosing the right domain name is very important and it can have some SEO implications

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Article Published / Updated: Sat, 16 Jul 2016 09:00:00

So what is a domain name? A domain name is your web address. It is your identity online. It is a sequence of letters and numbers that represent your address on the web, for example, anything.com, positionfrontpage.com, are all domain names.

And does choosing a domain name have any SEO (search engine optimization) impact?

Things To Consider When Choosing A Domain Name

1. Keep it short and simple.
If your website is for your business, a short domain name has its advantages. Whether you want to print it on business cards or display it on a billboard, making the domain name too long or too complicated may make it too hard for potential customers to catch in one reading or recall it later, if they did not have a chance to write it down. An exception to this is if you can get a phrase which will be remembered into the domain name (Example: buytwogetonefree.com).

SEO Weight: Short domain urls carry some SEO weight. They are treated better than long urls.

2. Make it easy to remember.
Your customer won't always have a pen with them, or maybe they won't even think about your domain name or website until later. Short, simple, and easy to remember can be important, but you normally shouldn't just opt for something like qdipe.com.

SEO Weight: None what-so-ever.

3. Relate it to your business or organization.
If you sell bicycle parts, try to put "bicycle parts" in the domain name. This is not only for the eyes of internet surfers, but for the search engines as well. They use various factors to rank the pages they visit, and sometimes the words used in the domain name can increase the rank of the page.

SEO Weight: There is indeed some positive SEO factors with this type of domain choice. Just be careful.

4. Think about keywords.
Although we are not going to get into Meta tags in this article, keywords are important. Even if hardly any search engines look at the "keyword" Meta tag any more, users are still using keywords to search with Search Engines. Taking number 3 and number 4 together, the best of both worlds is to have a business name that is a keyword or phrase relevant to the business and use that as the domain name.

Be careful with domain name selection. Google issued a warning regarding exact match domain names, also refered to as keyword rich domain names. Their update, Panda 2, penalized websites that used those types of domain names and had content that appeared spammy or unrelated.

SEO Weight: Keyword rich domain names can have some good SEO weight, but heed the advice above.

5. Cute is nice, but...!
Some people try to make their domain name memorable by using puns, jokes, wordplay, or number combinations. Just be careful. Remember that cute and word play are easy to remember but no one searches for them. Here is an example for an anti aging-product - "nevergetold.com". Would "antiagingproducts.com" be better? Well if it was up to me, Never Get Old would get my vote for a company name but I would use anti aging products.com as my domain name. The reason is simple nobody searches for "never get old" but tons of people search for anti-aging products.

SEO Weight: Little to no SEO weight.

SEO Concerns

6. To dash or not to dash.
There have been a lot of discussions about whether to put a hyphen in the domain name. I can honestly answer based on my own experiences, as I have used both, that the consensus seems to be that it is easier for a search engine to index, categorize and rank a site that has a hyphen, than one where the words are run together. Example: rehabcenterbangkok vs. rehab-center-bangkok.

First off they both can be considered as exact match domain names, so we will need to have a lot of supporting content and maybe even register our business with one or two of the words in the domain, or else we could possibly could face penelties.

Hyphenated domain names appear to be better for search engine keyword searches. There are a few other dangers to be recognized if you choose to use the hyphen. You must make sure it is clearly shown in any printed advertising or representations, and if giving the domain name verbally, go to great lengths to make sure that your listener understands the hyphens MUST be inserted. Many people are not that internet savvy and will hear "rehab dash center dash bangkok" and still type in "rehabcenterbangkok".

Domain names that use run together words are easier to remember. They require no special attention on printed matter and none on verbal announcement.

So which is better for SEO? I give a slight edge to exact match domain names with a hyphen. BUT if I use my company name as the domain name I prefer a domain name with run together words.

SEO Weight: Can have some SEO impact.

7. Alphabet Soup.
Ever wonder what is best? Should you get a .com or .net? Will it be okay to get a .biz or .us? What the heck do those things mean anyways and does it matter? Well, in today's world, most people entering the internet world are familiar with .com and .net. After that, they tend to get confused. I will not get into country specific top level domains extensions at the moment, as this article is primarily directed at those either doing business worldwide with a generic type products and where a country-specific domain name would not matter. So, in most cases, .tv, .ws, or .org will not matter one way or another. By the way, .tv is the top level domain extension for the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu and .ws is the top level domain extension for Samoa.

Just to continue this point on extensions for a moment. When passing someone your domain name whether verbally or in writing, make sure they see or hear the extension. To use my earlier example, simply saying, "My website is rehab center bangkok", will probably cause people just to type in the .com at the end as that is what they are most used to hearing. So if your domain name extension is anything other than .com make sure you make it perfectly clear.

SEO Weight: Search giant Google has also made it perfectly clear, they are deeply invested in local search. That basically means that top tier country domains name extenstions will receive more location based exposure on their search results pages. This type of domain name and extension may be ideal for SEO.

Other than that I do not believe that search engines give additional weight to a certain types of domain name extensions.

8. Branding.
In some cases, a domain name may be associated with an easily recognized, or branded, product. Wal-Mart and Ford do not have to worry THAT much about such niceties as keyword density or "easy to remember" names. However, if you are working with a product or company which has or is in the process of branding itself, some of the information given above about selecting domain names might not be relevant. Branding is one thing, domain names are another. "Never Get Old" is a great brand name for an anti-aging product, but a terrible domain name. Although you can buy both and put your web content on "antigingproducts.com" and redirect "nevergetold.com" to that site.

SEO Weight: No measurable SEO weight can be seen.

Summary

Where domain name selection is concerned, there are a lot of possibilities, so take your time think about it carefully and don't worry too much about the extension unless you are looking to make sales in one particular country. Finally a good digital marketing company (like Position Front Page) can really help you with choosing the right domain name and the right extension.

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Artemis Glikakis is the Managing Director of Position Front Page International Co., Ltd.. His expertise in this field of Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, has lead him to write many articles on the subject and he is always in the forefront when large clients come along.

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