When it’s time to create a website, the most important decision is likely to be the domain name. When the time comes, there are two general approaches that are used.
- One is to create a domain that matches, or comes close to, a search term used when searching the web for a particular product or service.
- The other approach is to create a branded domain name by using the company name as the domain name. Let’s discuss both approaches and see which is the best fit for your business or customer.
Keyword Domain Name
Pros to using a keyword in your domain name
Lets suppose that we want to create a website for a company called Henderson Auto that provides auto repair in Dallas, TX. Let’s say we did keyword analysis and discovered that when folks search they use “Dallas auto repair” when looking for that service. We could use a exact-match domain or use the business name for our domain choice. If we assume we’re not restricted to a .com choice, then combining a geographic position with a service works great. The address www.dallasautorepair.com is sure to get noticed for that phrase. In this case, since our domain name exactly matches a search, the customer website will see an increase to their search ranking. This is due to the relevance in the domain name searches being performed. Of course there are many variables used to determine your page position and this is only a single component.
Cons to using a keyword in your domain name
There are also negatives associated with domain matching a search phrase or term. For one, they’re somewhat limited to the audience they gain if the domain name is selected to narrowly (i.e., “If a customer with a matching name wants to expand and the new service does not match with the existing name,” says Francis McEwan with a Law Firm SEO Company). “It’s also not possible to create a brand name with a matching domain.” Also, keyword based domain names are sometimes associated by searchers as illegitimate sites or sites that just display advertisements.
Branded Domain Name
Pros to using a branded domain name
The choice also exists to create a non-matching branded domain name. For a company named Tiny Treats, the obvious choice is tinytreats.com, the name of the company. This creates a clear brand name for a customer who visits the site or wants to visit the site again. Think of companies who have huge branded domain names like Amazon or Google. These names have nothing inherently associated with the services they provide, yet they create a clear brand image.
Cons to using a branded domain name
Branded domains run the risk of no one recognizing your brand. If you are new or simply a local store advertising online, most people are not aware of your company or your site. As a result you will have to work extra hard to communicate your brand. Additionally you will have to find other ways of clearly and succinctly explaining what it is your business sells, such as through tag lines or logos.
Keywords or Brand Domain Names: To Brand or Not to Brand, that is the SEO Quesiton
While some people would rather have a domain that sounds like a brand name, there are still several advantages to finding a domain that matches customer searches. You will definitely see a bump in search results for that search term and the site lets searchers know that its content is relevant to their needs. Of course not every domain name is still available and sometimes the lack of a decent matching domain may force you toward a non-matching selection. There are also methods of overcoming the non-matching nature of a branded domain name. Typically, a customer may create internal search-matching URLs. For example, tinytreats.com/nyc-cupcakes. Here the URL can still provide some search benefit but the domain still creates a brand name. The key is to find a matching domain that fits the company well.
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