Mail Bag Q&A: What domain should I pick and how does that effect SEO?

In this mail bag Q&A, we cover a question we get all the time, “what domain should I pick and how does that effect SEO?”

After we outline a few principles below, you’ll be ready to pick the perfect domain name for your business’s website.

Your Domain Name from a Branding Angle

When coming from a branding angle, it is important for it to be short, memorable, and easy to spell. This becomes even more important if there are TV or radio campaigns behind it where the domain has to be recalled by a prospective buyer and then type it into the browser address bar. While still important, you can loosen up these guidelines a tiny bit when it comes to print materials where the user may be able to refer back to the marketing piece to get the domain name.

Your Domain Name from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Angle

When coming from an SEO angle, you can get a small benefit from including keyword terms in your domain name (i.e., it is 1 of over 200 ranking factors used by Google). However, if you’re doing the right sorts of digital promotion where you’re getting relevant back links from other websites and mentions on social networks, a normal “branded” style domain name will rank just fine. As a matter of fact, Google prefers brands.

Does it matter if I use .COM or a different extension like .NET, .TV, .IO, or .whatever?

Generally, .COM is recognized as the premiere domain name. It is more legitimate looking than some of the 3rd party domain names because it is the most commonly used domain name by big brands with the most exposure. From an SEO perspective, it doesn’t really matter what domain extension you use because ranking in the search engines mainly comes down to relevant back links pointing to a site with high quality, relevant information. If you were only hoping to be found via search engines for something like the-keyword-i-want-to-rank-for.tv, it might be a hair stronger than just simply yourbrand.com or yourbrand.tv. This is splitting hairs though on a very small factor (and you can actually get burned with exact match domain names if your content quality is poor so make sure you find the right balance).

How to Pick a Domain Name for a Business in Practice

In the end, out in the real world, Clicked Studios prefers a well branded domain name supported by a solid search engine marketing campaign that builds a strong foundation of signals (links, social mentions, and citations) that Google wants to see from a reputable website worthy of ranking in the first spot. Sometimes when you cannot get a domain name you want, look to what BaseCRM did for their website. Get creative and stick an action word on your brand name such as “get” and you’ll get a domain name like “getBase.com”. The domain as a result is easy to remember and action oriented. Combined with strong digital promotion, the domain has a strong foundation of relevant back links propelling them to the top of Google for “mobile CRM software” despite using none of those words in their domain name. A quick look on Compete and you’ll see that their estimated traffic is between 50,000 to 250,000 per month. Not bad for a domain name lacking exact match keywords. 🙂

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