If you’re looking to start an online business, you may be considering the name. It is an important decision! Years ago, the name of your business was the No. 1 priority because it told people immediately what you did. For example, “Joe’s Bike Repair” or “Kate’s Flowers” are both straightforward. You know who and you know what, right off the bat.
Now, the same has to happen with your website name. As you begin that path, keep in mind the strategic aspect to your domain name choice.
There are things called robots that crawl around web pages to decide how to rank them in the giant card catalogs we call search engines. How do they gather data? Through the titling of the websites they review and through the content. Up until a few years ago, it was enough to have a good title to get your website ranked well on search engines. However, beginning with changes implemented by Google (later revised by Google), that simplicity thing changed forever. Then just for good measure, Google adjusted their algorithms again.
Domain Names and Search Engine Optimization Today
One big trend was to use domain names that match the product, like “bigwhitefolders.com” selling big white folders. Such a method isn’t as effective as it once was. It used to be that a name such as this would almost guarantee a top search engine ranking. Now, it takes more. That’s not to say that direct-match web addresses aren’t effective—they are! But they shouldn’t be a business owner’s sole concern.
Placing keywords in your domain–like in “freshorangejuice.com”–is another method. In a post for Search Engine Land, online guru Spencer Yao wrote of the benefits obtained by using keywords in your domain. But, he said, “there is a bigger factor you should consider: the brandability of the domain.” Which brings us back to the first part of our article, in that a domain name is the foundation of your business. That means it will convey to your visitors, and potential buyers, the who, what, where, when, why of your online story or business. This is what will help them identify with your product or service and hopefully buy it!
After the Last Dot
Then there is the question of extension— .biz, .info, .buzz, etc. Do these affect your SEO ranking? A recent survey has brought some information to light, but hasn’t yet explained the complete picture. What is known though is that selecting a country-specific TLD (top-level domain) like .ca can help rankings if you are marketing to a particular country. Also, you can use fun extensions sometimes to draw more attention to your brand–.ninja, for example. These domain extensions are still new and our understanding of how they relate to SEO is not well documented. In fact, they are dismissed as “vanity” domains by some, and their use can generate a lot of passionate opinion either way.
Don’t SEO Your Fellow Humans to Death
This is where the extension and the web address meet the human element. Using a unique domain extension can make your business more effective by the human visitor feeling more engaged. Ultimately that is what you want, right? It is important to make strategic decisions that consider how automated search engine bots will interpret your website’s importance. For most businesses, getting a ton of traffic is only worth the ability to convert it to real-life buyers. Remember that decision-makers are warm-blooded. You have to find realistic ways of reaching them when you build your website.
Have you scheduled your free FYNE® Strategy Session? We’ll help you determine the best selection of domains to attain your specific goals.