How to Choose the Right Domain Name

The domain name you choose for your web site can impact performance for both your customers and the search engine spiders.

Keywords you choose from your analysis form the foundation of search engine optimization and also the message you sent to your site visitors. So use the most important keywords in your domain name, too.

There are a couple benefits to using your main keywords in the domain name:

1. This can improve the perceived relevance of your site for search engines and directories. They may automatically assume your site is more relevant for those keywords.

2. A domain name containing the keywords of a search appears more relevant to the searcher. Some search engines bold the keywords that appear throughout the listing, including those in the URL. And bold text draws the eyes of searchers to a listing. Internet users with slower connections tend to analyze the relevance of a link before clicking to avoid wasting the time it takes to download sites, so a URL containing the keywords would be more likely to be clicked.

3. Many searchers guess at URLs, entering directly the domain name where they think they should find what they want. (E.g. http://www.buycosmetics.com/) Your most important keywords should be indicative of the phrases people would be inclined to enter.

The order of keywords in the domain name may also play a role in determining relevance. Place the most important keywords first. You can use dashes to separate words. This may make the words easier to read than a string of connected words. Hint: some directories and search engines prefer dashes. Even two dashes can be used in a row (--) if desired.

Many prospective site owners ask whether they should use dot.com or one of the lesser common .net, .org, or country variations, for example, .us. Search engines and directories place these secondary domains on equal footing with dot.com listings.

However, your customers may expect and find it easier to remember the dot.com ending. Users who enter your domain name from memory will likely try dot.com first.

It’s worthwhile to purchase other versions of relevant domain names. Not only can your company use them when needed, but it ensures that your competitors cannot use them. You may wish to register all keyword combinations you can think of as domain names.

A company will likely wish to have a domain name featuring the company name. This is easy to remember for current customers who are familiar with your name. But be sure to register domain names with keywords relating to products and services you provide, too. You’ll be able to set up specialized sites to optimize these individually for search engines and directories.

Also, when setting up architecture of your site, you’ll want to use subdomains instead of subdirectories. You’ll find more on this topic in a future article.

About SEO Advantage®

Led by Stone Reuning, SEO Advantage®, Inc. is an online marketing and search engine optimization firm that helps businesses turn their web presence into a powerful revenue generation medium. Our clients enjoy dominance on Google, Yahoo and Bing through a suite of unique pay-for-performance search engine optimization and online marketing services implemented by a multidisciplinary team of SEO engineers, copywriters and web designers. You'll find us referenced in books such as "Writing Web-Based Advertising Copy to Get the Sale" and the BusinessWeek bestseller "The New Rules of Marketing & PR," as well as the popular ebook "The Small Business Blogging Blueprint." Find out more today by calling us at 1-800-366-1639 or email us here.

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