We’re often asked by online marketing clients and others to help choose a domain name for their site.
From a strict SEO perspective, there is indeed a debate as to whether the domain name affects rankings in the search engines. In addition to this, we also think about how it will impact the user’s experience – from the first impression it creates when it’s first noticed to how easily people remember it.
While there are several things to consider when choosing a new domain name, your web address should meet the following 4 criteria.
1. Easy to remember
Your domain should be as descriptive of your business as possible so it helps explains to newcomers what your business is about. This includes the order of words as well as the words themselves.
2. Easy to spell
Try to avoid words people may have difficulty spelling. This will save you headaches when trying to give your web address over the phone and help avoid typos from people typing it in directly or in any press coverage.
3. Contains keywords (industry, location, etc.)
While it’s debated as to whether there are any SEO benefits to be had in your domain name, all things equal, it may help. Use hyphens to separate words so search engines can recognize them (seo-advantage.com vs. seoadvantage.com). If you do this, be sure you purchase both domains so you can redirect folks who don’t use the hyphen and not lose out on their traffic.
What’s a good length for a URL? That depends but you shouldn’t sacrifice the other elements just so you can have a short URL. Your initials will make the URL brief but it won’t carry much benefit otherwise…but don’t make it so long and full of keywords that it’s hard to remember and difficult to enter in.
Remember, you need to think about how this URL will look on your business cards, brochures and other marketing materials as well.
The domain name you ultimately choose for your business will be influenced by your business’ name and situation. If your company is well known or its name meets the criteria above, use it since you will want to build your brand in that regard. Keep in mind that you can purchase several domain names that you think people may try and type in to find you.
Some final advice – get some impressions from friends and colleagues before settling on a new domain name. You never know what a second, third or fifth set of eyes can pick up on!