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How to Choose a Domain Name – Whiteboard Friday
Choosing a domain is one of single most important things you will do. That name will not only define your brand, but it will also effect how search engines see your site, how many people visit your site and the effectiveness of your online marketing.
Here are my takeaways on Rand Fishkin’s 8 simple rules to follow when selecting a domain name:
- Make it Brandable
When thinking about what makes a domian name brandable and successful, you maybe surprised to learn that an exact keyword match is not the best way to go. After all if you have a Dog Grooming business, why wouldn’t doggrooming.com be great? Rand points out:
You want something unique, which means try and avoid those exact and partial keyword match domain names. They tend not to do so well, in fact. If you look at the numbers that we see in MozCast, for example, or in correlation studies, you can see that, over the past 10 years, they have done nothing but trend down over time in terms of their correlation with rankings and their ability to show in the search results. Dangerous there.
- Make it Pronounceable
Why does this matter? Rand says because of “processing fluency”. A domain that is easy to type but difficult to pronounce looses memorability. So if you are thinking an acronym might be the way to go, think again. Even if it is clever, it probably misses the easy to remember and pronounce test unless you are IBM.
- Make it as Short as Possible
All of Rand’s other rules trump length, so don’t get carried away and create a domain name that so short that it is hard to pronounce or remember.
- Make it a .com
Everybody wants a .com domain. But what is .com isn’t available? Rand’s suggestion is to go with:
…the .net, .co, or a known ccTLD. Those are your best bets. A known ccTLD might be something like .ca in Canada or .it in Italy, those kinds of things. That’s your next best bet.
- Make it Unique
Avoid names that infringe on another company or another organization’s existing trademark or could be confused with that trademark.
Why take a risk? A similar domain name can get you in legal hot water, not to mention create brand confusion.
- Make it Instantly Intuitive
A domain name that your gives your target audience a good idea of what you do is a plus. Rand’s example:
…PastaPerfected.com. That’s obviously, intuitively about what it is going to be, and anyone from your audience could figure that out.
- Use Keywords, but Don’t Stress on It
This is a touchy subject so I am going straight to a quote:
…if you can get a keyword mention in your domain name that helps make it obvious what you’re about, go for it. But if you’re trying to target what would be called keyword rich or keyword targeted domains, I would generally stay away from those actually in 2016. They just don’t carry the weight that they used to, and there are a lot of associations, negative associations that users and search engines have about them that would make me stay away.
- When is OK to Append of Modify your Name
If your domain name isn’t available:
…it is okay to go out there and add a suffix or a prefix. It is okay to use an alternate TLD extension, like we talked about previously, and it’s okay to be a little bit creative with your online brand.
Read Rand’s complete article to ensure your domain choice is best for success! Thanks SEO Moz – you’re the best!