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by Tom Howlett on 29th August 2012
Hi. Today I’m going to be talking about domains. So whether you’ve got a new business or a new website you want to put online, one of the first considerations would be towards choosing the right domain. If you want a bit more in-depth look into this, I’ve also written a blog post, that looks at this further.
So, first of all, brand. It’s much better to start with a branded term and build the reputation of that brand within your industry. So, for example, you have the social media profiles as well, you could build that brand within the industry, and then you could make people remember the brand, they follow you, and for the long term that’s going to have better success over, say for example, choosing a keyword domain for short-term ranking success.
Secondly, existing name references, so there might be a few things you want to check first. Say you’ve chosen a branded term, you want to make sure that these are available on any of the domains you might be interested in. If they’re taken on any of the domains, you might want to go for something slightly different. So it’s important that you check this.
It’s also important to check the social media profiles. Say, if your name was taken on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, you might consider taking something else, because that might be something you really want and it might affect things. So make sure you look into that before you secure a domain.
That brings me on to our next point, securing the brand. Many brands like to be able to secure their name over all the domains, all the social media profiles possible. This will prevent any future issues or anyone infiltrating in your space basically. So this might be something to look at if it’s important to you.
Secondly, brand versus keyword domains, I’ve just gone over the brand keyword domain. So that’s something that’s quite important. But when looking at keyword domains, these traditionally have looked quite spammy to the search engines. If you choose a keyword-focused domain, to Google this looks very spammy because you’re trying to manipulate the search engines for that term. You’re trying to rank for that term. So that’s something that Google have recently been moving away from, and they’ve had much more focus on branded terms. So, if you have that branded domain, then that’s something that will be much more beneficial to you in the long term.
You want to also avoid long domains. So, if you have a really long domain, it’s not very memorable. People struggle to remember these domains. So it’s something you want to consider. A shorter domain the better, but this obviously means, shorter domains are traditionally harder to get than not. The availability isn’t there. So it’s something you want to look at. But try to keep the domain as short as possible.
Then there’s also overly hyphenated domains. As I mentioned with the keyword domains, overly hyphenated domains have long been associated with quite spammy websites. If you had hyphenated domains or hyphens that separate the keywords, then this is something Google have seen being associated with spammy websites. I think if you have these domains, it’s just going to be associated with spam or a manipulation of the search engines.
Not only that, they’re a lot less memorable as well. I mean, if you’re saying a domain to someone, if it’s on a poster or something, then this is going to be much harder to remember than just a short brand domain, which will be very beneficial to have if you could get that.
Use of excessive keywords, so along with the hyphenated domains, if you’re using excessive keywords or repetition of keywords, this could also look very spammy from a search engine’s point of view. It’s generally something that you should avoid.
I’ve gone over memorable domains. Just make sure you’ve got a domain that’s easy to remember, and that’s something that will definitely benefit you in the long term. You also want to look towards building a following. So again, with that branded keyword term, you’ve then got that easy to remember domain. People could easily find you online, easily find your social profiles if you’ve got them, and you could then build your following online and then that’s great for the long term also.
But your focus should be on content. So, if you have a domain that’s a branded term and then you create great content based on your industry, then you’re going to see the benefits of that. You’re going to rank better for the keywords you want to focus on, and again, that’s beneficial for the long term. So, if you have a nice branded domain and you’re putting out really good content, then this is something you want to focus on, and this is something that will be really beneficial for you in the long term.
The third thing is top level domains. So, first of all, you want to look at the availability of the top level domains. That is the .com, the .net, and the .org. So these are generally the domains that people try and go for. If any of these are taken, you might consider choosing something else as well.
This brings me to my other point as well. Domains that are very similar, like misspellings, you might want to look at that as well just in case there’s someone else, not in the same industry, using a slight misspelling of the domain.
Also, country level domains, if your main audience is in, say for example, the UK, you might want to look at getting the .co.uk. You might want to have the .com as well, so you might be looking at both of these. That goes for any other country as well, having the domain related to that country.
So that’s the main considerations. I’ll just go over a summary of them all. So, first of all, the most important considerations are you want to build a brand online. So having that branded term is really important. Check the availability of these across the domains as well as the social profiles.
You also want to look at the domain history. So if a domain’s available, that doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t once used before. So it’s worth checking the history of this domain. You could use archive.org, and that’s a good way of just checking whether the domain wasn’t used for any spammy practices in the past.
You also, as I mentioned, want to look at securing the domain across all the different profiles, and the different, maybe the country level domains, top level domains if possible. That would be better for the future, and all the social media profiles as well.