One of the biggest factors in creating a search engine-friendly website is the domain name you choose. It may be modified in the future, but before that, it plays a huge role in the success of your business.
In the past, if you wanted your site to rank highly for a certain long-tail keyword (such as “Best SEO company in Houston”), you could purchase an exact match domain (bestseocompanyinhouston.com) and probably grab the #1 rank after a fair amount of SEO overkill.
While using exact match domains (EMDs) still has some lingering benefits, most search engines are dropping them little by little in favor of more “branded” site names, such as com, Instagram.com, and MailChimp.com. Search engines are becoming better at spotting those who focus on SEO tricks rather than user experience. If you are working for the long term, you should avoid relying solely on EMDs.
SEO tips after choosing a domain name:
Here are some SEO tips to follow after choosing a domain name:
- Keep it concise and memorable.
- Include the primary keyword for your market niche.
- Try not to use hyphens or duplicates.
- Make it easy to remember and market.
An SEO-optimized domain name should be concise and memorable. The longer, more keyword-stuffed domain names (such as BestSEOCompanyInHouston.com) used to be a great ranking method for long-tail keyword searches, but they were difficult to recite and pronounce.
No one is willing to recreate an entire prescription solely for the sake of acquiring a domain name, and Google certainly recognizes when people are trying to beat the system instead of establishing a solid brand. Google consistently tries to avoid offering search results to consumers that are dominated by those who rely solely on SEO tricks.
Look at your keywords
If you cannot find an exact match domain, try to include the primary keyword for your market niche in your domain name. For example, if you are selling widgets online, you’ll want “widgets” to appear in your domain name (such as WidgetWorld.com or WandasWidgets.com). Avoid going into too much detail, as this may make it easier for competitors to localize you in the future.
However, with fair online and offline marketing, even domains without exact matches can be successful. Look at Amazon.com (not OnlineMarketplace.com), Newegg.com (not ComputerWarehouse.com), StanleySteemer.com (not CarpetCleaningNewYorkCity.com), etc.
Beware of hyphens and duplicates
Avoid using hyphens if possible, as these domain names are often perceived as lower quality and less trustworthy. If you must use an alternative extension (such as .net or .org) because .com is unavailable, make sure to purchase similar domain names to protect your brand.
Make it memorable
Choose a domain name that is easy to say and remember. Having a domain name that is difficult to remember or pronounce can cause potential customers to confuse your site with another website and end up buying from your competitor.
Domain name extensions
Lately, we have seen domain names with flowers and animals (such as MailChimp and TigerDirect) being used. Another trend among tech startups is to use an invented word with a unique spelling, such as Leaf.ly or Bit.ly. If you choose this path, make sure to purchase .com options (such as Leafly.com, Bitly.com, and Ringio.com) to save traffic.
When working with a client, I often look for a free and fun domain name that is easy to remember. One way to achieve this is to use alliteration in the domain name. This instantly creates a fluent and memorable domain name. Some examples include ChimneyChamp (chimney cleaner), PoolPro (pool cleaner), MuscleMilk (protein drink), etc. Play with words!