A Domain Name Is Worth a Million Clicks – Choosing the Right One

Mon, Aug 3, 2009

Business Tactics

If I were to ask you what Kmart sells you would know instantly that they are a discount retailer – in fact, many of you would probably mention the famous bluelight specials that so many of us know and love and remember from our childhoods. So when Kmart went online it was only natural that they chose Kmart.com as their domain name. Simple, huh?

If it only it were that easy for the rest of us.

When it comes to marketing your blog, product or idea online one of the first things you need to think about is your domain name. For many of us our domain name is also our brand name – so we need to make sure it represents not only our product, but also is easily recognizable. The problem is finding a good domain name is next to impossible – and if it’s in the dictionary, you can probably bet it has already been taken!

In the early days we only had to worry about .com, .org and .net – and it was the gold standard that you had to have a .com name, otherwise you were invisible. Today there are hundreds of extensions you can choose from around the world, .com still rules the world, but there are a lot of other domain extensions that have become a part of our “Internet vocabulary” such as .ly (bit.ly) and .url (tiny.url).

Now some of you may be wondering why you can’t just go register the first thing that is available and let your content push your domain to the top of the listings. There isn’t anything wrong with this approach if you have killer content – but, surprisingly enough, there is an SEO reason for having a good, branded domain name and not just a random collection of letters with any available suffix.

The search engines, particularly Google, place some weight on the fact that someone is searching for a brand and a domain name that matches the brand. So, for example, if I am searching for Kmart the fact that Kmart.com is out there is very favorable in the rankings. This effect is even more apparent when you start talking about proper names. A domain name that matches the name of the person you are searching for nearly always bubbles to the top in search. This is why many PR firms nowadays recommend that people register their names as a .com.

SEO aside for a moment, another reason you don’t want a jumble of letters is because it is hard to remember. If Kmart had named their online presence “kmartbluelightspecialdepartmentstore.com” not many people would remember that. You have to keep your domain name simple, reflective of your brand and easy to remember – something that isn’t always easy in today’s competitive domain name marketplace.

It’s also a good idea to stay with from hypens and numbers. It’s impossible for most people to remember a hyphen and if you use a number, such as “2site.com” people will not know if they are to type in the number or spell it out. It’s an SEO nightmare, especially when you are trying to get people to link to your site.

So what’s an SEO professional to do when trying to recommend the best domain strategy to their clients? Focus on the brand, the products and be creative. Depending on the client you may recommend they engage with a professional marketing firm to help them lock in a domain.

In the online world a domain is worth a million clicks, and then some. What does your domain say about you?

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This post was written by:

Cassiano Travareli - who has written 90 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.

SEO Specialist! Loves everything about Search Engine Marketing.