How to Choose the Best Site Name for Your Brand and SEO
As you’ve probably encountered when trying to purchase a .com domain, it can seem like every possible domain has already been bought. Additionally, while Google has always claimed otherwise, there’s a large population of SEO’s who believe firmly that having a keyword in a site’s URL gives it a significant leg-up in the rankings. Thus, a cottage industry evolved in which SEO’s would purchase a site name with desirable keywords in it and then sell them for an inflated price to buyers who could afford it.
However, the past several years have seen a veritable explosion in the number of Top Level Domains (TLDs) a site can use–from .com to .co to .biz and .nyc. This means that perspective site owners have a lot more to choose from when deciding upon a URL. When deciding on a URL, you should start with a set of keywords you’d ideally like to have in your domain, knowing that you’ll likely get just one or two of them. And while having a .com is not as make-or-break as it used to be, it is still the most well-known and trusted TLD and most people tend to presume your site has a .com following it unless you state otherwise. So when possible, spring for the .com and then 301 direct it to a .net, .gov, or whatever other TLD you have purchased for your domain.
At the same time, coming up with a twenty- or thirty-character site name that has your core keywords in it and comes with a .com doesn’t mean you should take it. Almost as important as having a .com URL is having an easy-to-type and memorable URL. And that’s where the new TLD’s can really come in handy.
For instance, let’s say you have a dog grooming salon in NYC. Now, doggrooomingnyc.com is taken, but what about doggrooming.nyc? If your business name has a TLD already in it, then it becomes much easier for people to remember to simply add a “.” in between the domain name and TLD.
Lastly, you want your site name to communicate what your business is about. Sites like Amazon, Google, and Trivago sure sound cool, but they took years of marketing to get to the level they are today. And don’t get us wrong, if you have a cool-sounding business name and are willing to put in the effort to brand and market it aggressively so that it becomes synonymous with the service you offer, by all means, go for it. But if you don’t have those marketing resources, try for a name that integrates what you offer while also calling to mind what your brand stands for.
At the end of the day, you want a domain name that is memorable, easy to type, preferably a .com, and if not, a domain that communicates what your business does and your brand stands for effectively. And be sure to check this ever-expanding list of TLD’s to see what’s out there.