The most important decision when creating a website is likely to be the domain name. When the time comes to make this selection, there are two schools of thought. The first is creating a domain that comes close to a popular search term people use to find a companies product or service. The opposing concept is to brand a company by creating a domain name that is company specific. This article talks to both approaches and weighs the benefits of each.
For example, a hypothetical company called Creature Feature offers pet grooming in Seattle. A customer searching for this service might use different search terms but let’s say that, through keyword research we find that ‘Seattle pet groomer” is a typical search. Do we create a matching domain or do we want to create a customer brand? If we not restricted to a domain name, perhaps a good matching name would be seattlepetgroomer.com. Since this domain names matches a potential client’s target search they will likely see an initial jump in page position over a non-matching domain since the search engines give relevance to the URL. This benefit can often be short-term. This is because a URL is only one factor the search engines consider. A site’s age, for example, has a large impact. So as a non-matching site’s age grows, they may rank similarly .
There are also negatives associated with domain matching a search phrase or term. For one they’re somewhat limited to the audience they gain. “If a customer with a matching name wants to expand and the new service may not make with the existing name,” says Francis McEwan with a NJ SEO Company. “It’s also not possible to create a brand name with an matching domain.” Also, domain names are sometimes associated with sites that display advertisements.
The other choice would be to use a non-matching brand-name domain selection. Again, without looking at domain providers, the immediate choice is creaturefeature.com. This would create a customer brand since it’s the company name. An existing customer would have no problem finding that site on the Internet by using the company name. Think of business like Yahoo or Sears. These names don’t mean anything by themselves that could be associated with a product but conjure an immediate brand. What you do see a lot are customers who create internal search-matching URLs inside their site. For a company named Creature Feature who do pet grooming, CreatureFeature.com/pet-grooming-seattle is a way to provide a search engine benefit but still keeps the brand name intact.
I think most people would want to use a branded name as a domain but often choose a matching name to help their on-line visibility. A site will certainly see a positive gain in the search results from doing so. While these gains might be short-lived due to other search factors, it’s evident it helps to some degree. Customer will also find that the obvious domain names are already taken and be forced to create a branded name or risk a silly URL as a result. Ultimately, the domain name should fit a customers needs regardless of which approach.
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