When choosing a domain name for SEO purposes, there are three main factors to consider:
- Better SEO (Are there SEO Benefits?)
- Possible Penalties
BRANDING Is Important:
Are hyphenated domain names like search-engine-marketing-services.com going to attract more clients to my website?
To be honest, I would steer clear of these generic names! Why?…
They have absolutely no branding value and limited SEO value, so why bother with a domain name that won’t perpetuate your brand? If you chose a generic domain name that is just a regurgitation of keywords, you will have to make a client’s first visit to your site end in a sale because they won’t remember your name to come back a second time.
Brand is equated with individual identity that speaks clearly in a competitive market.
According to seobook.com, it is easier to build links to branded domain names. People take these names more seriously than domains like keyword-keyword-keyword-keyword.com. Seeing a name like this actually makes searchers question your credibility and associate you with spam. If you were to choose such a generic domain name, you would discredit your content before a client even opens up your homepage. And if you think about the rules established by Google on SEO, the search engines will penalize you anyway for having repeated keywords without relevant context.
Even if you pay for a domain name that stacks keywords upon keywords, your money will not be met with linking results. These names can even be rejected by directory editors “on sight, because such names are often associated with low-quality content” (seobook.com). The linking process comes to a standstill when directory editors do not wish to increase links for your website.
So, branded names are flawless right? Unfortunately they aren’t perfect.
Yes your brand may stand above every other brand, but if it is so extremely different that it cannot be remembered, you will have to expand your marketing budget to make your brand actually known. And that can put a real strain on your wallet. Thankfully, there is a happy medium between domains that focus on branding and domains that promote your SEO strategy. On September 12th, Matt Cutts announced: https://twitter.com/mattcutts/status/251789327691042816
For more information on branded domains see our article on the Farotech Blog called:
2.5 Ways Domains Can Contribute to BETTER SEO Websites
1. Make sure that the main name of your business is in your actual URL. For example, if you are a freelance writer, then a website address such as freelance-writer[dot]com will obviously be a better choice than yourname[dot]com. By doing so, you will get better SEO results from people recognizing what your business does through keywords. As more and more companies recognize the value in keywords it may be difficult to incorporate them into your name on a dot com site. So why limit yourself? Try other options such as .net, biz, .info, .co, or even .uk.
2. Keywords on keywords on keywords are not the way to go. Avoid words like ‘cheap’, ‘free’ and ‘sale’, especially when used in combination with other keywords. Do you want to make your website look like spam or a credible and reliable? Even though this seems to somewhat contradict point number 1, the balance is so crucial. Additionally, don’t forget the fact that longer names are more difficult to remember.
2.5 Do not forget to brand your website. But, make sure you find a happy medium between a domain name that is overly generic or overly branded. To achieve this, put a keyword in your domain, but be sure not to use too many and keep it short and true to your unique brand. How can you make your site unique? That’s easy! Incorporate a geographical indicator in your name to bring your brand and keywords to life.
Domain names are not all bound to the traditional ideas of SEO and keywords. The process has become more complex and doesn’t simply involve choosing keywords that relate to your website, but keywords that will be remembered through branding. However, if you already have an established URL, don’t fret! You can still accomplish quality Google on SEO results through backlinking and using social media to your advantage. Just remember that sites like google.com and yahoo.com don’t tell you anything about what they actually do….and they’re doing pretty well!
These are not the only 2.5 reasons why your SEO will benefit… but it is a good start.
POSSIBLE PENALTIES: Test a Domain Name for Penalties Before Buying It
- Ensure that the site won’t block GoogleBot in its robot.txt file
- See if Google will index a link of a trusted site if you link it to your domain
- According to seobook.com, within a couple weeks (at most a month) Google should list the site when you search for it in Google using site: domainname.com