The importance of domain names simply cannot be overstated: Your website or blog’s domain name is essentially its identity, what it will come to be known as and referred to by. It represents you, as an individual, or your organization on the internet. And a good domain name also provides its owner with a whole host of other benefits and advantages – especially from a SEO-perspective – as you’ll soon find out.
It could very well be the difference between a successful blog that gets a lot of traffic, and a blog that falls flat on its face!
Here are a few SEO best-practices to follow when thinking of, or choosing a good domain name for yourself or your business:
1. Keywords: Keywords are the cornerstone of good SEO practices. We spoke about how it is essential to integrate keywords in your headline/page title before, and similarly, it is equally essential to add keywords in your copy, and of course (wait for it…) in your domain name as well. It is unrealistic and inadvisable to add multiple number of keywords in your domain name, but your biggest keyword should always go in your domain name. For instance Soccernet.com has the word ‘soccer’ in it, and Techcrunch.com has the word tech – short for technology – in it. What this does is that it allows search engine crawlers, as well as human visitors to instantly know what your website is all about. From a crawler’s perspective, it allows them to index your website easily and for the right keywords as well.
2. Top-level Domains: Or in short, TLDs refer to domains that end in .com, .org, .net. info, .biz, .us or something similar. Always go for a top-level domain for your website or blog, preferably a dotcom. Dotcoms can be purchased for around $10-11 per year, and can be registered through the many domain name registrars present out there, such as GoDaddy.com. Dotcom domains are hard to find, since there are so many website on the internet that most of them have already been registered. But don’t be afraid to get a little creative if the domain you’re looking for has been taken!
3. Length: Domain names should ideally be short, as short as possible. Shorter domain names provide a few distinct advantages: for starters, they are easy to remember or recall, and secondly they are very easy for your visitors to type into their browsers (showing that you respect their time).
4. Easy to type and memorable: a domain name based on one or two well-known words or a small phrase, for instance, makes it much less prone to being misspelled or getting typed incorrectly, as it will be much more user-friendly. Conversely, a domain name prone to getting mistyped, or one that is too complicated or difficult to remember will have you lose out on potential visitors and sales, just because your domain name wasn’t easy-to-type. Having a memorable domain name is also better from a word-of-mouth perspective as well (think about Soccernet.com).
5. Hyphens: Putting hyphens in order to separate multiple keywords can be done, but is inadvisable. Your domain name should never be so long that there’s a need to break it down using hyphens. Moreover, hyphenated domain names have little to no value in terms of SEO, mostly because a keyword-keyword-keyword.com domain name looks spammy from a search engine perspective, and too generic from a human perspective. Try thinking of something creative instead.
6. Catchy and interesting: Not only should domain names be short, memorable and easy, they need to be memorable and interesting. One strategy that you could employ is use a combination of your brand name along with a keyword (for eg. SouthwestSEO), or combine two random words (such as Face and Book) to form one interesting and unique one (you probably know what I’m talking about). Or you could sit down with your team, and come up with an extremely creative, outside-the-box domain name for your new website/blog.
7. Grammatically-correct, no slang: Depending on your website or blog’s niche, it might or might not be advisable to use slang. If it’s a comedy/parody blog or if you think a play on words, for instance, will amuse your target audience, only then you can do so. Otherwise, make sure that the words are grammatically-correct.
8. Copyrights or legal issues: A domain name that is a play on the words of another website could land in your hot water with the said website (I’m talking legal problems and the like), as well as with Google. Examples: Yohoo.com, Facebuk.com, etc. Avoid at all costs! Be original and think of something on your own.