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How To Select The Best Domain Name To Attract Search Engines

Did you know that one domain name could easily get you 5-times as much search engine traffic as another similar-sounding domain name!?

Picking the best domain name for your business is an important decision…especially given that search engines will examine your domain name to determine how much traffic to send it.

To pick the best domain name for a search engine, you’re gonna have to consider:

  • What words or phrases are your prospective customers typing into search engines?
  • Should a search engine know about your location?
  • How many domain names should you own to maximize your traffic from a search engine?
  • What’s the importance of “Micro-Sites” or “Campaign-Sites”?
  • And more!
Search Marketing Consultant Lana Goldenberg With Her Two Kids

Search Marketing Consultant Lana Goldenberg With Her Two Kids

To help answer those domain name/search marketing questions, I reconnected with my old friend Lana Goldenberg the other day (we worked together at Topica and Hot Topic Media).

Lana is now a Search Marketing Coach and was kind enough to share her thoughts on how you should approach using/choosing a domain name that Google and search engines will value.

And she even offers you a freebie consultation — Enjoy!

The Best Domain Name For Your Business

Q: Hi Lana. For starters, does the name of a web site (i.e. the domain name)  make a difference in how the Web site shows up in the results of Google or other search engines?

Short answer – yes.

Let’s say your sell organic strawberries online. (I will make up a generic example). Your business name is Picadilly Farms, so you choose PicadillyFarms.com as your website. Your neighbor down the street also sells organic strawberries, and his website is OrganicStrawberries.com.

All other things being equal (and there are many other factors to consider), when your potential customers search “organic strawberries,” Google will display OrganicStrawberries.com higher than PicadillyFarms.com

Q: Is a shorter domain name better than a longer domain name (all other things equal)?

The length of the domain name doesn’t matter, as far as I know. It’s much more important that your domain name is relevant to your business.

So back to the organic strawberries example, if I had to choose between the short domain picfarms.com vs. the longer domain OrganicStrawberriesCalifornia.com I would hands down select the longer one.

Q: Will a Web site with a cute name get more or less search engine traffic than a descriptive name (e.g. which domain name would work better for a flower shop in New York: “RozesAreRed.com” or FlowersOfNewYork.com?)?

To answer this question, you have to get into your potential customers’ minds.

Do they search for “Rozes Are Red” or for “Flowers in New York”? Most likely, FlowersOfNewYork.com will be more relevant to their search.

That said, let’s say Rozes Are Red is the tagline of a massive PR or advertising campaign you are running this fall. Your customer can’t walk by a bus stop without seeing the words Rozes Are Red.

With this much visibility and top-of-mind awareness, you can assume that Rozes Are Red is going to become a top search term in Google. In this case RozesAreRed.com is just fine for a domain name.

Q: What should a business owner consider when selecting the best domain name?

There are a couple of approaches here.

First, you definitely want to reserve your business name as the domain name, and possibly even your first and last name, just for strategic reasons.

Second, get into your target market’s heads and think about the words or questions they are “googling” to address a particular need.

If you are a chiropractor specializing in back pain, your ideal clients are
probably googling “back pain” or “lower back pain” or “pain relief.”

I would recommend incorporating at least some of these into your domain name. So maybe you are able to reserve ChiropractorForBackPainRelief.com based on this information.

Q: What tool do you recommend people use to see what relevant keywords
people are searching on?

I recommend using Google’s free keyword tool to do some research — It’s a goldmine of information!

Recently we were trying to decide on using “business storage” vs. “commercial storage” on a client’s website. We entered both keywords into Google’s tool, and saw that “business storage” gets searched about 5 times as often as “commercial storage.”

The decision to use “business storage” was a no-brainer based on these numbers.

Q: If a business owner already has a Web site, should they look at their own traffic from search engines to see what keywords are being used? How do they do that?

Yes, you can see the keywords in your website statistics. I recommend installing Google Analytics on your site (note: Check out 3 Easy Steps To Using Google Analytics to learn more about setup/implementation).

Google Analytics is free and will give you the keywords along with many other useful pieces of data.

You may also have a similar tool included with your web hosting.

Q: Is it a good idea for a business to just register a bunch of domain names that match the most searched on keywords (e.g. FlowersOfNewYork.com, FlowerDelivery.com, SendFlowers.com, WeddingFlowers.com, FlowerGifts.com, etc.) and then redirect traffic from all those sites to RozesAreRed.com?

Yes and no. It is a good idea to register the domain names that are relevant to your business. However, just redirecting these domains to your site does not do anything to help you be found online.

Google frowns upon redirects and prefers that you have real and relevant content on each of the domains.

Q: When should businesses use more than one domain name (for the same
customer set?)?

If you are PicadillyFarms.com from my example above, you may want to grab OrganicStrawberries.com (assuming it’s available) and create a site that describes your expertise in organic strawberries, such as:

  • the reason someone would choose organic strawberries
  • recipes that use organic strawberries
  • the best season to come pick organic strawberries on your farm
  • and other valuable information.

Assuming the organic strawberry business is a profitable one for you, you can use this niche site to increase your visibility for organic strawberry lovers.

It’s an interesting business niching strategy as much as it is a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy.

Q: What’s a “Campaign Web Site” or “Micro-Site”?

In the example above, OrganicStrawberries.com could be considered a Campaign Site or a Microsite.

Large companies routinely create Microsites for new products, offerings, or to support their offline advertising efforts. Auto manufacturers may have separate websites for each model under the umbrella of the corporate brand.

Q: So, let’s say that the business settles on WeddingFlowers.com as their domain name (they’re focused on providing flowers to weddings anywhere in the U.S.). How should they structure their sub-directories (i.e. http://WeddingFlowers.com/_____________) or sub-domains (i.e. http://_____________.WeddingFlowers.com?

The structure of the site would follow the structure of their business. They may want to create sub-directories by wedding themes: WeddingFlowers.com/traditional-wedding, WeddingFlowers.com/outdoor-wedding, and so on.

Q: Are there any search engine marketing (SEM)/SEO books that you recommend people read?

The Findability Formula by heather lutze is excellent for SEM.

Q: If someone wants to get in touch with you what’s the best way for them to do so?

I’d love for your readers to visit LanaGoldenberg.com and sign up for my newsletter.

I send out a weekly Market Smarter, Not Harder tip  to help small businesses and organizations maximize their marketing efforts.

You can also click on the Contact tab and sign up for a complimentary 15-minute Get Acquainted Phone Session.

We will discuss your business goals and laser in with specific solutions for bringing more qualified
visitors and leads to your website.

Q: Thanks, Lana!

My pleasure! I hope your readers find this information useful for their Search Engine Optimization efforts.

9 Comments

  • http://robdkelly.com/increasing-web-traffic/google-front-page-tips-for-personal-websites/ 7 Tips To Get Your Personal Website On The Front Page Of Google | Rob Kelly

    [...] Note: There’s a good interview with a Search Marketing expert here called: How To Select The Best Domain Name To Attract Search Engines. [...]

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  • Adithyakrishna10

    Hi Lana..i want to start a web site with multiple options like i want to include DEALS, nearest PHARMA and free Ads so how can i select my Domain Name?? can you suggest me any..

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    Interesting and important information. It is really beneficial for us. Thanks.SIMRAN

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