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Choose the Right Domain Name
Those of us in the web site marketing business spend countless hours testing and discussing what Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL et al consider being desirable web content in order to achieve the best search result positioning for our clients. This immersion in the latest search engine algorithms and nuances makes it easy for us to lose sight of the overall “marketing” component that is in our charge.
More savvy web site marketers recognize that once a prospect enters our LASIK clients’ web sites, the goal is to keep them there and ultimately to compel them to inquire about the products or services being offered. Relevant, informative and original web site content remains the best way to accomplish this.
But efforts on both counts are futile if despite achieving great search result positioning, prospects do not “click-through” to our clients’ sites in the first place. This is likelier to happen if a client’s competitor’s site’s domain name is more relevant to what a prospect is looking for as he or she is scanning even among the top search results.
One way to make the domain name relevant is to include the most desirable keyword (or key phrase) in the domain name itself. There is also an ever so slight optimization advantage to this approach.
If our client’s trade name is recognized locally or among likely prospects, or if it happens to be descriptive of the product or service our client offers, another approach would be take advantage of this “branding equity” by using it in or as the domain name. But there is a tendency for our clients to want to use their trade name as the domain name anyway, and we should advise against this if doing so does not make sense. The web marketer should put him or herself in the prospect’s shoes and carefully consider if he or she is more or less likely to choose a search result with a particular domain name.
Choosing the right domain name can be critical to the commercial success of a web site. This is reflected in what some domain names are being sold for in the domain name “resale” market. It is always a good idea to list and compare our client’s competitor’s domain names as part of our overall competitive research.
But we should not despair if our client is in a competitive market with apparently few remaining domain names, or with attractive domain names selling at prohibitive prices. First, there are many techniques to incorporate keyword(s) into a domain name, including the use of sub-directories, sub-domains, .net, .us or .biz extensions, and dashes (-‘s) in the domain name (as in www.santafe-lasik.us). Please note that one common denominator in spam web sites (pills, porn and casino) is that they often have more than one dash in the domain name. From an SEO perspective, it is wise to share as few characteristics with such web sites as possible. Thus, we should try to refrain from recommending the use of more than one dash in the domain name if possible.
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