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May 6, 2009

Choosing a Domain Name for SEO and Branding

Where have all the good domain names gone? You may be stumped about what domain name you ought to use for your new website. After all, there are several factors you must consider when choosing a domain such as if it helps to build your brand, if it is easy to remember, and if it has SEO benefits. Prior to brainstorming about a great domain name, you must determine whether your domain is disposable or permanent.

Disposable Domains vs. Permanent Domains

If you’re an affiliate marketer trying to make quick bucks selling acai supplements for weight loss, a domain such as would probably fit the bill. Such a domain is considered a disposable or throwaway domain. You probably aren’t planning to use it for an extended period so making brand-building considerations isn’t really necessary.

If you have a permanent domain name that is an integral part of your larger brand-building efforts, you should use something that is easy to remember, distinctive, and credible-sounding. Your friends and webmasters would probably feel embarrassed linking out to a website with a domain such as Remember that you will have site visitors coming from several sources, not just search engines. A site domain that doesn’t look trashy is far more likely to get linked to on social media sites and beyond. Moreover, a site domain that is easy to remember will allow you to enjoy the advantages of word of mouth and score more return visitors.

Tips for Choosing a Brand-Worthy Domain Name

Great domain names are becoming scarce these days. That’s why when you get your hands on one it becomes an asset. So what defines brand anyway? A brand consists of experiences and associations that are connected to a person, company, or service. Think of a big brand like Nike for example. What do you associate Nike with? Perhaps you think of athleticism, victory, and self-confidence. Nike has successfully built a respectable brand image over the years. But what about small businesses who don’t have millions of dollars to spend building brand image? The little guys can come up with a memorable domain name through the soft branding technique, which consists of tweaking a concept already in existence rather than coming up with a completely “meaningless” name to represent your brand. Hotmail is an example of soft branding since people already understand the concept of “mail.” is an example of a “meaningless” domain name. People now associate the name Google with innovation, the future, and technology but when Google got its start, its name was little more than gibberish to most.

SEO Considerations when Choosing Domain Names

Some argue that it’s best to use a generic domain name that includes a target keyword because people are more likely to click on a URL that matches their search term. There is evidence which suggests that Google takes this factor into consideration when weighing the value of a website but different SEOs seem to have different opinions on the matter.

It can be difficult to include target keywords in your domain name if you want a brand-worthy domain that is unique and catchy. If you find that adding a target keyword would conflict with your domain name’s brand-building efforts, consider adding a byline. A byline describes what you do and contains your target keywords. Bylines become an important part of your brand as well. For example, if you sell curtains but your domain name is, you could add a byline that says, “Window treatments in Philadelphia,” to give more details about your service.

Now that you are armed with this information, explore your options carefully when deciding on a domain name for your website. If you are looking to build a permanent domain that reflects your brand, by all means avoid cringe-worthy, hyphenated URLs and brainstorm to come up with something worthy of building your brand image upon. The key to success is coming up with a domain name that is memorable and distinctive and if possible, a name that hints at what product or service you offer.

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