Your Website’s Domain Name: How to Grab SEO Before You Build a Website
Let me ask you a question: When you build a website, how do you pick the domain name? Do you just go with a name that mimics the title of your website or company? Is it really that simple?
Ok, so that was three questions – but who’s counting? Here’s what I’m getting at: You might think that picking a domain name is as simple as coming up with something that just sounds good – I know that’s what I used to think! But if you’re not thinking about SEO when you pick a domain name, you’re missing a great opportunity to boost your search engine rankings.
That’s right, good SEO starts as early as registering your domain! But wait – before you pick a name, here are three tips to keep in mind:
Tip 1: Get Specific
Do some thinking here: What words would you use in a search engine if you wanted to find a website similar to yours? For example, say you have a pet store − Googling “pet store” probably gets you thousands of hits from across the world. You would need to target your search − maybe “pet stores in New York City.”
How would you search for this pet store online?
So, maybe your domain name might be “petstore-nyc.com.” But there’s a good chance that name will be taken, and it’s probably not the name of your actual store. And shouldn’t your store name be in your domain name?
Yes, it should. And here’s why:
Tip 2: Think Branding
I usually recommend that owners put their business name in their domain name. Unless, of course, it’s too long, hard to spell, or obscure. But think about how well domain names like “ebay.com,” “twitter.com,” or “theonion.com” work for branding. They’re short, unique, and easy to remember.
Let’s say your pet store’s name is something cute and memorable, like “Barks.” You could use “barks.com” as your domain name, if available, but chances are that your pet store isn’t as well known as eBay. So, you might want to include a few keywords, too. A good domain name for you might be “barks-petstore-nyc.com.” Or to make it shorter, just “barks-nyc.com.”
But those hypens… are they in the way?
Tip 3: Be hyphen-conscious
What’s the difference between “barksnyc.com” and “barks- nyc.com”? Well, you can probably read the domain name with the hyphens a lot more easily, right? And so can Google’s search crawlers − they see hyphens as spaces and therefore they can read each word separately.
But sometimes hyphens look cumbersome on business cards, and sometimes people leave hyphens out when typing a URL. So what should you do?
Simple! Register both names! Buy both “barksnyc.com” and “barks-nyc.com,” and then have all “barksnyc.com” traffic redirected to “barks-nyc.com”. Works like magic!
SEO made easy!
SEO can be a constant battle, but not when it comes to your domain name. If you choose right the first time, you’ll never need to change it! So remember, pick a few keywords, make sure the domain matches your brand, and use hyphens if necessary.
Oh, and here’s one more tip for you: Whatever you do, try to avoid domain names like these. Ha!