True or False?

Having a relative keyword in your domain name gives a better signal to search engines in relation to SEO?

FALSE.

Years ago, everyone was trying to use domains like “MichiganRealEstate.com” to rank for Michigan real estate as a keyword. Today, I don’t believe that it holds as much weight as it has before. In recent years, algorithm updates, most notably the EMD or “Exact Match Domain” update, means such domains are no longer as helpful for organic rankings as they once were.

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Domain Branding & Brand Awareness

Now, can such domains can be helpful for brand awareness or in association with a particular product or service?

I’m asked this question by clients often when I’m researching options for broad term domains. If I found them, I’ll research their history as well as potential backlink pros and cons. I consider all the data that’s found, as well as the intent of the website’s user.

As I’ve said before in an article I wrote for SearchEngine Journal, “finding the perfect domain name to represent your business can be quite hard! It’s a frustrating problem for many new businesses since domain competition is only rising!

Think about this: if you came across www.widget.com as opposed to www.SamsFilterInc.com, which would make you more prone to inquire further? Which domain is easier to say, spell, and remember?

There are many things you’ll need to consider when buying a new domain:

  1. Can your domain name play into your current brand?
  2. Can it successfully replace your current/old domain?
  3. Is it financially responsible to launch a new product with your new domain name? E.g. does it represent your product well?
  4. Are there any IP issues or benefits?
  5. Are you going to choose a .com, .net, .info, or .biz to name a few?

While there are many other pieces of the puzzle to consider, these first four initial questions are a great place to start.

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Final Thoughts

I’ve amassed a good amount of domains over the years, and do own a handful of great EMD’s. Each gets great rankings for a number of reasons and have also proven valuable.

On the flip side, I’ve also purchased some duds whose names, in the end, really didn’t matter. In once instance, I can say that the end product one domain represented didn’t hold up well. So, users were simply left disappointed and it became a domain that wasn’t linkable anymore. It can really be quite the toss-up.

In the end, I believe that there are still other high conversion factors that should be taken in to consideration when making your decision about an EMD. Whatever you decide, it just has to make sense to you!

If you’re interested in learning more, check out my article in SEJ, “The Best Domain Extensions When a .Com is Not Available!”

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