You’re setting up a new website and one of the first things to-do is to pick out your domain name. Also known as your website address or URL. There’s a lot of competing tips for choosing the best SEO friendly domain name out there. There are some domains online that are great for SEO. But terrible from a marketing perspective and vice versa. Not to mention that the market’s pretty saturated and a lot of the best named domains are already taken.
So given all that. Choosing the right SEO friendly domain can be a bit of a juggling act for sure. But in this article I’m going to show you a practical checklist of what to go for. What to avoid and how to focus on all these factors to make your job of choosing that perfect domain name easy. Here we go.
creating your awesome SEO friendly domain
So, how can you create that awesome SEO friendly domain name?
- One that your audience can remember
- Type in without any trouble
- help you get found in searches?
I’ll show you all that. Plus a cool trick toward the end you can actually use to have the best of both worlds. Even if it seems like there’s no way.
All this information, researched by moz.com and other marketing SEO experts. Shows and proves to be the most important factors you should be looking out for. So let’s talk about the first criteria.
shoot for short and memorable
It’s pretty obvious why. Right? You know the longer or more complicated your domain name is. The more chance there is of people screwing it up when they attempt to share it and when they type it in. And that’s if they can even remember it to begin with.
So now is not the time for long tail keyword phrases. If you’re the law firm of Ziffrin Brittenham Branca Fisher Gilbert Larry Steifelman Cook Johnson Landy and Wolf. Which is a real law firm by the way. Then yeah keep it as short as you can without making it too short and then hurting your brand or ranking potential. It’s recommended that your SEO friendly domain be between 6 – 14 characters.
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.com VS .anythingelse
So here’s the thing. A lot of the SEO friendly domain names you might want are most likely already taken. At least in the .com version. So people start thinking, hey that’s okay I can get a .net or a .luxury SEO friendly domain. Which also is actually a real thing you can get. In fact a new industry has pretty much popped up this past decade of what we call top level domain extensions. I was even asked to advertise a few of them over the years. Some of them actually do sound kind of trendy and cool.
Some SEO friendly domains are specific like .beer which seems like it’d be a great fit for a brewery or .george. Which seems like a perfect fit for a Costanza.
I don’t recommend them for one very simple reason. People have a built-in association with .com. They think of every website as a .com. To the point where if you told them to go to my website mikesdogtraining.net. Most people would remember that as mikesdogtraining.com.
If your .com isn’t available. Rather than calling .net your plan b. I’d actually make that more of a plan c behind tweaking the domain name of the .com if you can.
So something like getmikesdogtraining.com. That makes it a bit longer yeah, but that’s something you’d want to weigh out. But adding that one short word to the beginning is worth sticking with .com. And it makes the domain name a little more actionable and fun.
If You Can't Find a .com SEO Friendly Domain
Your second choice would be a .net or .co. I’d leave out the more clever ones because most people will get confused by those. They’d see jets.pizza and think ,wait, they mean jetspizza.com. Right? And then they’re going to hit up Dominoes when they can’t find it.
now we get to the biggest debate over SEO Friendly domain names
Should you go for something classy and branded or for something more keyword driven? There are definite pros and cons for each of these. Let’s talk about it.
First off, when I say a branded domain I mean something like ultaclinic.com and a keyword driven version of that might be chicagodermatology.com. So with the pure branded SEO friendly domain chicagodermatology.com:
- It reads clean
- It’s memorable
- It feels like a real brand
Those are all pluses for chicagodermatology.com. It aligns with what people might actually search in google for. Making it much more likely to rank for that term. And in this case it also happens to be somewhat memorable. But it doesn’t sound like much of a brand does it? This can be damaging to your click-through rate depending on how egregious it is.
For instance, how likely would you be to click through to bestplumbersinorlandoflorida.com versus allclear.com? One feels like a legit company. Like it’s branded and one feels like you’re going to click through to a slimy, spammy page.
Exact Or Partial Match Domain
Choosing a branded SEO friendly domain can hold you back in ranking and searches. And when you’re a new website you need all the help you can get. Make no mistake, exact match SEO friendly domain names do give you an edge still to this day. Even though some people say it’s getting to be less and less of a ranking factor. But for now it’s still a thing.
So here’s what I actually recommend. Not an exact match domain like bestplumbersinorlando.com, but a partial match domain. Something that combines your business name and your top keyword phrase. Even if only partial.
So if your business name is All Clear Plumbing. You might want to go for something like allclearplumbing.com. Or something like acplumbingorlando.com. Both options are still branded. It’s a matter of how aggressive you feel you want to be here. If you can use one of your keywords rather than the whole phrase. Because remember, even having a broad keyword like plumbing can still help your site.
It may not be as SEO powerful as plumbing Orlando. But you’ll be way ahead of where you’d be without it. So find that middle ground. By compromising on your keywords. And even shortening or abbreviating your business name if you need to. I’d rather see you use your full business name with one good keyword.
Now for the trick
So I promised you a trick you can use and here it is. If you can’t seem to make this work by combining your business name and your best keyword phrase into a great.com SEO friendly domain. You can either register a .net or .co domain extension. Or choose a more aggressive keyword rich SEO friendly domain and a shorter punchier more branded one as well.
So you’d then use the keyword SEO friendly domain as your actual site where it lives and then redirect the branded version to it. That way, searchers on google are more likely to find and click your keyword SEO friendly domain name. And if you do a good job with your title and descriptions meta text. They most likely won’t notice the genericness of your url as much.
Then when you tell people where to find you online you tell them the branded domain. It’s easy to remember and it’ll still take them to the same place. Because it’ll redirect to your actual website.
So that would be the outward-facing domain you’d use out in the world. But you still want to build backlinks and business citations to the real domain. The keyword domain. Then in time as your business grows. Or if keyword domains start to lose ground in search. You can always start thinking about transitioning to your more branded domain name. Because you own that as well. And then switch the redirect around.
I would encourage you to try to make one SEO friendly domain name work first before you resort to this. I do have faith that you can get creative and land on choosing an awesome SEO friendly domain name that works for your business.