By JIM HAGUE
Aug 6, 2009
A colleague once wrote to me, “I just discovered I’m ranked No. 1 on Google for (keywords) ‘Abundance and Prosperity’, and No. 5 for ‘Money Magnet!’ When did that happen?”
I replied, “I rank No. 1 on Google for my name, “Jim Hague.” Only a month ago, a search on ‘Jim Hague’ would display other Jim Hague’s, but not me. When I registered ‘jimhague.com,’ I shot straight to the top of the search engines in a matter of days. The website has no Meta Tags, no Title tags, no content, and is under construction. How did we achieve this? Observe the domain names.
Notice the search terms are embedded into the domains; that’s the trick. Most people focus on Meta Tags and Title Tags for search engine results when in fact, Google gives high priority to domain names.
Should businesses purchase domains with embedded key words to be competitive on search engines? Absolutely. What kind of key words? It all depends on your business situation. Here are some important considerations when selecting a domain:
1) The “Location/Business Type Combo”
Businesses catering to local residents will benefit from key words that identify the type of the business and its location.
For instance, a donut shop owner in Fallbrook can assume that visitors from out of town will enter “Fallbrook Donuts” on Google. That owner should register fallbrookdonuts.com. Even though the store’s actual name is not mentioned on the domain, this strategy may prove valuable for top ranking on search engines for these key words.
2) Add purpose to the domain name
The “not so well known companies” should consider adding their purpose or mission in addition to the name, like “CrystaldiWebDesign.com” or “HannasGiftBaskets.com.” The domain will identify the business’ purpose without going into much detail.
3) The right extensions (.com, .net, org, .us….oh my!)
All profit making companies’ main domain name should end with the “.com.” extension since it is the most widely used.
Let’s consider the following scenario where we bring back our Fallbrook donut shop. The storeowner discovers that his competitor registered fallbrookdonuts.com. Should he settle for fallbrookdonuts.net or fallbrookdonuts.org? Short answer, NO! It makes a business seem it had settled for second best.
The “.net” extension’s original purpose was to identify technology companies. The “.org” served non-profits such as churches. Unless the donut store is selling bionic donuts or holds a Bible study, the “.net” and “.org” should not be used.
If the domain you want is taken, get creative. Instead of “fallbrookdonuts.com,” try “bestfallbrookdonuts.com” or “tastyfallbrookdonuts.com.” The Meta tags are still embedded in these domains so search engines will find them, keeping the business competitive.
An acceptable alternative is the use of the “.us” extension. Currently, “.us” is the fastest growing extension with a 21 percent jump in registered owners since 2005.
4) Other tidbits
Avoid using over-extended domains or words difficult to spell. We had a client register “SouthernOregonBeachVacationRentals.com” and another with “BhaghatSinghThind.com.” Type those enough times and you’ll end up with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!
Keep in mind that domains are not just for website purposes, but also for emails. Having colleagues or clients typing long extensions is a turn-off.
b. Buy a domain already established?
We had a client who owned an art gallery in Boston with the website, “BuyThomasKinkade.com,” a site selling Tom Kinkade paintings. When the Boston art gallery folded, an art gallery in Folsom, California decided to purchase that domain.
The Folsom company currently enjoys the traffic and familiarity already established by the Boston art gallery. Established domains open for purchase or bidding can be found on several reputable websites like GoDaddy.com, snapnames.com, and eBay.
c. Statement domains
These days, it’s easy to find domains that make a statement such as “BetterYourFICOScore.org,” “DontForeclose.com” or “SaveYourHome.com.”
The benefit is that it clearly defines the business purpose, but there are flaws:
(1) No branding. What company is this? Why conduct business with a company that fails to identify itself?
(2) The META tags are not embedded, thus the owner has to market more aggressively.
Business can get away using these domains if mentioned on television or radio ads since it’s easy for customers to remember.