Domain analysis for starters – .Net Vs .Com & other factors
Domains and SEO come up a lot for new website owners and nowadays there are hundreds of different domain extensions to pick from. Domain analysis in SEO is the process of reviewing a domain name for metrics like estimated clicks for keywords, ranking potential and other marketing data. There is a lot of mixed information available online about this topic, but the answer will really just depend on your perspective. This article is going to try to cover both sides of the argument to help you with your next domain name choice.
Domain names and SEO go hand in hand. In most cases you will want to pick a domain that is SEO friendly to increase click-through rates and higher rankings on search engines. Having a good website name can help with brand recognition and describing the product or service that you offer. The right domain will also stand out in a sea of search results. Verisign found in a study that click through rates almost double, if your domain includes at least one relevant keyword. Try to pick a domain name that is short, easy to remember, and easy to spell.
If you choose to give with a brand-able domain then just remember to keep it simple. Anything to make it easier for people (and search engines) to find you, right?
What is a premium domain?
A premium domain name is memorable, short and helps you create a brand for your website. Popular extension like .com and .net help give your business credibility that customers come to expect in today’s business e-commerce environments. On the other side you may want to consider a second level domain extension that offers a keyword rich extension that looks great on business cards. There are tools available that will help you during your domain analysis to find out how many similar domain name extensions have been registered already. Either way you will want to make sure that you invest plenty of thought into the domain that will represent your business. When picking a domain name try to consider the following points:
- Relevance: Go with something descriptive for your specific niche or product / service that you offer
- Unique: It doesn’t have to be a completely made-up word, but it should be a unique identifier for your business or website
- Memorable: Short usually means more memorable. Stay away from long domain names!
- User-friendly: A domain should always be easy to spell. Don’t allow for missed traffic because nobody can spell your URL. Domain names and SEO go together.
Of course there are plenty of examples out there that wouldn’t fit the standards above, but those are usually names used for branding. Building up a brand is a great long term investment, but it comes at a cost. It’s definitely something that you should consider though for future marketing plans.
How much does it cost to buy a domain name?
Most domain prices will range from $10 – $20, but they can easily jump into the thousands. The price of a domain will depend on a few different factors like domain extension and where you buy it from. If you’re buying a domain from a registrar like GoDaddy (and it’s not listed as a premium domain), then you’re average cost for a .com domain is $10. There are also premium domain markets that will sell pre-qualified domains for your next project. Usually these sales listings will include things a domain analysis that lets you know about age, traffic, backlinks and other potential search engine ranking factors.
The “name test” and being brandable
In today’s market it takes more to stand out than just a great idea or good customer service. We live in a society where users crave constant engagement, social relationships and interactions with their favorite brands. Your users will need a brand to follow to establish that kind of connection.
The three essentials of branding are that you want to be different, focused, and stand for something. Your logo is the visual trademark that identifies your company. Your domain is your virtual portal that customers can use to connect with you directly (especially when working on a social media marketing strategy). A brand is what represents you and your company to your users. A brand is not only an idea, but it’s the way that people feel when they see your logo or business name. It is the solution that can help close the gap between your customers and your business. It is the combined aspect of your logo, service and company name that makes it so recognizable. Be sure that your domain analysis includes research on potential competitors with similar names!
Brand-able domains are usually short in length and can easily be incorporated into other marketing materials. Because they’re short, they’re less likely to be misspelled which means to fewer missed opportunities of users finding you. Social media contests and promotions are amazing chances for business to get their name out there. They raise awareness, prove lead generation and create audience engagement with new and old users. These type of promotions are great opportunities to use new domain extensions as brand-able and memorable links.
What about keyword domains?
Alternatively, you can choose a name that contains keywords about your business, products, or services. The benefit of these kind of domains is that they can be both brand-able and descriptive about your product or service.
You can’t outsmart the search engine algorithms to boost your SEO through a keyword rich names, however it can add user credibility to you for search results. Most major search engines do not consider exact match keyword domains into the rankings anymore. Keyword domains can still be helpful though when you’re wanting a descriptive domain that lets your users know right away what you offer.
An example of this may be a localized domain like “ChicagoLawyers.com”
Is domain age important? Find out when a webpage was created
The domains history is also an important factor that you will want to consider during domain analysis. The age itself may not have an major impact on improving SEO for your website, but old back-links or blacklisting may make marketing more difficult. It’s always a good idea to spend some time doing research on the domain before you purchase. A great resource for this is archive.org. Just enter the domain name and archive.org will provide you with screenshots (if available) of any previous websites that used that domain name before you. Usually it will be fairly easy to determine if the domain was used for any kind of spam activity.
Being able to find out when a webpage was created is also a great way of doing keyword research. If the previous website owner invested time into SEO work, then it’s worth it to take a look at previous data. A lot of will be outdated, but you can usually still find some helpful bits and pieces to implement into your websites SEO plan.
Buying expired domains for SEO
One of the most difficult things about buying a new domain name is that it holds no search engine authority, until you start building it up over time. It’s something that can be a huge benefit, but will also be something that takes up a large amount of your time. If done right, then there are ways available that will let you boost your search engine authority through external sources.
Even though it shouldn’t be overused, buying expired domains for SEO is a way of raising a site’s SEO performance. Domain names that are expiring were previously registered by somebody and potentially were used for a website. If a expiring domain has a large back link profile set up, then it may be worth to redirect links to your domain. Search engines will see this as a 301 redirect and consider the redirection as the new permanent destination for all of the old links. These links lose authority over time, so it’s not a SEO strategy that can be used long term.
So I bought a domain now what?
Once you have the perfect domain to represent your dream business it’s time to get started with the next steps. You will need a few more things like web hosting, an amazing looking template and promotional resources before you will want to start sharing with the world. Luckily, if you keep working on your dream business, you’re on the right way to create the next big online business that customers talk about.