What’s in a Name?
The domain name you choose when setting up your website can have positive or negative implications for SEO and branding in general. A domain name is a very important element in your marketing strategy since it is a big part of your brand. In essence, it’s your business identity, and it should embody the way you want people to see you. Moreover, crafting the domain carefully could be a big plus when it comes to Search Engine Optimization.
Your domain is basically your business name as represented on the Internet. That is to say, the name by which people and search engines will find you. There are two elements to a domain that are very important: The name and its suffix.
Domain Name Suffix
The suffix should be selected according to your type of industry. For example, a brick-and-mortar business, being a Commercial venture, should use the venerable “.com” suffix. If you run a non-profit organization then “.org” is more appropriate. The exception being educational institutions, which require “.edu”.
While a few years ago it was very important to secure the perfect domain name ending with “.com”, today businesses have a plethora of valid suffixes to chose from. The authority of the “.com” suffix is no longer a major factor when it comes to giving your business legitimacy or credibility. This is due in part because of the way the great “World Wide Web” has evolved: People are no longer required to input an Internet URL strictly into a browser’s address bar. Instead, links, bookmarks, QR codes, and even browsers, can bring up any given address almost instantly. For example, to find a business without typing its fully qualified domain, nothing beats using Google in terms of speed or accuracy. Moreover, modern search engines tend to prefer a website’s content and structure over the suffix to determine relevance.
Simple Tips for Domain Name Selection
To select effective domain names for your business, follow these simple guidelines:
- Choose a meaningful name that will represent your brand and your type of business. Small business should avoid abstract names or acronyms. For instance, selecting “bagelcafelongbeach.com” is better than “bclb.com”.
- While obtaining the “.com” suffix for a commercial business is preferable, it may not be available for your chosen domain name. You can then select “.net”, “.org”, or “.us”. While not strictly correct in terms of your specific business sector, it is allowed and will not have a negative effect on SEO.
- Avoid the use of hyphens. There is research that suggests that Google’s search bots do not look favorably to domain hyphenation and possibly penalize sites that use them.
Names are as important for businesses as they are for people. Crafting a domain for your company that best represents what you do and your type of industry can have wide and lasting benefits.