What's in a (domain) name?

One of the key factors in SEO success is choosing a good domain name. Here, theEword senior programmer Adrian Mursec shares some wise words on the subject of web addresses...

Getting indexed in first position on the search engines has never been easy, especially if you are trying to target specific keywords for your business. SEO is a slow-burn strategy that can take time to deliver a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) you are happy with.

One way in which you can get off to a flying start is by picking a good domain name. This can help greatly, especially as your choice could work as a keyword, which will carry more weight in search engines than any of the links or SEO techniques you will use in moderation.

Tips for finding the right domain name:

  • Think about who your target audience is. If you are only targeting people in the UK, why not buy the ‘.co.uk’ address, as this will also help cut out competition from the '.com' users and put a bit more weight behind your site on local searches.
  • Keep it short. This isn’t so much for the search engines but more for the users, as a short domain name will be easier to remember and potential visitors will have less chance of mistyping it.
  • Make the domain name as unique as possible. If half a dozen older sites have a similar name, you might find yourself starting in the deep end (even if the other sites have no relation to what you are selling). You could even try to make up a word to describe your site, to truly establish a unique brand. For example, would Twitter be as popular if it was called www.some-site-for-mini-blogging.org, or similar? Again, this technique works best if the name is some sort of play on a keyword.
  • Try to use only one domain. When purchasing a domain name it is easy to buy into deals on multiple domains for the '.com', '.co.uk' and abbreviations of the name. But if you do buy more than one, make sure the extra ones redirect to just one domain.
  • Why not try to buy an already established domain name? This will have age on its side and escape any kind of sandboxing which search engines could use.
  • Overall, don’t rush into buying a domain name. If your site is successful, it will be something you have to live with for a long time.