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Domain name research and selection is undoubtedly one the most important aspects of the development phase of a web site. If you miss the boat on choosing the right name, you might miss a boatload of traffic.
The process of picking the right domain name for your web site can be broken down into two parts:
Phase 1 - Domain Name Research
Selecting the right keywords to include in optimizing your web site text and file structure is already a well established 'must do'. Including that same attention to detail in your domain name can pay big rewards in giving you "the edge" over your competition. Several questions to discuss:
While researching the words to use in your domain name it is critical to grasp the "essence" of what it is you're trying to accomplish. Traffic is good. Targeted traffic is even better and that's ultimately what we're after....qualified buyers.
We are advanced web searchers. Think basic. You've got to put yourself in the buyers shoes and think..."hmmmm, I'm looking for _____. If I go to MSN and type in _____ and see what comes up." Think in basic terms. Get to know what the keywords are in the category you're optimizing in. Find the niches. Find the meat and potatoes words and as BT would say "find the keyword gold".
Phase 2 - Implementing the Keyword Strategy
Once the keyword strategy game plan is solidified, you can go ahead and start to select the domain name itself. Hyphenate the words unless you're going to be using the name for offline promotion as well. In that case it's a good idea to get both the hyphenated and non-hyphenated domains. Don't forget you can also use keywords as subdomains if you want to use your company name as the domain name as well. Questions to discuss:
While having the keywords in the domain name is not absolutely critical, having the keywords as the site name is. As most of us have learned, this becomes painfully clear when applying for a listing at Dmoz, Yahoo and especially Looksmart. Using a short, descriptive , keyword rich title (including the header graphic) will ensure a much greater chance of success in slaying the evil editors who are actively blocking the pathway to your success in having great search results for your site. (Yahoo is one instance in life where the old hymn "just give me a cabin in the corner of Gloryland" applies...just be glad you made it in ;) ).
With the "Big 3" directory listings in agreement with the keywords in your domain name and site title, you can honestly say that you have done the best you can do to target your site in the search engine results (of course the rest of the site must be done properly also). At this point, you haven't done anything underhanded (yet), except apply the skills you've gained from experience in dealing with the "system".
So, "what's in a name"? Location. Location. Location.
If you would like to know how it gets on you can sticky mail me but only beginning to get in the search engines this week and its geting approx 70 uniques a day, its a .cd domain extension, maybe you can guess what it is :)
It is very interesting though to see who will index it and who wont.
"Go to w w w dot cottage rentals dot com." (www.cottagerentals.com)
"Go to w w w dot cottage hyphen rentals dot com." (www.cottage-rentals.com)
There may be a slight keyword relevance boost for SEs with the hyphenated version, but I haven't seen any major advantage... unless you're doing MOST of your advertising in print, in which case www.cottage-rentals.com might look better.
All in all, if you can buy both the hyphenated and nohyphen versions of the same name, I think that's the best way to go. You can promote one, and just have the other one pointing to the same site... that way, even if someone gets confused about the hyphen, they'll end up at the right site.
For the same reason I stay away from hyphens and words that are simply hard to spell.
What makes you say that? I would think that either (a) they can decipher the keywords out of any domain, hyphens or not, so it doesn't matter, or (b) they can rarely decipher keywords out of non-hypenated domains, so hyphens really help a lot. Under what circumstances would they penalize the non-hyphenated version 'only a little bit.' ? Or is the penalty just that they miss out on the whole 'domain name bonus' given to sites that have keywords in their domains?
The assumption that SE's can realise that the string cottagerentals really means 'cottage rentals' is often taken as a given, but frankly I'm skeptical.
A hypothetical case: Suppose I start a company and call it "Arts Express." I get the URL www.artsxpress.com. Now do the SE's rank me well for the phrase 'arts express' ... or do they rank me well for the phrase 'art sx press' ? Or does the domain-name splicing routine somehow work together with the page-analyzing routine to come up with the most likely interpretation?
>>>>> Now do the SE's rank me well for the phrase 'arts express' ... or do they rank me well for the phrase 'art sex press' ? Or does the domain-name splicing routine somehow work together with the page-analyzing routine to come up with the most likely interpretation?
i have no hard facts, just some thoughts ... if the SE can assess a page and pages linked to it for relevance then it should be able to work out wether "arts express" or "art sex press" is relevant...
but what about this
now this site is about root vegatables!!
how would the SE respond to that...
allow carrot and turnip as "keywords"
or just one of them and if only one which would it choose if the site was balanced between the 2 words??
also this one arts.com
would the se consider art arts or both
(especially as both would probably be highly relevant to the site)
It's generally agreed that hyphens and underscores become spaces in the se's eyes.
With that firmly established it would then also be safe to assume that separating the words with hyphens in your domain name leaves little room for misinterpretation by an se. If there is anything to be gained from keywords in the domain name (evidence indicates a slight advantage at some engines), then why not separate them by hyphens and accept the edge with a big "Thank You" for having that little tidbit that just might help you get better position?
It is not critical to do this as you can rank well with enormously longandobnoxiousdomainnames as well. But it must be noted that there appears to be a slight edge in using the keywords in the domain name.
Of course there are 4000 other variables that come into play as well but since we don't understand all the finite details why hinder your possible success by not incorporating tactics that give any kind of advantage.
and two exact matches, on two words with the second case.
The phone test <I call it the phonetic ambiguity test> is a good one. chants/chance is a good example. This is good logic offline also. I keep being reminded of a radio commercial being aired for a copier in my region. "Keeya-serra-meeta-copiers??" I still have no idea how it is spelled despite hearing the ad over 3 dozen times. Hence, I have no way to look it up. They really need their marketing group to give it a differnt brand, or model brand.
My "best" choice is three domains . One corporate domain - cute and quick off the tongue - as a name for the company and domain. Use the corporate "cute" name for print materials, and brand building. Once your "brand" is built on the web, you have a unique keyword, and the sole rights to use it, if you did your legal homework. Also get two keyword loaded domains. One hyphenated, one not. Submit the hyphenated one. The none hyphenated one is to "protect" your traffic from users forgetting the hyphens when telling their friends and associates. With the cost of domains nowadays, this is not a big expense.
And I bet Kyocera owns/operates Mita... But I'm only guessing because "Keeya-serra" looks like it sounds like "Kyocera" is commonly pronounced, and Kyocera makes a little bit of everything. We deal with their solar panels, for instance. They also have an electronics division, etc., etc...
A very good point. Make it either a common word, or something who's spelling rolls off the tongue... "Yes, that's Keeya-serra, K-Y-O-C-E-R-A, Meeta, M-I-T-A..."
I suppose you could try to turn it into another Mickey Mouse or Oscar Meyer song!
I don't think he noticed it how open to interpretation this domain name was, until he took a look at some of the sites linking to him :)
I'm wondering how all this will balance out as time rolls on. For sure, one obvious moral to the story is keep-it-simple so you avoid typos. It might now be a DIS-advantange to have the keyword in your domain name, if typos are too easy to make.
You could be sending traffic straight to your competition with a poor choice of domain!
(edited by: NFFC at 9:43 pm (utc) on Mar. 25, 2002)
What's in a Company Name?
Since company names may end up as a title for directory listings, it is very important to first take a look at this. I've had some clients get dba names to help bolster their online presence and it worked.
Although these days with the lack of good keyword rich .com's available, the above approach may not work in all industries and creativity in developing a name is critical!
P.S. Sorry, I was scanning posts and this one popped up from the grave. I didn't look at the dates!
but when is it spam, and when is it not? Whilst I agree that a goodly number of multi-hyphened domains are constructed for positional purposes, there are times when a domain has been taken and the person/comapny opts for the hyphened version for branding purposes. A minority I agree, but the challenge is where do you draw the line and not punish the innocent?