Domain Names

In this article we will look at domain names and consider 4 important considerations to remember in order to maximize search engine referral traffic. These include memorable domain names, keyword rich domain names, the use of hyphens and non .com domain names.

A reminder about what a domain name is?

Domain names are the human readable Internet addresses of websites. Where computer use addresses using numbers such as 49.59.151.180, these addresses are made more human friendly by translating them into letters called domain names.

There are different types of domain names such as top level domains like.com, .uk, .org, etc. These are followed by second-level and lower level domains like .co.uk, .co, and so on.  

Choosing the right domain for your website – 4 Main Considerations

There are many considerations when choosing your domain name. The most important considerations are choosing domain names that are memorable and keyword rich, that is including your primary keyword or phrase in the domain name. Other important considerations are whether to use of hyphens and buying non .com domain names. Other considerations include using sub folders instead of sub domains, and what to do when moving to a website from one domain name to a new one

  1. Use Memorable Domain Names
    It is strongly advised that the domain name be short if at all possible. It should be easy to remember and easy to type, especially in a browser. A memorable domain name that is easy to say name benefits word of mouth advertising vastly and will entice people to type in domain names into their browser that they might not be familiar with, and do so with ease.
  1. Use Keyword Rich Domains
    You should strike a balance between finding a catchy, unique, brand friendly domain name with having a domain that contains your primary keyword that you are trying to target.

    A keyword rich domain has the following advantages.
    1. The domain name itself is a key ranking factor that the search engines will consider when calculating rankings.
    2. Including relevant keywords in a domain name is beneficial because the domain name is the text that other Internet users will use as anchor text when linking.
    3. Keywords in anchor text are also an important ranking factor and having these keywords in a domain name has a significantly positive impact on rankings. 
  2. The use of hyphens?
    Many experts have in the past agreed that a domain name that is longer than 3 words should be separated with hyphens. However as search engines have changed over time so has the ideas surrounding the use of hyphens. Experts now advise against using hyphens because they correlate with spam related techniques.

    Domain names should ideally not be longer than 15 to 20 characters. Short domain names are easier to remember, easier to share and have less of a chance of resulting in typos.

  3. Use of non .com top-level-domain name?
    Usually when you register a domain name with a registrar such as UKreg, You are given the option to buy additional domain names and these can include top level domain names. In order to maximize the direct traffic to a domain, it is advised that you should only buy an additional domain if the .com version is available. Additionally, it is not recommend that you purchase low quality TLDs such as .biz, .info, .ws, .name, etc. as a means of increasing traffic.

Other Considerations

  1. Sub-folders over sub-domains?
    Search engines keep different metrics for domains than they do for subdomains. Therefore it is recommended that you locate and link to content such as blogs or forums within subfolders rather than subdomains, for example myexample.com/blog/ rather than blog.myexample.com. The only exception to this rule is the language specific websites, for example en.myexample.com for English and fr.myexample.com.
  1. Moving your website under a new domain name
    When you need to move your website to from a domain name to another it is extremely important to set up the redirects on a page-to-page basis such that sub-folders and deep content pages are redirected to corresponding sub-folders and deep content pages on the new domain. This avoids visitors arriving at the new domain finding dead links to non existing pages and sub folders. You should also avoid redirecting all pages from one domain to the homepage of another domain.
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