Choosing a domain name is a vital step in getting online. Sometimes the decision is easy as you need a domain name that matches your brand or trading name. However you may also want to use a so called exact match domains using keywords that you are trying to rank for on search engine results pages (SERPS).
Once you have made your decision then the process is checking that the domain is available and buying the domain. Then your web developers and web hosts can get going in setting up your email accounts, web hosting and website.
There will be times, however, when you need to choose a domain name that reflects what your business does or its location in addition to part of your business name or brand.
Like many questions relating to search engine optimisation, whether they provide a boost on Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) depends on many factors.
What are Exact Match Domains?
Exact match domains (EMDs) are domain names that incorporate the exact keywords that you are trying to rank for in Google’s SERPs
The classic exact match domain is the DIY chain B&Q. As the ampersand “&” is not a valid symbol for domain names (just letters, numbers and hyphens) they have chosen to use the exact match domain name diy.com
This obviously suits their business and is something they had to do with respect to their brand.
Other examples of exact math domains include hotels.com, doorbell company, Ring.com, the dog food provider, Paws.com and the dating site, Match.com.
These are domain names that exactly match the activities, market or products of the business.
The main issue with EMDs is they are sometimes treated suspiciously by Google as they have been used by spammers to artificially boost the ranking of another website. If they are used poorly then there is a risk of suffering Google penalties or downgrading in SERPs.
Bill Slawski wrote in 2011:
“A company may attempt to “trick” the search engine into listing the company’s website more highly. For example, if the search engine gives greater weight in ranking results to words used in the domain name associated with websites, a company may attempt to trick the search engine into ranking the company’s listing more highly by including desirable search terms in the domain name associated with the company’s listing.”
What matters is the quality and credibility of the website that is created at the domain.
Choosing your domain name
There are three main options:
- Brand or company name – such as amazon.com
- Exact match domain – use keywords that reflect your business.
- Partial match domain – combine the main keyword with a location or other relevant keyword e.g. , suitsdirect.co.uk and glassesdirect.co.uk.
Give it some thought and commit to creating the best website you can at your domain, bearing in mind that you need it for both website and email addresses. Think about the brevity, memorability and quotability of your domain name. You will need to be able say it easily and people need to be able remember and spell it easily. Finally if you go for an exact match or partial match domain name don’t overstuff with keywords or you could suffer penalties from search engines if they think your arr a spammer.