Should Your Domain Name Match Your Business Name?

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Should your business name match your domain name for you website? In most instances we would advice that you register a domain name that is the same or similar to your business. Granted, this is not always possible but get creative.

Perhaps you have a cafe called “Cups’n Cake” in Connecticut. But you can’t register cupsncake.com because it’s taken. Go ahead then and add something onto the domain like cupsncakeCT.com as an example. In general, it’s best to go with a branded domain name that matches (or closely matches) the business name.

Google ranks brands better and has publicly stated that they will rank a brand when possible. This is not to say keyword rich domain are bad, it’s just that they are not as important as they used to be. A good example is the Dandy Horse Bike Tour company in San Francisco.

Instead of using something like DandyHorseSF.com or DandyHorseTours.com they use biketoursSF.com as their domain. This is because they’ve been in business for years and registered this keyword rich domain back when such a thing mattered.

Today, it’s more effective to get a branded domain and to make sure your page title contains your relevant keywords.

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Branded domains for Businesses

Business, bloggers and online store creators should focus primarily on building a helpful brand. As such, get great domain name that reflects your brand. In the past keyword focused domain names were preferred by Google and other search engines but are now penalized for over optimization.

This is because creators would simple build low quality websites that would rank well because they had a keyword rich title. This provides a poor user experience for users of Google and is why Google now prefers focused brands on a specific topic.

For example, blogger Chris Guthrie paid $10k for the domain MakeMoneyontheInternet.com which was penalized for over optimization. He had to then re-brand his website and wasted thousands of dollars and hours of time.

When to use exact match keyword domains

In general, you should build a brand. But that is not to say exact match domains never make sense. If we look at something like CreateaClickableMap.com, it’s a keyword rich title that lives up to it’s name. This is an excellent website because it matches the purpose of the website.

This is why biketoursSF.com is a good domain. While you should avoid spammy looking, over optimized domain names when possible; it’s still a great option if you’re providing a service that clearly and specifically matches that domain name.

When to avoid exact match keyword domains

A domain name should be brand or clearly reflect the purpose of the website. The reason why domain names like SugarDetoxforChildren.com or MakeMoneyOnTheInternet.com are such bad domains is that they are spammy and over optimized for a single search term.

Something like “sugar detox for children” should be a comprehensive page on a medical website. Not a stand alone website pushing some weird ebook. You want to avoid exact match, keyword heavy domain names unless your website is specifically about a topic in an authoritative way. Similar to how “create a clickable map” is an outstanding domain and website because the service matches that domain name perfectly.

Google Expert, Authority and Trust (EAT)

Google also has an EAT initiative that they use when evaluating websites. EAT stands for expert, authority and trust. Google is becoming more sophisticated and wants to rank brands for various keywords and phrases. Google also manually checks various popular terms to make sure their providing quality results.

To get an idea of how EAT works think about what sort of results you would expect if you were to do a search for the “best vlogging cameras.” What type of result would you expect? Lets take a look at some hypothetical examples:

FunForLouis.com/youtube-videos-beginners

VideoBreakthrough.com/youtube-starter-guide

BestYouTubeCameraReviews.com/best-camera-youtube

Most people would click on the “videobreakthrough.com” link as it’s the most trustworthy as it’s professional and it’s branded. This is where having a branded and specific domain helps. FunForLouis.com looks like someones personal blog so it may ore may not be helpful. The last domain looks spammy.

What to do if you can’t get your brands domain name?

First, is your brand trade marked and you’re just late to the party getting online? If it is then you have some legal protection from preventing other websites from using your brand. They can register your brands domain name, but they are not allowed to use it.

Again, when it comes to copyright and trademarks it gets complicated. But in general, you’re not allowed to register and use a domain name with a trademark in it. I for example, could not use FiverrForTheWin.com for an online course. Fiverr is trademarked.

If your branded domain is taken, then you have a few different options.

Use an alternative extension

You may have to use an alternative domain extension or buy your desired domain name from the company that has registered it. Some domain extensions we like for business would be the .co domain extension or a .shop extension if you’re an online store.

Add devices to the domain name

A device is to add numbers or abbreviations onto the domain to help get a similar domain name to the one you want. A great example is how Dandy Horse added the SF to the end or “bike tours.” This helps make the website more relevant for specific search terms related to the San Francisco area.

If your business is specific to a region then consider adding abbreviation or using a hyphen. Though a hyphen is a last resort as it’s a very uncommon practice to use hyphens when registering a domain name.

Contact the domainer and buy your .com

Sometimes you may have no choice and will simply have to buy the domain name you want from a domainer for an inflated price. While not ideal, sometimes you have no choice if there is a domain name you really want.

To buy a domain from a domainer first search to see if there is a splash page for the domain. A splash page is just a one page website that has some ads and is also advertising that the domain name is of sale. A last resort would be to do a WHOIS search in order to find the email of the person who registered the domain name.

Abbreviate your domain

You can always abbreviate your domain name into something shorter and more usable. In many instances, this shortened domain name is actually better than the original. For example, EntrepreneursOnFire.com has been rebranded as EOFire.com.

The latter is shorter and much better in my professional opinion. The new domain still makes senses and it’s easier to type in. With your domain name, think of other more creative ways to shorten your domain to something new.

Domain names and your business name conclusion

Domain names can be an annoying and confusing aspect of getting your business online. You have a lot of different options from branded domain names to alternative domain extensions. Whatever you decide to do, focus on something more brandable with a few keywords in it than an overly optimized domain name.

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