What are Domains?
In order to choose the best domain name for your website it is first important to understand what a domain is. Domains are described as unique, human-readable addresses for websites. All domains are comprised of three parts: a top-level domain also known as a TLD or suffix, a domain name and an optional subdomain. You may also be familiar with a part of a URL called a protocol which is the http:// or https:// preceding a domain but is not actually a part of a domain. When you put all of these parts together you end up with a domain such as http://www.example.com. In this example domain you can see that the www. is the subdomain, the word example is the domain name and the .com is the top-level domain. Let’s take a closer at each of these domain elements.
TLDs are the suffix that are located at the end of a domain name. You probably already know that there are a number of different TLDs such as .com, .net, .co, as well as specific country TLDs such as .ca, .uk or .dk. However most internet users are unaware that there are actually 1,000s of different TLDs, these include things like .travel, .apartments and .lighting. It is important to note that the TLD you select for your domain can impact the effectiveness of your domain.
Domain names can essentially be anything and are the most unique identifier in your domain. In a domain such as www.gokonstruct.com, gokonstruct is the domain name. A domain name should represent your brand and clearly indicate what your business is. It is important to note that search engines do use keywords in domain names as ranking factors. However Google’s algorithm has been updated to combat keywords stuffed domains such as bestplumberincalgary.com. We will dive deeper into how to select an effective domain name later in this article.
Root Domain or Web Address
A root domain or web address is the combination of the domain name and TLD. A root domain is what you will purchase from a registrar and what users will enter in an address bar to visit your site. Each version of a root domain can only be registered once so if you a looking for the web address cookingpans.com it is most likely already taken and you will not be able to use it as your web address. You will have to find a root domain that is unique in order to use it as your web address.
Subdomains are optional elements of a domain and are located in front of the root domain. The most common subdomain used is www. but you may have seen other subdomains used by various websites. Other common subdomains are shop.example.com or blog.example.com, shop and blog are subdomains of the root domain example.com.
How to Choose the Right Domain Name?
Now that we have a deeper understanding of what a domain is and the elements that comprise it let’s get into how to select an effective domain name. Before we go through the steps of picking the right domain name it is important to know the term “processing fluency.” Processing fluency is a cognitive bias that human beings have where we remember things that we can easily say and think about. Processing fluency will have an impact on just how effective your domain name is.
Represent your Brand
The most important factor when deciding on a domain name for your website is whether it is brandable. You want a domain name that represents your business and is unique. This means if your business name is Imperial Lighting then your domain name should be imperiallighting.com not calgarysbestlighting.com or affordablelightingcalgary.com. There are several reasons for this one being that when users type in imperiallighting.com they know exactly whose website they are visiting because it is unique to your brand. Another reason is that it is important to a user’s processing fluency as a user that remembers your brand name would assume your domain name matches it. Finally using a domain name such as calgarysbestlighting.com is considered keyword stuffing a domain name and this will have a negative impact on how your site ranks on Google or other search engines.
Let’s take a deeper look into that final point regarding keyword usage in a domain name. It is true that keyword usage in a domain name can have a positive impact on your SEO rankings. However for this to be effective it is important to include broad keywords that clearly illustrates what your business is about. An example of this would be if your business name was Kicks and you were a shoe store, instead of choosing a domain name of kicks.com you could add a broad keyword such as kicksshoes.com. This will give your domain name some additional SEO, however one thing you want to avoid is overloading your domain with specific keywords. This means you won’t want to use the domain name kicksshoestoreincalgary.com kicksbestshoes.com.. These domains are known as “exact match domains” or EMDs and have been a target of Google for a while now. All the way back in 2012 Google launched a filter to prevent poor quality sites from ranking well simply because they had words that match search terms in their domain names. Matching your domain name to a search term you’d like to target does not have any SEO benefits.
For more information on why you should avoid keyword stuffing your domain name check out these articles:
Keep it Simple. Keep it Short.
Remember how we mentioned processing fluency is important to consider when deciding a domain name. Well a big part of processing fluency is keeping things simple and short so they are easy to remember. Using a domain name that is easy to say will make it easier for someone to remember, same thing goes with keeping it short. Choosing a domain name that is easy for users to remember will have a big impact on how effective it is.
Prioritize .com TLDs
Another important factor to consider when choosing your domain name is the TLD you are going to use. The TLD you choose can have a major impact on how effective your domain is. It is important to always place a bias on .com TLDs. This is because .com is the most recognizable and accessible TLD to choose from. Users are most familiar with using the TLD .com so if they are typing in a domain associated with your business they are likely to default to the .com TLD. If the .com TLD is unavailable for the domain name you want to register then you should prioritize your country specific TLD such as .ca or .uk, or more familiar TLDs such as .net or .co.
Not Sure What Domain to Go with? We can Help!
As you can see there a lot of factors that can impact just how effective your domain name is. At Konstruct Interactive we have experience in completing SEO analysis of effective domain names for local and international businesses. Not only can we help you pick a domain name that is right for your business we can also register your domain name as well. If you need any kind of help with your domain name we have experts that can handle it. For more information on our domain name services please contact us at (587) 331-6223.