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ION's Search Engine Optimization Training: Instructions for choosing a domain name

SECTION THREE - Choosing the best domain name

        Often times people overlook the importance of getting the right Domain name, and are stuck for the life of that business with a name that they "just though up that time." It really isn't a decision to be taken lightly. Even so, what does this have to say about the importance of domain names in SEO? The tactic of inserting keywords into your domain name has, afterall, been found to be lacking. However, I assure you all that SEO is just Marketing, and what else can be called marketing if not the act of choosing the best name for yourself to put out there? Clearly the Domain name of your website is the most important marketing decision you'll soon make.

SEO terms you might want to review for this step:

               Domain Names


How to choose your most effective domain name:

  1. First try your company's name. Always go for brandability when you can manage it.

    • If it's two words, try running them together. (www.carsales.com)
    • If it's three or more words, use dashes, or hyphens (-) between the words to separate. (www.baileys-car-sales.com)

  2. Always get a ".com" extensions when available. The big corporations usually buy up all the extensions of a domain name, to prevent confusion, but you should decide for yourself if confusion is likely in your case before buying that much "Online real estate."

  3. If you are serious about getting the best domain possible, you've got two choices. You can either visit Nameboy.com & use their free name creation service, or if you need something more powerful, we've got the perfect small, free program for you. Download Softnik's Domain Name Analyzer.

    • Play with the "construct domain names" button, (the red lightning bolt) which will automate the domain name building process for you.
    • You can see all of the best domain name variations for your theme.
    • And then you should click to check out the status of your potential domains.

  4. In the case that the best domain name(s) is(are) taken already, it's time to get serious. Don't settle for a second-rate domain name when money is at stake. Download and use Softnik's Domain Status tool when you want to investigate a list of domains' statuses further. It is also small, free, and simple to use.

    • Just cut and paste your remaining domains from DNA, (above) or your own domain names into the "Add" box, and hit "Ok," and then "Lookup All" -You'll get detailed information on all domains like when they expire and who their registered with.

  5. Need even MORE info on a domain? Here's one last simple tool, called Whois View, that can dig even deeper and give you detailed WHOIS information from any and all registrars in the world. A very good tool to have around for security purposes, as well.

  6. If another person or company owns a domain you want, simply email the owner and make them an offer. They'll surely tell you that it is worth much more than you had in mind, but you can always counter-offer. There are even online services that appraise a domain names' worth if it comes down to it. Just keep in mind that you've got little to lose by asking, but you also shouldn't pay thousands just for a slightly better name... Not unless It's REALLY special!

  7. Time to register the best choice(s)! You've got a few options.

    • Simply go to the registrars themselves like Network Solutions, Nameboy, or Dotster.com to purchase them directly. Expect to pay $9 to $30 each through this route, unless they offer bulk prices. (As low as $5 each for blocks of 20 or more.)
    • There are cheaper registrars who offer deals, all the way down to $6 per name, but they aren't permanent offers. Google for "Cheap domain registration" to find out who's offering the lowest price this week.
    • Four our clients (Who paid for other services) we will be happy to register your domain name(s) for you, and hand over all details to you for $10 each.
    • Finally, make sure you print out your new domain info page, you'll be using it during the next step! (Not to mention at renewal time...)

Why the Domain Registration is important in SEO

         Your domain name is your first and foremost icon that represents your organization in peoples' minds. It actually doesn't help very much as a place to position your keyword, at least not as far as search engines are concerned. But in the people's heads, it's KEY. Does your organization have a easy-to-remember-and-spell name already? If so, you need a domain name as close to that in people's minds as possible, so that people can type your name in without even thinking about it, especially when all they have to do is add a ".com" to the end to find you. Even WalMart would be much worse off, traffic wise, if someone else had stolen their domain name! This is the nature of Brandability. The bottom line is that your URL must be easy to figure out & memorable, and the rest is semantics. Get the best name possible!

The next page, section four, is the 2nd most important section, all about how to write SEO-optimized Content. I suggest you get comfortable and grab a drink or two before tackling it. Good luck!

Click here to continue on to Section Four

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