A question I get asked a lot is about what domain name to build my site on. So in this post I will provide my opinion about domains and choosing the best ones for SEO and conversions.
Most people want to know if they should go for keyword domains or not bother and just go for something more general. To answer this all I can say is that I have both kinds, for various sites I own. Some domains are the exact keyword I’m targeting for that site (mini sites).
For example if you decide to target a keyword phrase such as “women dress watches” then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go out and see if you can register www.womendresswatches.com, if the .com is gone then go for the .net or .org instead.
By having the exact match keyword domains you can get an SEO boost and rank with less backlinks, in most cases than other competing sites. If you can’t get the exact match, then try for something close to it, such as www.bestwomensdresswatches is still effective, just not quite as much of an SEO boost.
These exact keyword domains are good, but they are not absolutely necessary, and for my sites that are a lot larger and more general in nature, by that I mean that are targeting a broad range of products, I don’t worry about the keyword as much, but I do try and fit some form of keyword in there.
Non Keyword Domains
Now to throw spanner in the works, I’ve tested buying high page rank domains that have nothing to do with my niche and building sites on these, and the results are often staggering. I’ve seen these sites get very quick rankings in Google and make sales for me. The name of the domain really needs to be something that is very general and could mean anything at all.
What About Hyphens?
Often when you try and get a domain with the keyword that you want in it, it can be hard, because other people have bought them already. This then leads to the dilema of whether or not to buy the hyphenated version, and if we stick to our example it would be something like: www.womens-dress-watches.com.
This is an option to get keyword domains, but they don’t look that great, and can give the impression that the site is less of an authority. Nonetheless I have also tried this approach and had sites rank very well, so from my own experience it does work.
Apart from the main ones of .com, .net and .org I have not actually tried any other extensions, because I have heard that they don’t perfrom as well in Google, so I don’t want to risk it, but then again maybe I should set up a test of my own.
Brand Names in the Domain?
Another very common question that gets asked is whether or not you can buy domains that have brand names in them for your affiliate marketing sites. The short answer is no, its a trademark breach and you can get into trouble.
So why do we see so many of these kind of domains in Google then? It’s a valid question, and from what I know, unless the company who’s brand it is that you are using, contacts you with a please cease and desist notice, then you can carry on. I personally don’t do it, and my advice to you is not to, but if you want to take the risk then you can, and this is another way to get keyword domains too.
In closing if you are building a long term asset, and the kind of site that will get passed around via word of mouth, then it’s a good idea to get a domain that is short, easy to spell and catchy. This is more the case for e-commerce stores, because people can tell their friends where they bought something, and your domain can become recognized.