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Key Benefits the Right Domain Name Adds to your Brand

Choosing a spotless domain name is crucial for improving your digital marketing efforts. A domain name is far more than your site’s address. It’s a differentiating factor between building a solid and memorable brand and getting lost in a sea of similar businesses.

Here is how choosing the right domain name can benefit your brand.

Improving your Organic Rankings

Your domain name is among Google’s 200 ranking factors. Even though it’s not as important as it was in the past, domain names can still help you rank higher in the organic search. Now, if you’re not sure how they impact SEO, here are a few simple facts to know.

  • A domain name increases your organic reach. Namely, when having the same brand name and a domain name, people will find you easier. When googling your brand name, your website will be the first thing they see in the SERPs.
  • The age of a domain doesn’t matter. Back in 2010, Google’s former head of the webspam team, Matt Cutts, emphasized that the difference between new and old domains is not a big deal. Today, Google prioritizes the quality and relevancy of your website.
  • Keywords in your domain still carry a minor SEO value, even though they shouldn’t. According to Backlinko, sites with a domain name that starts with a keyword rank higher than those that don’t have a keyword. 
  • Exact-match domain keywords may harm your rankings. In the past, adding an exact-match keyword (EMD) could boost your ranking significantly. However, in 2012, Google introduced the EMD Update, reducing this kind of domains in its results. Therefore, instead of exact-match keywords, look for more organic and broader keywords that don’t seem spammy. Walk-in your customers’ shoes. Would you rather buy from a site called BuyGreekFood.com or TastesOfGreece.com? 
  • Choosing subdirectories over subdomains is important. While subdirectories are parts of your website (www.example.com/blog), subdomains are perceived by search engines as independent sites. Even though Google says it ranks both subdirectories and subdomains the same, the first option may be more beneficial for your SEO, given that all links go to the same domain.

Instead of spamming your domain name with keywords, focus on its relevancy and value. Keep it informational – let audiences know what your website is about. A domain name should tell them who you are, what you do, and what kind of content they can find there. Above all, make it unique and memorable. A domain name should be simple and short. Avoid any complicated words or characters that would make it difficult to write or pronounce. You want people to remember your website address immediately and find it effortlessly.

Choosing the Right TLD Impacts Brand Perceptions

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You’re probably familiar with the fact that .com is the most popular TLD out there. It’s often seen as an indicator of your business’ trustworthiness and credibility. People are accustomed to it and they trust it. Research says that 75% of websites use it.

However, .com is far from being the only domain you could choose. For example, what would happen if your preferred domain name was taken? You could either modify your domain name or choose an alternative domain extension and the latter is simpler. The good thing is that Google ranks all domain extensions the same

Now, you could go with some generic options like .net or .co. Be careful, as many of them are perceived by your audiences as spammy. Another option is to choose a country-code domain name. These domains are perfect for local businesses, as they let them target local audiences. The only problem is that they limit your reach in the global search.

The exception is, of course, those ccTLDs that have gone global, such as .me. This is a ccTLD for Montenegro, but it has the same meaning in numerous languages. Brands like cook.me, incourage.me, see.me, mssg.me, etc. are an example of how to personalize your brand name and create a strong call-to-action using the .me TLD.

Boosting Brand Recall and Awareness

A while ago, the founder at Buffer, Joel Gascoigne, claimed in an article that a domain name doesn’t impact the branding process. To support this idea, he provided a list of popular companies that started out using domain names different from their company name. He mentioned Facebook that started as thefacebook.com and Dropbox, whose first domain was getdropbox.com. 

But, if a domain name doesn’t matter at all, why do both of these brands now have the same brand and domain name (facebook.com and dropbox.com)? Not to mention the famous 8-year long lawsuit Nissan filed against Uzzi Nissan, the owner of the nissan.com website. Why would this auto giant want the nissan.com domain if it doesn’t impact their brand perception?

Your domain name can impact your brand identity in multiple ways.

First, it makes you easier to find. We’ve already mentioned that above. For example, if a searcher hears about your brand and wants to find out more about you, they will google you. And, once they enter your brand name, your website will show up in the SERPs. This way, you will not only boost your reach and traffic, but also brand awareness.

Second, a domain name that is the same as your brand name contributes to greater brand consistency. Different domains and brand names may confuse your customers and impact their brand perception. Apart from choosing your brand name as your domain name, you should also check if social handles are available. In other words, you should know if someone is already using your desired name on social.

Finally, a domain name makes you authentic and creative. Forget about optimizing for keywords. Create a powerful and original domain name that will resonate with your audience. There are many naming tactics you should use:

  • Neologisms (new words) – Google, Yahoo, Kodak
  • Portmanteau words (combining sounds or letters of two words) – Pinterest
  • Adding prefixes and suffixes – Videofy
  • Misspelling words – Blu-ray
  • Syllabic abbreviations- FedEx (Federal Express), Airbnb (Air Beds&Breakfest)

The greatest benefit of such brand names and domain names is that they’re totally authentic. Therefore, people don’t link any concepts with these names and they can build an opinion of what this brand name might stand for. Google has even become a verb over time.

Now, as for branding, there are a few simple rules to follow. 

First, always check whether your desired name exists on Google. For example, if there is no combination of your desired name and TLD, you should also check whether someone is using an alternative TLD. Search for domain names that don’t exist on the web, as it will make it easier for you to stand out and boost people’s awareness of you. You can even buy similar domains to retain brand familiarity.

Second, pay attention to your domain name and check if it’s trademarked by someone else. That’s something you want to avoid, given that a trademark owner can sue you even if your domain name is chosen legitimately. That’s exactly what happened to the owner of Nissan.com. 

Conclusions

Choosing a domain name is crucial for your business. It will give you an opportunity to gain an edge on your competitors and shape a recognizable and trusted brand. And, I hope these tips and insights will serve as a solid starting point.

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