NOTE: This post assumes some basic knowledge of Search Engine Optimization. If you have had little exposure to this subject, please refer to this infographic while reading…
Picking out a URL may seem a simple task. A business called “Creative Coffee” might feel creativecoffee.com would be the correct domain name to purchase. While that is not wrong, there is a facet to domain choice that the average business owner may not know. That is, your domain name is the root to your rankings in search engines.
How Google Sees Your URL
Pretend you know nothing of the world except what you are able to read at the library. You can only assume the books that are on a shelf called “Creative Coffee” must be about coffee and creativity, and so you begin categorizing them as such. Google (and other search engines) act just the same. Their computers aren’t able to make calculated assumptions, and only know what they read. If you choose a URL that is comprised of initials, acronyms, or abbreviations, the search engine might not know how to categorize your website at first, or may mis-categorize it. Of course, the computer (or bot) will eventually read your website in full (which we will discuss in a future post) and thus gain better understanding of your business. Regardless, you’ve just lost out on a possible rank point, and everything adds up.
Modeling a URL Choice
Let’s use a fictional company for better understanding. Say you are the owner of a small business that specializes in hand woven wool socks called Cozy Feet. It might follow that your business should purchase the URL cozyfeet.com. Indeed, that URL will rank you well in searches for your business name. But perhaps a consumer that has never heard of Cozy Feet begins searching Google for “wool products”. Your domain name could have ranked your business for that search, too, had you chosen “cozyfeetwoolsocks.com” instead. Adding a keyword to your URL where appropriate can add strength to your website and your business’ overall web presence.
A Word of Caution
Before buying your domain, brainstorm some ideas to see what fits your company without adding a mouthful. Keep in mind that your URL should be memorable, since it is humans that actually use it (search engines only read it). A domain name that is too long is just as bad as one that comprises of three initials. There is a greater likelihood one will forget or misspell it, and search engines will receive too much input for categorizing. Once you have your list, check domain registries for availability – this process will narrow the list for you, and help make your ultimate decision.