engines are powerful avenues for capturing traffic to your website.
For many web-based businesses, search engines represent the most
important channel for generating new visitors to their sites. Attaining
a solid position in search engines is a very complex task that requires
both up front planning and on-going analysis and change. Choosing
your domain name can have an impact on your placement in search
engines, so choose your domain name with search engine optimization
in mind. This article provides some high-level tips for picking
a domain name that will give you an edge in search engine placement.
This article focuses on alignment of your domain name with good
search engine results and not choosing a domain name from a marketing
and branding perspective. It is important to balance the needs of
both before you commit to a domain name.
Phrases are Key
engine results are driven by what visitors to a search engine type
in as their search phrase. Before you complete the design of your
website and choose the domain name, analyze which key words and
phrases you want to focus on. The more targeted your key phrases,
the more targeted your traffic will be. A good resource to consider
which key phrases may work for your site is Overture's search term
suggestion tool. Overture tracks search terms and related search
terms. The search term suggestion tool can be found at the following
example, if you type in the word "travel", you will receive
the number of times people searched on the word "travel"
in the prior month and a list of 50 related search terms sorted
by the number of times the word was searched on. For example, a
search on "travel" will also return phrases such as "travel
to Mexico", "international travel", and "AAA
travel". Once you choose which key phrases best represent what
your site has to offer and what target audience are hoping to receive
traffic from, you can design your site and choose a domain name
that will best help position your site in search engines in the
future. Using the travel example, if your website provides travel
services to Mexico, you may choose "travel to Mexico"
as your primary key phrase.
Engines vs. Directories
important point to remember is that search engines and directories
are two separate animals. Search engines use automated programs
called "bots" to scan or "spider" your site
for search terms and then establish a position for specific search
phrases. Different search engines use different searching algorithms
based on word density, location, and other page-related factors.
If you create a website, the major search engines will eventually
crawl your site and position it in their search results. An example
of a search engine is Google. Directories, on the other hand, are
organized lists of links to web sites. If you create a website,
you will not automatically be listed in a directory. In order to
be listed, you must submit your site to an editor, who then determines
whether your site belongs in the directory all together and if so,
which categories your website will be belong to. Your domain name
has different influences on search engines and directory placement.
your site into directories such as Yahoo or the Open Directory Project
(ODP) requires a submission to an editor who will decide if your
site is worth retaining in the directory. Many factors contribute
to the success of getting into a directory. The content richness
of your site is probably the most important criteria when a directory
editor reviews your site while the domain name itself has relatively
little impact on the editor's analysis. However, one key domain
name consideration is the alignment of your domain name to your
site's title and the rest of the content in the site. An editor
will likely reject your site if your domain name is misleading to
the casual surfer. For example, let's assume you intent to launch
a website which offer travel services to Mexico. If the title of
your site is "Travel to Mexico in Style" and your domain
name is "johnsmith.com" a directory editor may not choose
to list your site. Or if they do, they list your site as "johnsmith.com"
which will not help identify what your site offers.
usually list sites in alphabetical order. So choosing a domain name
that starts with the letter "A" will give you better placement.
Also, placing a character such as and exclamation point "!"
at the beginning will be listed before the "A"'s. However,
if you use an exclamation point in the beginning of your name, it
will look fairly strange to surfers. Using a letter at the beginning
of the alphabet as the first letter in the name is the best approach
to getting a solid position in directories.