Do I Need a Keyword in My Domain Name?
This is the age-old question whether you should have a "keyword rich" domain name, or whether you should just choose a domain that you like and that is brand worthy for your niche.
Which one should you choose and why? It is actually pretty critical that you understand this when choosing a domain name and I want to spend a few moments explaining the scenarios in which you might choose a keyword rich domain, and when you would choose a domain that is completely brandable.
The Case for a Brandable Domain
What is a brandable domain? A brandable domain is one that is central on a brand that you want to establish, in any niche and they are usually "distinctive" or "catchy" in nature. If you think about some of the most famous brands in the world, they feel like they have nothing to do with their business.
Amazon, is it about the Amazon? No, it is an e-commerce website.
Apple, does that sound like a computer/phone company, not even close?
Google, what does that even mean?
Facebook? Have you ever thought about the actual word "Facebook", or does it just fly off the tongue. It is a strange word, but it has become undoubtedly one of most famous brands in the world.
And there are scenarios like Wealthy Affiliate, where the domains brandable and not focused on keyword, rather it is focused on a particular brand (but it is entirely relevant).
When we started Wealthy Affiliate, we didn't put days into selecting a domain. We choose a domain that we felt was relevant and that where we liked the brand. Through time, the brand has established and now Wealthy Affiliate has become synonymous with affiliate marketing.
In some cases, you could in theory have the best of both worlds. You could have a domain that is completely brandable, and that is keyword rich.
An example of this would be golfballs.com, which targets the keyword "golf balls". Although they likely started off promoting just golf balls, they have evolved and now promote everything related to golf and that is the reality as to how a brandable domain can grow.
Now let's'ts move onto keyword rich domains.
The Case for a Keyword Rich Domain
A keyword rich, or exact match domain, is a domain that contains specific keywords. An example of this would be footballsnackhelmets.com, a website that was built by Jay (magistudios) here at WA within a Live Class back in 2015 as a case study.
The domain had the intention of targeting and ranking under the keyword, "football snack helmets".
To this day, this domain is still ranking #1 in Google, Bing and Yahoo under the term "football snack helmets". Here is an example of the Google search results.
This website over time has sold a lot of snack helmets, something that is definitely a popular item during the NFL football season. I even bought one!
The reality is that this domain was purchased with the primary purpose of rankings under the term "football snack helmets" and related terms (ex. New England patriots snack helmets). There are literally billions of keywords that you could leverage with this exact match domain approach and building out mini niche websites, so I would never discount the opportunity. But it has a time and a place.
It would be difficult to diversify with this domain, perhaps you could
Which Domain Should I Choose
If you are looking to create a long term and sustainable brand, I recommend that you create a brandable domain. If available, domains without dashes "-" within them are ideal, and ideally you will get a .com domain (they tend to rank the best and are the most memorable).
When you select a domain name, you want to consider a brand that you are going to be happy with as you build out your business. You ideally don't want to be swapping domains beyond the 1st month mark of a website, and what often times what you find is that your domain that you choose grows into your brand.
If you are planning on building a "mini niche website" then you can tackle exact match domains with longer tailed keywords. They can lead to better rankings under the domain keyword, but they are often times very difficult to brand.
If you are looking to purchase a domain, you can pick up your domains directly through the SiteDomains platform here, within the Websites tab. You can have a website up and running in minutes here, with our automated DNS and seamless integration into the websites platform.
So there you have it. The difference between choosing a domain that is keyword rich, a domain that is completely brandable, or a hybrid of the two.
What sort of domains do you own, and what is your experience with either keyword rich or brandable domains? Also, if you have any questions about domains and how to choose your particular domain, let us know.