It is getting harder and harder to find available business names in the .com, .net, .org TLDs so a lot of creativity has been taking place. In case you haven’t heard, there are new TLDs being released every day now.
With the arrival of a slew of new TLD’s, over 700 in fact, the opportunity arises once again to lock in some very favorable domain names. However, many of the old rules still apply and it is good to take a moment to refresh oneself on the proper use of domain names and URLs.
Yes, Google still factors in keywords in your domain name…and now that the opportunity for hundred more TLDs is here that algorithmic factor is once again worth considering.
Google has stated that they will begin using the new TLDs as a ranking factor. …WOW!
New TLD’s: With old TLD’s the search engines paid most of their attention to the words to the left of the extension (.com, .net, etc.). With the new TLD’s providing a whole new set of keyword combinations including the incorporation of the extension itself the strategy now has shifted to be inclusive of both. In other words, use the extension along with the domain name words to form a complete keywords phrase. Got it?
A few domains I recently picked up were: ParkCity.Pizza, ParkCity.Dentist, Tahoe.Dentist, EarthWell.Directory, and HolisticHealth.Clinic. Get the idea?
What this is about: This checklist covers various aspects of the domain and site URL structure, how they should be used and how to ensure proper site and browser functionality.
Why this is important, especially now: The domain name is part of the identity of your business. The domain name you select can have a significant impact on brand identity and in a lesser extent, keyword ranking performance. Along with this, how your domain name and page URLs are structured can have significant impact on the search engine positioning of the site as well as overall visitor and traffic performance.
Short and memorable: Keep primary domain name short and, if possible, something easy to remember.
Yes: WidgetFactory.com, Spa.Luxury , Food.Guru
Use Keywords: Use targeted keywords in your business name, and therefore domain name.
Yes: BatteryStuff.com, Vegas.Realtor, Financial.Expert
Domain name in email addresses: Don't use free email accounts for business, rather use your business domain name for all business communications.
Implement a Favicon: Make sure your favicon shows in the address bar (create one if you don’t have one....just Google it)
Yoursite.com redirect to www. version: Set a canonical URL and be sure the other version 301 redirects. Register your choice with Google Webmaster Tools and use it everywhere.
yoursite.com redirects to www.site.com or vice versa
Alternate Domain Forwards: Make sure all alternate domain names forward to the primary domain.
batteryfreaks.com redirects to batterystuff.com
Old domain to New domain: Be sure to 301 redirect any old pages to new pages whether on the same site or a new site. This is the first and most critical step to avoiding duplicate content penalties.
Home page redirects to root: Your Home Page should be accessible from the domain root only, not the page file name.
www.yoursite.com/index.html redirects to www.yoursite.com
No underscores in filenames: Don't use underscores in filenames, go with hyphens instead. Many moons ago the programmers at Google decided that an underscore would mean a “stop” sign and it has been that way ever since. They can’t read anything past the underscore.
Keywords in directory and file names: Use keywords in directory and file names wherever applicable.
Multiple pages per directory: Don't create directories for a single page but organize directories so multiple pages fit in a single directory.
No: honda-chargers/honda-chargers.html, yamaha-chargers/yamaha-chargers.html
Yes: chargers/honda.html, chargers/yamaha.html
Registered for 5+ years: Keep your domain name registered for 5-10 years at a time, rather than renewing year to year. Longevity with the same owner is a sign of “authority” and helps ranking.
Multiple versions: Purchase multiple versions of your domain name, including .com, .org, .net, .biz, hyphenations between words, common misspellings. Also purchase alternate domain names such as product names, brand names and any other keywords that might be typed in randomly. It may seem like a lot of hassle at first but it will offer a level of protection as you get started. Once your business is well established you might let a few of them go but still keep the ones with the most competitive potential.