I don’t need a great domain name, people find you with a search engine. How is that working out for you? Search engine optimization is one of the most cutthroat practices in the online marketing industry. Most would agree that there are unethical spammers and black-hat experts that get results (until Google blocks you and you lose everything) or white-hat good guys that do everything as Google instructs and get no results (but you have to pay them anyway). And even if you don’t agree with that statement and you do get traffic from search engines, it will probably be well below 70 percent of your traffic. If it’s a new website with limited content, then the traffic you will get from search engines will be close to zero. If you are a small business owner with some visibility, it will probably be around 30 percent. If you are a SAAS company that invests heavily in inbound marketing, it will probably reach between 40–70 percent. Not to mention that there were at least three studies from three different companies that showed people would rather click on a domain name they either recognize (brand) or that has the keywords they are looking for (Exact Match Domains).
Case study : How Generic Domain Names Impact a SEM Campaign
This proves that even on search engine results (paid or organic) people look at your domain name when they decide where to click! Not only that, but one case study proves that: “Internet search users are almost twice as likely to click on a domain name where the second level includes at least one of the keywords in their search query, compared to a domain name that does not include any of the keywords in their search query.” Besides, SEO has evolved so much that when you invest in SEO, you are bound to get traffic from other sources as well. For example, you have to have a strong social media presence (lots of likes and shares) if you want to improve your search engine ranking. Well, by pure logic, you will get traffic from social media directly if you have strong presence there. Once you span to those other sources, your domain name plays an important role.
Alternate sources of traffic to search engine optimization:
1. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Quora, Disqus, Stack Overflow, Vkontakte, Reddit, Google+, Hacker News, SlideShare, Pinterest)
2. Direct (word of mouth, presentations, other offline sources)
3. Referral (forums, partner websites, directories, other websites)
4. Email (autoresponders, newsletters, direct email)
Email is often looked at as a direct source of traffic, but I separated it because it is especially important regarding your domain name. Let me give you an example. If someone is sending you an offer from firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, which one do you think has more chances of being opened? Which one do you think is less likely to be considered as spam and blocked? What if someone applied for a bank loan with access to email address firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com? Do you think his credit score might be higher?
Domains are an important asset in digital marketing, and even more important in the offline world where people access your website directly by typing in the domain name. When you are using or telling someone your email or domain name:
1. over the phone
2. on car/truck stickers
3. on billboards
4.on business cards
5. for TV/radio ads
your domain name becomes a key component of your brand.
Some of you may be saying, all the good COM domains are already taken. Look harder, there are tools that can help you. Pay more for a premium domain, or you can get one of the new TLDs! If you are an agency, why not temping.agency? If you are a media company, why not liquid.media? You may even get a better position for your most important keyword, you just have to look for it on the other side of the dot.
Get advantage on the other side of the dot!
- If you want to get your keyword in the domain name, but you can’t find the right .com, use one of the new gTLDs.
- If your client is an in- vestment fund, recommend .fund, .ventures or .money.
- If your client is a photographer or shooting video, recommend .photograper, .photo or .camera.
- If your client has a large community or owns any type of a club, go for .club!
Some keywords in new extensions like “club” are pronounced the same in different languages. Major markets (apart from the English) like German, Spanish, Italian, French and many others, all understand club. This becomes your benefit if you are targeting a global audience, and don’t want to limit yourself to a country code extension, but can’t find the available .com or it’s too expensive.
Have in mind that the keyword after the dot also impacts your position on search engines. Night.club will be a strong competitor to nighclub.com in the algorithms of the search engine. I am not saying other factors don’t play a role, they do. But I recommend taking this advantage of the new extension keywords over a lesser .com domain name. If you end up doing this, try to make the extension after the dot a natural transition after the keyword before the dot. Go for beach.club, not beach.ventures. The two keywords combined need to make sense.
Find more tips like this in our free white paper “Domain Disclosure: Dirty Dozen“.