How to Choose the Right Domain Name for Your Blog: Keywords vs Branding

By: Michael Martine

Michael has had and continues to have a huge impact on what we do here at Headway for SEO features.  You can find him on twitter at @remarkablogger and you can read his blog at Remarkablogger.

Should your blog’s domain name be a brand or your own name? Or should it contain search keywords? Grant and I get this question all time from our clients. The answer may surprise you.

People who are ignorant of search engine optimization (SEO) usually choose domain names that reflect the business brand in some way. For example, if you’re an attorney, you might instinctively go for yournameattorneyatlaw.com as a domain. If you do know about SEO, you might pick a domain that contains the words people are searching for related to your business. For example: vermontelderlaw.com.

This comes from the fact that in some cases, keyword-specific domains will outperform generic domains in search. And in the recent past it was a sound domain name strategy. However, things internet-related change quickly, especially with search. And not all SEO advice is appropriate for all manner of websites.

For example, if I had a single information product to sell, such as a training course on how to shave your parrot (now it’s time for the serious example, as you can see), I might want howtoshaveyourparrot.com as the domain. But if I were choosing the domain for a parrot shaving service business website, I would go for the brand name as domain. Hopefully the brand name reflects what the business is about in some way, so that Parrot Shavers the business can become parrotshavers.com the domain.

Are branded domain names less effective for SEO? The short answer is no, not usually. You understand there can’t be any universal statement on the matter. But at this time (and, more importantly, in the future) it looks as though strong brand domains get more traffic and do better in search than keyword domains. Here are several articles you can read that back up this notion:

You can expect this trend to grow stronger, not weaker. Google would love it if SEO were irrelevant. Google wants search results to be based on content accuracy and authority, not “tricks” like keyword spammy domain names.

What’s important is what you do before you pick the domain name. Choosing a business name and brand is critical to your success because so much depends on it for the long haul, including the domain name.

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3 Responses

  1. Thank you for this, but the links you use to back up your article are rather old. Though I’m sure they are still relevant today, it does kind of weaken the argument.

  2. This is so true. That was why after some research and deliberations, I decided to build a brand for my blog which focuses on working from home, using a local slang as the domain name. It gets much better recognition and brand name recalls by my readers in Singapore, which is the target market.

  3. Wow, good catch Grant, Normally SEOs prefer to use the keyword rich domain name as it may help them in Search Engine Rankings, but after the Exact Match Domain update back in 2012 the SEOs are getting aware of the consequences of using a Exact match domain because if there is a slight compromisation in the content of the website, the domain can suffer due to it or if there is a small percentage of spamming in link building present yet again your domain may get affected with that, so we have to keep check on the Content and Link building while choosing an exact match domain for our website.

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