Quite often, businesses come to me that have a domain name that doesn’t represent their brand at all. I won’t give direct examples, but names along the lines of:
(I did make sure that these ones don’t exist before laying into them!)
The reason for this is usually an SEO company has advised that a domain consisting of keywords will get a better position when searching in Google. Not only do these kinds of domains look cheap and spammy, but they say nothing about the brand or the company other than we do this thing in this place. What is to stop a rival business from rearranging the same words for their domain?
Any company that has respect for its brand identity would (or should) have a domain that features the brand name, or something memorable and recognisable to represent it. Compare these branded domains with some keyword rich alternatives:
It’s interesting to note that these companies are amongst the strongest and fastest growing British brands. I’m not suggesting that an intuitive branded domain guarantees success, but having a bloated domain guarantees a poor perception of your image.
The Case For a Branded Domain
As a quick reference here’s five simple reasons why your domain name should be branded:
- 1 It’s more memorable
- 2 It presents a more credible image
- 3 It is more relevant / directly related to the brand
- 4 It allows for sub brands (e.g. virginholidays.co.uk, jcbworkwear.com)
- 5 It allows for expansion, doesn’t tie the company to one location / service
While there is a still some advantage in keyword laden domains, this video from Matt Cutts at Google and their recent update suggests the effect of keyword rich domains is dwindling. I expect in time the effect of keywords in domains on search will diminish further, leaving those companies with ugly, long, this-is-what-we-do-and-where-we-do-it type domains and no valuable search advantage.
Although the domain is just a small part of the overall plan, good branding demands consistency. If you have a passionate, interesting or unique business avoiding underselling your brand with an inferior domain name.