Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Pick the Best Domain Name

We’ve written about our own 5 rules for picking a domain name in the past. The Search Engine Institute has come out with its own list of rules for choosing a domain name for your website. They overlap ours quite a bit, but also include some rules designed to help with your SEO.

  1. Make it easy to remember – that’s our #1 rule, too.
  2. Make it a .com domain. That’s our third rule, but for different reasons. We emphasize .com because most people will assume your domain is a .com and will type that into the address bar of their browser. The Search Engine Institute says .com names actually get better placement in the search engines. If the .com name you want isn’t available, the next best choice for SEO is .org, and then .net.
  3. Make it a keyword-rich domain name. Having your most important keyword in the domain gives you a boost in search engine rankings. (Google is working on minimizing that effect, though.)
  4. Make it easily understood. You want someone to be able to tell what you’re about just by seeing your domain name.
  5. Avoid Hyphens. First, people get confused about whether to use a hyphen or not, or where to place it. Second, the Search Engine Institute claims hyphenated domains don’t do as well in search engine rankings as domains without them.
  6. Avoid a .info domain. They have a reputation for being, on average, spammy websites.

Here’s more on the Search Engine Institute’s rationale for these rules.

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