The best brand name is one that conveys the type of service you offer and rings memorable in people’s minds, but name brands online serve a secondary purpose. Ideally, you’d like your name brand to be your domain name. When your brand name contains important keywords to your niche, they affect your website’s ability to rank for those terms. At one time, webmasters would just build external links using any desired anchor text they wanted and were able to rank for them. Post Google Penguin update, the rules have changed. When your brand name is the same as the anchor text you are building, those links are brand based, natural links.
Today, it’s not easy to find an available exact match domain to suit your brand. .com domains continue to become rarer and even the .net, .info and .biz variations of the keywords you want may be accounted for. But, you may have great success combining the keywords you want with another word. This additional word creates a partial match domain and part of your brand.
The domain selection begins with keywords. Your first step is to create a list to work with. When you enter your keywords into the Google Adwords Tool, you’ll pull up a list of keyword variations and their search volume. You’ll also see a bar indicating the level of competition. The highest competition keywords will be very difficult to win. You’ll want your domain to contain a keyword phrase with a large enough search volume (over 10,000/month) with medium to high competition. Your tier 2 and tier 3 pages will be comprised of low to medium competition keywords. But, if your domain starts out with a keyword phrase that doesn’t have a high enough search volume, you’ll be narrowing the results down too far. If your first search doesn’t give you enough keyword phrases to work with, try plugging in synonyms.
Armed with your keyword list, begin plugging one at a time into the domain search tool, making use of the filters that allow you to first search for .com results without hyphens or numerals. If no .com results come up, repeat the search for each keyword, first trying .net, then .info, .biz, .org, etc.
You may be presented with a number of different results, some affordable, some expensive and some without prices. If none of the results are affordable, that’s when you may want to search with your additional brand word.
Hopefully, you have several different domains to choose from after the above process. Now you want to solicit feedback. After all, if people don’t find your domain name catchy, it’s unlikely to make a good brand. Share your domain ideas with a wide variety of people, through social networks, etc. If the consensus on any particular domain is good, then it’s time to complete the purchase and get started on building your website.
Theresa Happe works with NameFind.com, a site that offers businesses a free tool for finding business domain names.