Domain Naming Conventions & SEO

Domain Name Registration

Domain Naming ConventionsDomain Naming – is it important? A resounding “Yes!” – the selected domain name registered is a very important element in the overall scheme of things, for a variety of reasons.

Some of the important peripheral aspects are also are outlined in this article, such as domain’s geographic localisation inferences and web server hosting location etc.

A rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet… but in the World of the Wide Web, picking the the wrong name stinks! ๐Ÿ™‚

Domain Naming

The search engines assign some relevance/importance to the words used within the domain name. You can see some evidence of this in Google’s search results, where any words in your search term that exist in the URL are highlighted.

When starting a new site, it is important to maximise whatever advantage the name might give you! I can’t say for certain just how important it is, but as sure as God made little apples, every little element that you have working in your favour can only be regarded as “a good thing” ๐Ÿ˜‰

There are limits… not only to the total length of the URL, but in terms of what might be acceptable, and the only thing the SEO experts are consistent on is all having a different opinion! ๐Ÿ™‚

However, here are a few thoughts;

  • From a total length perspective, there is a limit to what people are prepared to type in…
  • keyword spamming would not be a smart idea here as in any other area…
  • Some suggest separating all words with hyphens, others say use only one hyphen at maximum
  • I’d say two to three primary keywords is enough – any more and it becomes difficult to enter accurately.

Dot.Com or Country-specific

The choice of domain type does have an effect on the way the search engines categorise the site. If you are a New Zealand or Australian business selling to a lot of USA or UK clients i.e. if its a global deal, then a Dot.Com URL is arguably a better option. Not least of this is that its easier to get it listed in some international directories.

However, if you are marketing a specific NZ/AU product/service in the domestic markets of New Zealand/Australia, then a .CO.NZ or .COM.AU is the best choice.

With the increasing trend of search engines towards “Local” content, explicit in the Google.Co.NZ, Google.Com.AU and Google.Co.UK, it will become more and more difficult for a non-country-specific site to dominate within a specific country. To put that in context, a Dot.Com site will struggle to out-rank a .Co.NZ site in Google.Co.NZ…

Google, Yahoo, MSN, Alta Vista, Lycos etc are all expanding their country-specific indexes. These do (kind of) get incorporated into the main index in the parent Dot.Com site, but you would need to be more specific in your search for a country-specific product.

E.g. if you were on Google.com, and search for “mats” the results would be different to carrying out the same search on Google.Co.NZ (having specified NZ sites only).

However, if you searched on Google.Com for “mats new zealand” the result might well include sites which ranked highly on the Google.Co.NZ search.

Multiple Domain Names

You CAN have the two or more URL’s pointed at the same site… but I would not advise any attempt to actively promote more than one domain with the same content! There is a danger that the SE’s could could punish you for attempting to get duplicate content indexed, which is a forbidden practice.

However, it is completely legitimate and common practice to point multiple URLS at the same IP address;

  • To prevent competitors pinching your domain name/s on .com, .biz, .info etc etc.
  • To prevent confusion e.g. the client types the “wrong” URL, but still finds you – e.g. a miss-spelled version.
  • Having a longer keyword-rich URL to maximise Search Engine ranking gains, and a shorter (easier) one for people to type in to get to the site.

You could easily a Dot.Com URL for advertising purposes, letterhead, business cards etc, and even use it as Google Adwords “display URL” but be careful to only use the primary (.Co.NZ) URL for all search engine promotions, link building, search engine and directory submissions.