One of the most important things when you are setting up a website is choosing the domain name for the site. This is something that can take a lot of decision making as you will have to choose what will best fit the company. You will also need to choose how important SEO is to your business and whether or not your brand is more important.
There are two things you can do when you are choosing a domain; you can either opt for a keyword rich domain which will almost certainly help you a little with your SEO efforts, or you can choose a branded domain name for your business. Both of these have a lot of positives although you are only able to choose one. This is something that will require a lot of thought when launching your website.
Advantages of a branded domain
There are a lot of advantages of a branded domain name as of course, branding is something that is extremely important for any business. Think of the brands that are out there at the moment. If someone said the word Amazon to you, you would probably think of the book selling website rather than the rainforest. It is the same for Apple; you will probably think of the popular Smartphone and computer manufacturer. This shows just how much these brands are ingrained into people’s minds.
Here are some of the biggest advantages of a branded domain name:
Easy to remember: A branded domain name is usually easy to remember and it will represent your company. For example, Apple.com is the domain name for Apple which is extremely easy to remember. EBay is another example of this. Something short and memorable is usually the way to go with brand names.
It maintains consistency: Having a brand domain name will mean that everything for your company is kept more consistent. For example, your business cards will probably have your logo and brand name printed on them and having a domain name that also has your brand name in the title will look a lot better.
It looks more professional: Branded names always look a lot more professional as once you have built up a reputation for your brand, people will start to trust it and your name will get out there. This will of course mean that you will get more business from customers as people will trust you. Unless you build up a negative reputation for your brand of course.
Disadvantages of a branded domain name
As well as advantages, there are also a few big disadvantages to a branded domain and these usually occur in the SEO world. Here are a few of them:
It will be harder to rank for your keywords: Initially with a branded domain, it will be harder to rank for the keywords that you have in mind. This is because you won’t have the keywords in your domain name and this is a part of the Google algorithm when deciding which websites to rank first.
People may not trust the domain: When setting up a new brand, people will not have heard of the brand or company name for a while which means that it will be a bit tougher to start up. We recommend a branded domain name for any established companies out there.
Advantages of a keyword rich domain
Of course, your other option to a branded domain name is a keyword rich domain. This is basically a domain that will contain the keywords for which you want to rank for. This will mean that you are able to have a bit of an SEO advantage when compared to a branded domain. Here are some of the advantages:
Increased SEO: Having a keyword rich domain will mean that it is easier to rank for your keywords. Google takes into account the keywords in a domain name when ranking them so it will stand a greater chance of ranking for the desired keywords. An exact keyword match domain will often rank first for non competitive keywords without too much link building.
Great for affiliate marketing: Because they are easier to rank in a shorter period of time, keyword rich domains are great for affiliate marketing as they will allow you to rank for search terms that you need. Because you are actually selling a product that isn’t yours, branding will be much less important and therefore, keyword rich domains would be the best choice.
Disadvantages of a keyword rich domain
As with branded domains, there are a few disadvantages to keyword rich domains too and a few things that they should not be considered for. If you already have a powerful brand in the offline world, then you shouldn’t consider a keyword rich domain over a branded domain. Here are a few other disadvantages:
Not as trustworthy: Although keyword rich domains might be easier to rank higher for your desired keywords, they are not as trustworthy which has an impact on a couple of things. Often, visitors to the website will not purchase products, especially if the website looks unprofessional. Also, your click through rate might not be as high in the SERP’s as people will choose a well known brand name over a keyword rich domain usually.
Can appear spammy: Google and other search engines will be reducing their weight for keyword rich domains a little this year which puts branded domains in a better position. This is mainly because people often register exact keyword domains and use them for spammy sites and content. Branded sites are often more reliable and a better source of information. However, if you load the site with great content and a great design, this would not be a problem.
Which to choose?
So, which one should you choose then? Well, this isn’t a simple question and will more than likely depend on what you are trying to do with the domain. if you are looking to market affiliate products or make some quick money, we’d recommend a keyword rich domain. However, if you are looking to build up a highly respected brand that has a possibility of being big, we would recommend a branded domain.