Article: Bob Osgoodby


The Small Business Library

February 13, 2001

Choose The Right Domain Name

The very first step in your web site marketing plan, is to choose a great URL/domain name. In selecting and registering a URL (Uniform Resources Locator) for your web site marketing plan, you must consider the following two things:
  1. Alphabetical Hierarchy

    To have a good web site marketing plan, you must realize alphabetical priority of domain names is still used by some search engines as a key factor in their ranking formula. Alphabetical hierarchy is even more important to web site marketing, because this method is used by directories, which strictly list sites in alphabetical order based on the results of the keyword(s) search.

    The top directories are:
    Yahoo!, LookSmart, Open Directory Project (ODP), NBCi (Snap), AOL, and Ask Jeeves.

    Your web site marketing plan must acknowledge Yahoo!. Yahoo! is the number one directory and search site with 52.7 million different visitors each month, accounting for 69.1 percent of all Internet surfers. An astounding 53.4 percent of all search-related traffic comes from Yahoo!, or as much as half the traffic received to many sites. Many prefer to use Yahoo! because each site submitted to Yahoo! is human-reviewed, delivering more accurate search results for their visitors.

    To include alphabetical hierarchy in your web site marketing strategy, realize that alphabetical priority does not only consist of letters, it includes numbers that can rank higher than an "A".

    This is the order:
    - 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    This means that the domain "www.1-800-ABC-NEWS.com" will rank higher with the search sites that use alphabetical priority in their ranking formula, than just "www.ABC-NEWS.com"

  2. Keywords in your URL

    Search engines are now beginning to use keywords in the domain name as a part of their ranking formula. One of the search engines that uses it is Google. Yahoo! uses Google as a provider of non-directory search results. Inktomi also uses keywords in the domain name as a factor in their ranking formula. And it appears that more search engines are starting to use this strategy to achieve better search results for their visitors.

    Unless you were one of the lucky ones who registered your domain 5 years ago, you may have to be creative to include your most important keywords in your URL. Here's how to do it:

    The most effective way to include your most important keywords is to separate each word with a hyphen. There are two benefits of having a hyphen(s) in your URL. The first, is that you have a much better chance that a suitable domain name, (including your most important keywords), will be available. You can also try several different combinations using hyphens.

    For example, if "www.WebSiteMarketing.com" is not available, try
        "www.Web-Site-Marketing.com"... or
        "www.4-Web-Site-Marketing"... or
        "www.800-Web-Site-Marketing.com"...
    I think you get my drift.

    The second benefit of using a hyphen in your URL, is that it separates each keyword. The search engines which use keywords in the domain name as a part of their ranking formula will not be able to recognize keywords unless they are separated by a hyphen (or a slash or underscore for sub-directories). Search Engines prefer the use of hyphens in domain names because they can produce more accurate search results by being able to recognize specified key words in your URL.

    Though consumers are not used to entering hyphens in URL names, with approximately 15,000 new sites added to the internet daily, they soon will be! As a matter fact, in the near future there will be more sites with hyphens - than without. Soon, people will be accustomed to using hyphens when entering a URL. But more importantly, the use of hyphens gives you a better chance of achieving higher placement with the search engines by separating the keywords in your domain name.

    The two key factors: "alphabetical hierarchy" and "keywords in your domain name" should influence your decision when choosing a URL, they are important considerations in launching a successful web site marketing plan.

    To check the availability of domain names, visit our BetterWhois domain search.

    It doesn't just end here, as there are many more factors that determine your web site marketing success, but that will be the subject of a future article.

    Bob publishes the free weekly "Your Business" Newsletter. Visit his Web Site at http://adv-marketing.com/business to subscribe. As a bonus, get 40,000 FREE E-Books from Larry Dotson, when you visit http://www.ldpublishing.com