With Google now clearly the way to find businesses and services online, businesses are adjusting their methods to make sure they are being found when you are looking for anything they offer. Employing an seo company is a great way to get your business to the top of these searches, but another way that seems to give you a boost in the rankings is to have a keyword rich domain.
In the olden days! When people used to look through their local Yellow Pages, businesses would want to be the first business you called up. The options in yellow pages were a small text ad, a highlighted advert, larger banner style ads of various sizes up to full page adverts, or a cheap option was to just take a listing and your business would fall naturally based on its alphabetical name. Businesses quickly figured out the best way to get to the top was to have a business beginning with an “a” or a number. So “Al’s pest control ltd” would appear before “Pest Solutions ltd”, just like marketers today some people took this to the extreme, so often you would open your yellow pages and turn to pest control and the top listing would be “aaaaa pest control ltd” or if they were being slightly more creative “aadvark pest control services”.
Search engines as we all know don’t rank you based on alphabetical order, so once the internet gained popularity your aaaa business name no longer gave you an instant advantage. Over the years SEO has grown up too, you used to be able to get away with listing hundreds of towns on your site and stuffing your tags and images with towns and services, now these will quickly get your noted as spam and won’t help you at all. One technique that has worked for a good few years and continues to work (or help) despite Google insiting it is adjusting its bias, is having a keyword enriched domain. So, “pest control london” for example brings up this
Keyword Rich Domains Work. Now I’m not saying they haven’t done plenty of SEO work, but they seem to be doing pretty well. If you look at varations on “pest control london” if we look at domains that are variations on “pest control” then its nearly all of them. Now in the following video from Matt Cutts he says they are trying to give them less weight.
To be clear I’m not complaining that it helps businesses, its nice when a business is clear on what they do, and so on. What I am complaining about is the lack of great business names. Businesses are now being called “pest control in wherever ltd” “carpet cleaners in this town ltd”. Where are all the fun and punny names we love seeing in town. No longer will we get “Best Little Hair House” “Ali Barber” and “short chat and sides” we’ll have a highstreet of “hairdressers in surrey” and “barbers in london”. When we became a LTD company ourselves part of our consideration was having some keywords in the name in the end we only stuck with one, but it shouldn’t be like that. Years ago I worked in a bathroom store and we weren’t called “bathrooms in this town” we didn’t even have bathroom in our name, infact our name came from the road we were on and the type of tree on that street. Not only did this give us a great business name, it resonated with people that lived in that area and knew that street and saw our shop. If I was coming up with a new business or brand and settled on “getting your website to number one on google ltd” or something that boring it’s just disappointing more than anyway and yes it could be argued using my name is just as boring, but it gives a name and a brand to work with and build up. I guess the point of this article is to say that when forming a company name, don’t do it for the search engines, do it for a brand and reputation you want to build up. Don’t name your company after a search term, build up and your name and become the search term.
Update: 30th September 2012
Google has now added features to its algo to remove low quality exact match domains, it is now even more important than ever to have a good quality site with a solid reputation.