How to Choose a Domain Name

Brand Name vs. Search-Term Domain

One of the major decisions when initially creating a website is the domain name. The two general approaches are either a search-matched domain name or a brand-centric name. Search-matched domains have search related keywords in the name itself while brand-centric approaches typically use the company name as the domain name. We’ll discuss the benefits of each and help you decide the best approach.

Let’s create a pretend company named Delicate Creations that sells jewelry in Chicago. Let’s say we did some research and found that people searching the internet for this type of service typically use “Chicago jewelry”. We could choose to create a search-matching domain or use the company name and create a brand. Assuming we’re not limited to a domain choice for a local business, then combining a geographic location with a service or product works well. The address is sure to get noticed for that search phrase. In this example, since the domain name matches a target search, the website will see a bump to their search results. This is because there is relevance in the URL to the search. There any many such factors the search engines evaluate when returning search results and since this is only one component, the benefits may taper off long-term.

There may also be some negative effects of choosing a search-matching domain name. Savvy internet customers may see those names as an blatant attempt at advertising. In addition, if a customer wants to branch out to other products or services the domain name should still be relevant. Perhaps the biggest impact of a exact match domain is the inability to create a branding with your website address since your website address and company name have nothing in common.

The alternative is to work with a brand as the domain choice. This typically means using the company name as the domain name. Doing so creates a brand that customers can associate with and they can use again and again to find your webpage and your company. Some of the largest brand-names have nothing at all to do with their products. Names like Nike immediately make you think of sneakers, but the name itself isn’t associated with any product. In addition, a popular approach is to use keyword-friendly URLs on internal pages to keep relevant in searches. A URL like can both retain a brand name as well as cater to the search engines.

Using a brand specific name is likely what most businesses would rather do. Creating a brand image is very important in today’s long-term marketplace. However, often the benefits of choosing a matching domain are too obvious to ignore. More and more people find companies on the internet and the URL is not often the most scrutinized element. More times than not, however, the perfect domain name choice isn’t available. This can often limit your ability to choose a geography or keyword-rich domain name without having it be long or difficult to read. In the end, you want a domain name choice to suit your customers goals and needs.