Your domain name can contribute to your position in Google. A domain name can make or break a new online business. How do you get a good name?

Search Engines

Keywords are the words that you hope a visitor will search Google to find your website. Your domain name is one of several factors considered by Google when positioning your website on page one or page nine hundred in search results. Domain names containing keywords will rank higher if all other factors are equal. Here are some tips:

1) Keywords in a name

Create a name containing at least one keyword. Many keyword names may be already taken, but that should not deter an entrepreneur from being creative. If you are selling fruitcakes, but “” is already taken, then if you are in Albany “albanyfruitcakes” is a good name for you as it contains two key words.

Ideally, the domain name is created before an online business is started, so that business name and marketing identify with the domain name. If the business is already established at a street address, the ideal domain name may be different from the name of the street business. In that case the domain name can still be added to the signage of the business.

You get further benefits by listing a linked email address containing keywords, e.g. Keywords which are hyperlinks are viewed by search engines as even more important than plain keywords in the text.

Of course you can go to the technical maximum and have a domain name with sixty-seven characters full of keywords and hyphens. Google will love that. But then your visitors will forget how to spell the name and forget the hyphens. Here is what sixty-seven characters looks like:

The domain name needs to be easy to remember to give maximum benefit.

2) Beware of similar names

Avoid registering names that are similar to existing names. Lookup any whois site to check this. E.g., if the name you want is “” and that is taken, don`t take “” because you will be giving “” a free source of visitors who forget the “usa” part.

Try to be distinctive, e.g., names like “albanyfruitcakes” or “” will be more memorable. A qualifier at the beginning is usually remembered more than a qualifier at the end.

If there are plural and singular versions of a name, e.g. fruitcakes and fruitcake, it is wise to register both. You can be first with a name but may lose position to a larger corporation with a budget for thousands of web pages.

A name may exist without a website, but a whois lookup will show such names. These names may be for websites yet to be built, or they may be inactive and held for defensive purposes.

3) Same name different extensions

There are many extensions available, e.g. net, biz, us, info, org. If the .com version of your ideal name is taken, you can take another extension.

But for years we have been conditioned to think of the .com as the primary extension. If you choose another extension visitors may remember your name but not the extension. They will assume .com and go to your competitor.

Just be creative with a new distinctive .com name.

4) Country specific

If you want the country specific extension for your domain name, e.g. for Australia, then make sure you can also register the .com version for your website. Otherwise, there can be a leakage of visitors to a competing .com website.

5) Ego

Don`t let ego choose a domain name. In one example not only did the name contain no keywords, it was misleading. E.g., “” (not the real one) in the mind of the Lyn the owner stood for “Learn Your Notes” (also not the real one). Even that was only slightly related to the product. Ego made her choose an ineffective name.

Of course if you have a brand that everyone in the target market knows, then the brand is a key word. But don`t start from nothing with an unknown name that doesn`t contain at least one keyword.


A good domain name:
(a) contains keywords,
(b) is distinctive,
(c) is easy to remember, and
(d) is not easily confused with another registered name.

If you have started with an ineffective name, you can always create a new name. That wastes the time you spent with the old name, but in the long term a new name containing keywords will pay off. You can park it on the hosting of the old name so that both names open the same website.

This article was prompted by some outstanding examples of unimaginative names that crossed our registration desk and which would be totally irrelevant to Google searches.

Do you have a good name?

These articles were first published on and have been re-published on many other websites and ezines over the years. New readers are still finding them to be of value and up to date with today’s conditions. We believe they illustrate common sense and the value of thinking through situations. Please check out the other articles advising on small business, web design, search engine optimisation, web hosting and domain names.