If you’d rather read, here is a transcript of the above video.
If you’re starting a new company, you know that it’s critical that you ramp up your exposure to potential customers as quickly as you can so that you can get a positive cash flow going as soon as possible. I’m going to share with you an inexpensive way to accomplish this, and in fact it’s an absolutely vital component of early-stage marketing for new businesses nowadays. Money is short as you launch your business–but choosing a search-engine-friendly domain name will pay dividends for the lifetime of your business. Neglect to do so and you will be needlessly making life harder for you to get a leg up on your competition.
Let me ask you a question: when was the last time you use the Yellow Pages or some other physical directory to find a product, service or business for which you had a need?
I’m guessing it was quite a while ago.
Everyone, not just tech-savvy young people, use search engines and social media nowadays to find what they need.
No matter how good you are at what you do, your business you will not be found if you don’t know how to ensure that your company website is ahead of your competition in search engines like Google.
Social media like Facebook and Twitter, as well as video are important sources of potential customers, and they should be part of your larger marketing strategy, but in this video I’m going to tell you the very first thing you must do to help yourself establish a strong online presence if you don’t yet have a business website. I’m talking about picking a domain name that helps your placement in search engines.
Pay attention, because if you do this correctly you can leapfrog right ahead of your competition in the search engine results pages for terms for which you need your business to rank well, even if your competitors’ sites have been online for years. Make no mistake, you can affect your placement in search engines, and the fact is that Google and the others want you to clearly convey your website’s message so that they can accord it the authority it deserves for the business in which you are engaged. That is the principal behind the method I’m about to show you, a method I’ve used many times to get my own websites ranked very well, which in turn translates directly into visitors and conversions.
Let’s say you own or are about to launch a plumbing business in Seattle. Imagine your ideal customer, most likely someone who is within a few miles of you, with a plumbing emergency. What does he type into Google to get his problem fixed? He might type in “Seattle plumber” or “plumber in Seattle”. If he is near you in the Seattle suburb of Fremont, let’s say, he might type in “Fremont plumber” or “Fremont Seattle plumber”.
Why do you care what he’s typing into Google? Here’s why. One of the main criteria–out of more than 200!–that Google uses in their algorithm to determine where to place a website in its search engine results pages for a given search term, is the domain name of that website*. A domain name that exactly matches a search term is given heavy weight in the algorithm. It does not mean that yourgreatsite.com will get automatic #1 placement when someone types in ‘your great site’. You will get a boost though, so you must think carefully about what domain name to register to house your business’s Internet presence, to get as much leverage as you can from your domain name. You must think about the keywords potential customers are typing in…
Per our example, and keeping the Google algorithm in mind, just as you are not interested in being found in the search engine results for the term ‘plumbers in California’, you are interested indeed in placing as high as you can when someone types in the Seattle-plumber-related terms I mentioned above. Obviously for small businesses catering mostly to local customers proximity is key, to customers who are searching, as reflected by what they type in when they search. Google knows this, so you want to be very clear in telling potential customers (and Google) where you are located by having your address prominently displayed on your website, and further, having your city, town or suburb right in the URL.
If your business is limited to your neighborhood, Fremont in this case, ranking well for ‘Seattle plumber’ is probably of less value to you then ‘Fremont plumber’ or ‘Fremont Seattle plumber’. Having the word ‘Seattle’ in your URL might still make sense, especially if you serve much of Seattle, but you get the idea. Being clear and specific in your domain name, about both your location and your business for that matter, even if it is relatively obscure or limited, is what you want the world to know. The good news is that ranking well for more specific ‘long tail’ terms will be much easier than ranking for the broader ‘Seattle plumber’. Also those terms are more like likely to be available as dot-com domains than ‘Seattle plumber’.
You will want to apply this principle to much more than location. Does your business cater to commercial or residential plumbing? If you trim trees do you also do hauling? Do you counsel alcoholics or people with a wider range of problems? You must weigh your preferred choice against how difficult it will be to rank well for it (i.e. near the top of page one of the search results) as well as the question of whether it’s available as a dot-com (though dot-net and dot-org domains probably have as much authority by default as dot-coms in the eyes of search engines, all else being equal, people are unlikely to remember that your business domain isn’t a dot-com, so for businesses I advise purchasing only dot-coms).
Choosing the best domain name for your business can be very simple, as in our plumbing example, but things can get complicated. If your business isn’t easily summed up in a word or two or if there are several suitable descriptive words you can use, how do you determine which term will result in the most, and most relevant, traffic? How do you gauge how much competition you’ll have in the search results page for terms for which you aim to rank well?
Luckily there are many tools one can use to answer these questions. I use these tools every day, but it would take me longer to educate you on how to use them than it would to research it myself and present you with a shortlist of available, keyword-rich dot-com domain names that I’d recommend for your particular business. In the form below leave your first name and an email where I can reach you and we’ll set up a brief, no-strings consultation. I will call with a few questions about your business and you’ll proceed knowing that you didn’t miss out on using the power of a well-chosen domain name to rank well in search engines. Thanks for visiting Catchy Business Names, best of luck with your new business.
*It is more correct to say that the placement of a given web page is greatly affected by its URL, including the portion that comes after the forward slash after the root domain name, but for this example concerning a relatively small website I’ll talk simply about the domain name itself.