Keywords in Domain Names: Competitiveness and Popularity

Keywords are important

There’s a lot of debate out there as to the effect of keywords in domain names, particularly around the idea of a ‘perfect’ keyword combination. Information is limited about exactly how the search engine crawlers or ‘robots’ rank keywords, other than that having your company name, a service/product and/or a location in there is beneficial.

Keyword phrases (as typed into search engines by business users) can be assessed by two key aspects (‘key’ meaning important to business websites!): Competitiveness, and popularity.

Competitiveness of keywords is measured by how many of your business competitors have used a particular keyword phrase in their site. Savvy businesses will use keyword phrases with low competitivities, as this will mean you’ll be in a smaller pool of businesses once you’ve been ranked using those keywords, leading to potentially higher listings and higher visibility, albeit for a select customer base.

Popularity means how often a keyword phrase is typed in by customers, so for example, ‘blue paint’ has higher popularity than ‘pale egg blue emulsion’, as it is more commonly searched for. Choosing popular keyword phrases is crucial, as you’re maximising your chances of search engines ‘matching’ the keywords in a customer’s search to your website. However, beware: Most popular keywords have very high competitiveness, as website users compete to fill their websites with these popular keywords.

One great way to compete with this is to use the popular or non-competitive keywords in your domain name, as this is one of the places the search engines scan for keywords first; many businesses are unaware of this and tend to have only their company name in their domain name.

Another way is to use a tool such as Google Adwords (as used by Yell Web Consultants when creating web copy) in order to find keyword phrases which are both low in competitiveness and high in popularity; these are rare, and therefore known as ‘keyword gems’. If you’re unable to find a keyword gem relating to your business, try combining a keyword with low competitiveness with a different keyword with high popularity in your domain name.