As digital marketing professionals with hands-on experience, we at MARK&TING understand the intricacies of setting up a successful online presence. One key aspect that is often overlooked by new businesses is the importance of their company name as it relates to their website domain and SEO.
Why is this step so important?
We’ve seen countless instances where a well-thought-out business name, combined with a strategic domain and SEO, has led businesses towards a trajectory of long-term success. A company’s name, its website domain, and SEO are all interconnected, forming a trinity that can significantly impact a business’s online visibility and reputation.
Another critical factor to consider is your email domain. Relying on generic email providers like Gmail or Hotmail might be tempting due to their convenience and cost-effectiveness, but using a domain with your company name adds a layer of professionalism that absolutely enhances your brand’s image. A custom email domain provides credibility, showcases your company’s name every time an email is sent, and reaffirms your brand identity.
Start by Choosing a Company Name
Firstly, the importance of choosing the right business name cannot be overstated. It’s more than just a label—it’s a powerful tool that encapsulates your business’s identity, values, and offerings. It’s crucial to choose a name that not only represents your business accurately but is also unique and memorable. This uniqueness helps your brand stand out, and memorability ensures it sticks in your customers’ minds.
Additionally, the business world is dynamic, and your company name should be able to evolve with your business. Hence, it’s advised to avoid names that are too narrow or literal. Overly descriptive names can limit your business’s growth and diversification in the future.
Creating a memorable company name is part art, part science. Here are some strategies you can use:
- Simplicity: A simple, straightforward name is easier to remember. Avoid long, complicated words that may be difficult to pronounce or spell. For instance, “Nike” is short, simple, and yet very impactful.
- Use of Imagery: Names that evoke images or emotions tend to be more memorable. Including elements like animals or colors in your business name can make it stand out. For example, “Red Bull” is a well-known brand that combines color and animal in its name.
- Alliteration and Rhyme: Names with alliteration (the repetition of initial consonant sounds) or rhyme can be catchy and thus easier to recall. Consider brands like “Coca-Cola” or “Lululemon”.
- Tell a Story: A name that tells a story or hints at the brand’s history or mission can be compelling and memorable. “Amazon”, for instance, was named after the largest river in the world, reflecting the company’s ambition to be the largest retailer globally..
- Test It Out: Once you have a few potential names, test them out. Say them out loud, write them down, and share them with others. Get feedback on whether they’re easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. Online platforms like SurveyMonkey or social media polls can be great for gathering a larger sample of opinions.
Out of ideas? Have no fear, A.I is here. Visit https://businessnamegenerator.com/ or https://namelix.com/ and find some great ideas for the business based on the keyword and the industry you are in. At the same time, use these free tools to check if the domain name is even available. If it’s not, keep searching.
Importance of Competitor Research
So now you should have a few good options. Before finally deciding on your business name and domain, it’s vital to conduct thorough competitor research.
Avoiding Similarities: One reason is to ensure your chosen name isn’t too similar to existing competitors. If there are many businesses in your field with similar names, it can make it more challenging for your brand to stand out and rank in search engine results.
Preventing Unwanted Associations: Additionally, you want to avoid any potential negative associations. If a competitor with a similar name has a less than stellar reputation, there’s a risk that prospective customers might confuse the two and your brand could inadvertently suffer.
Understanding Your Niche: Finally, understanding your competitors can help you identify gaps in the market and position your business more effectively. Analyzing their names and domains could inspire you to create something distinctive that resonates with your target audience and conveys your unique selling proposition.
The Relationship Between Company Name and Website Domain
Now that we’ve emphasized the importance of a good company name, let’s explore its relationship with your website domain.
A website domain is essentially your business’s address on the internet. It’s where customers find you, learn about your offerings, and interact with your brand. Having a domain name that closely matches or is identical to your company name is beneficial for brand coherence and customer recall7.
Exact Match Domains (EMDs), i.e., domains that match your business name or main service exactly, can be beneficial for recognition and branding, but they come with their own set of challenges. For instance, a desired EMD might already be taken or it might be way too expensive to acquire, requiring you to consider other alternatives.
However, it’s worth noting that while keywords in a domain can provide a slight SEO advantage, they don’t guarantee high rankings. Google’s algorithms have evolved to prioritize high-quality content and a positive user experience over keyword-rich domains. Therefore, it’s important to strike a balance between creating a domain name that represents your brand and one that includes relevant keywords.
Best Practices for Domain Names
A well-considered domain name can make your website easily identifiable, improve user experience, and contribute positively to your SEO efforts as we will discuss later in this article.
Here are some best practices you should keep in mind when choosing your domain name:
- Keep it Short and Simple: Shorter domain names are typically easier to remember and less prone to user input errors. Try to keep your domain name under 15 characters if possible.
- Avoid Hyphens and Underscores: Hyphens and underscores can often lead to confusion and are best avoided. They can also give an impression of spamminess, which can hurt your brand’s credibility.
It’s also important to avoid the use of special characters in your domain name. These are symbols that aren’t readily accessible on the standard smartphone keyboard layout and require users to switch to a secondary keyboard interface to type them in. Examples include characters such as the ampersand (&), percent symbol (%), dollar sign ($), and others.
- Easy to Spell and Pronounce: Your domain name should be easy to spell and pronounce. This ensures that if someone hears about your site, they can easily find it online without any confusion.
- Make it Relevant: Your domain name should be related to your business in some way, either by including your company name or keywords related to your industry or offering.
Managing Multi-location Websites
If your business operates in multiple locations, it’s essential to structure your website in a way that caters to different regional needs while optimizing for SEO. Here are a few strategies:
- Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs): Using a ccTLD (like .au for Australia) can signal to search engines and users that the content is specifically relevant to that country. For instance, “companyname.au” can be an effective approach if your business primarily targets Australian customers.
- Subdomains or Subdirectories with gTLDs: Alternatively, you can use a generic top-level domain (gTLD) like .com and then differentiate the regional content through subdomains (like “au.companyname.com”) or subdirectories (like “companyname.com/au/”). Subdomains are treated as separate entities by search engines, while subdirectories are part of the same domain, which might impact how the SEO value is distributed.
- Separate Websites: If your business has a significant presence in multiple countries and offers products or services that vary considerably by region, it might be worth creating entirely separate websites for each location, like “companyname-AU.com”.
Each of these strategies has its pros and cons and should be chosen based on your business’s unique needs and circumstances.
Practical Steps in Integrating Company Name, Website Domain, and SEO
Understanding the theory is important, but the real value lies in its practical application. Here, we share some best practices and guidelines that we’ve learned through our years of experience in digital marketing:
- Conduct keyword research for your industry: Use SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner (free tool) or SEMrush (paid) to identify relevant keywords in your industry. This can inform your decision when creating a company name or domain that is both brand-focused and SEO-friendly.
- Incorporate keywords into your company name and domain, but don’t force it: If it makes sense and doesn’t compromise your brand, include a keyword in your company name or domain. However, always remember that your brand identity comes first.
- Decide between a branded domain vs. keyword-rich domain: Both have their pros and cons. Branded domains are great for building a unique identity, while keyword-rich domains might give you an initial boost in search engine rankings. The decision depends on your long-term business goals.
In our experience, businesses that successfully align their company name, website domain, and SEO often thrive in the digital landscape. Let’s look at some real-world examples:
- Dropbox.com: The file hosting service Dropbox originally started at the domain “getdropbox.com”. However, as their brand grew, they understood the need for a more concise domain name and eventually acquired “dropbox.com”. This change not only simplified their brand identity but also likely improved their SEO by reducing keyword dilution.
- Cars.com: Cars.com is an example of an exact match domain (EMD) that has been highly successful. The simplicity of the domain name, combined with its relevance to the service offered, contributes significantly to the website’s SEO and user experience.
These case studies underline the importance of a well-chosen company name and domain, and how they can complement SEO efforts.
To sum up
In the digital age, choosing a business name is about more than just creativity and branding—it also has significant implications for your website domain and SEO. Balancing all these elements can be a complex process, but investing the time and thought from the start will undoubtedly reap benefits in the long run.
A strategic company name can set the foundation for your brand’s identity. An appropriate domain name that aligns with your business name can improve your online visibility, while effective SEO can drive more traffic to your website and increase conversion rates.
As we’ve seen from the case studies, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to integrating company name, website domain, and SEO. Each business will need to carve out a unique path that aligns with its goals, target audience, and market trends.
Let us help you get started
If you’re starting a new business or considering a rebrand, we encourage you to consider the points discussed in this article. At MARK&TING, we understand the challenges businesses face when building an online presence. Our team of digital marketing experts can provide personalized assistance with company naming, website domain selection, and SEO strategies.
Feel free to contact us for a consultation. We’re here to help you navigate the complexities of digital marketing, allowing you to focus on what you do best—running your business.
- Google Search Central, Manage multi-regional and multilingual sites, https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/crawling/managing-multi-regional-sites
- Search Engine Journal, Subdomains vs. Subdirectories, https://www.searchenginejournal.com/subdomains-vs-subfolders-seo/239795/
- Entrepreneur, Naming a Business, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/21774
- Techopedia, Domain Name, https://www.techopedia.com/definition/101/domain-name
- Moz, Exact Match Domains, https://moz.com/blog/the-exact-match-domain-playbook-a-guide-and-best-practices-for-emds
- Moz, What is SEO?, https://moz.com/learn/seo/what-is-seo
- Search Engine Journal, SEO Friendly Site Structure, https://www.searchenginejournal.com/website-structure-affects-seo/186553/
- Moz, Are Exact-Match Domains (EMDs) in Decline? https://moz.com/blog/are-exact-match-domains-in-decline
Why is choosing a memorable company name important?
A memorable company name is crucial as it represents your business’s identity, values, and offerings. It helps your brand stand out and ensures it sticks in your customers’ minds. It should also be able to evolve with your business.
How does the company name influence SEO?
A well-chosen company name can significantly influence SEO by being a source of keywords that people may use in their search queries. This can enhance your visibility on search engines.
What are the benefits of using a company named domain vs using Gmail or Hotmail?
A domain that includes your company name appears more professional and credible compared to generic email providers like Gmail or Hotmail. It can also contribute to brand consistency and recognition.
What is the relationship between company name and website domain?
Your company name and website domain should ideally be consistent to ensure brand continuity and memorability. It aids in boosting your SEO and improving your online presence.
What are the best practices for choosing a domain name?
Best practices for choosing a domain name include keeping it short and simple, avoiding hyphens and underscores, making it easy to spell and pronounce, and ensuring it is relevant to your business.
How should multi-location websites be managed?
For businesses operating in multiple locations, you can use a country code top-level domain, create subdomains or subdirectories with generic top-level domains, or even create entirely separate websites for each location.
Why is competitor research important when choosing a business name and domain?
Competitor research is crucial to ensure your chosen name isn’t too similar to existing competitors, to avoid any potential negative associations, and to understand your niche better. It can help you distinguish your brand and set a solid foundation for your online presence and SEO strategy.
What are the differences between various top-level domains like .com, .com.au, .au, .net, etc.?
Different top-level domains can serve different purposes. For example, .com is typically used for commercial entities, while .net is often used for network technologies. The .au is a country code top-level domain for Australia. Your choice depends on your business needs and target audience.
Why should special characters be avoided in a domain name?
Special characters can complicate typing the domain name, particularly on mobile devices. This can lead to user frustration and errors, negatively impacting the user experience.
How does the choice of business name and domain contribute to long-term business success?
The right business name and domain can enhance your brand recognition, improve SEO, and contribute to a professional image. This can lead to increased trust, more traffic, and ultimately, more business.