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Does Keyword Help in Choosing a Domain Name?

Carrying through the idea that site optimization begins at the beginning, the first SEO step is to register your site’s domain. The domain name should be chosen with an eye to the keywords around which your site is or will be, constructed. Ideally, the domain actually contains core keywords. Searching for .com domain names can be discouraging. With the Web 10 years old, most of the obvious .com names have been long taken. But as an obsessive domain-checker, I can tell you that imagination and brain-wracking persistence
can locate that elusive name.

The best domain from an optimization viewpoint is one that incorporates your chosen keywords. You should probably ignore the gigantic success stories of Yahoo!, eBay, Amazon, and Google, whose domain names (and company names) have little contextual meaning. If you own technology or a business model as groundbreaking and earthshaking as each of these companies deploys, you can get cute with the domain name, too.

For most businesses, the domain name should convey the subject at hand. The relevance factor in the domain name isn’t about making it easy for visitors to remember you, although that doesn’t hurt. You should choose a domain name that contains your keyword(s) for the Google spider, which looks hard at domains as indicators of relevance.

The spider’s needs in this matter outweigh your visitors’ needs. Accordingly, throw out the old-school optimizing rule that .com is a more valuable extension than .net, .biz, or the others. Although it’s better to have a perfect domain name as a .com than another extension, Google’s spider treats .net, .org, .biz, and other domain extensions the same as the .com extension. As little as it cares about the domain extension, Googlebot does care about domain names matching page content, and it rewards that correlation.

The average person remembers the .com extension more readily than others and usually assumes that a site address uses that extension. In that sense, .com is preferable for business cards and conversations. But when visitors find your site through a search engine and then bookmark it in the browser, the extension type is irrelevant. And from the viewpoint of search engine optimization, the extension doesn’t matter. So your job is to optimize with a spider-friendly domain name, and then provide your visitors with such great content and site organization that they bookmark you.

Google recommends against registering domains containing misspellings of popular Web destinations, such as,, or In fact, Google threatens expulsion from the index for attempting to lure visitors in this manner. There are many domain registers that can report the availability of names, but some are faster and more flexible than others.

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