When web content writers think of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) they often think of keywords, in-bound links, site submissions to search engines and directories, and the speed at which a website loads. Since website managers/owners start to focus on Search Engine Optimization after a site has already been created and is on-line, they often overlook the basic component of the SEO value ingrained with a domain name. Since there is so much SEO value in a domain name, a primer is needed.
WHAT IS A DOMAIN NAME AND WHERE CAN ONE BE PURCHASED?
A website's domain name is the top-tier URL address. For example, Google's domain name is "Google.com." The same is true of Facebook's domain name "Facebook.com" and Intimo Media's "IntimoMedia.com." This is effectively the primary name -- and web address -- of any website.
When a website owner goes to a domain name registrar (e.g., GoDaddy.com), they can search for domain names. This is as simple as typing in a domain name which the potential website owner desires to purchase. Many authors seek their own name or their book's title. Businesses tend to go after their business' name or their subject area (e.g., San Francisco Criminal Defense Attorney). Regardless of what domain name is sought, certain principles must be followed.
SEO PRINCIPLES REGARDING DOMAIN NAME PURCHASE
The key principle to keep in mind when selecting a domain name is its "search friendliness," and its keyword value. Domain names must be easy to remember for those who are searching for the specific website. But, the equation doesn't end there. The domain name should also be focused around a set of keywords. For example, someone searching for information on prison education would go to PrisonEducation.com since both the keywords "prison" and "education" are contained in it. The same would be true for any other kind of website.
For authors and businesses who are attempting to gain name recognition -- or who are known primarily by their name -- the answer is simple: seek their own name as a domain name (e.g., accomplished author Barbara Carole's website is BarbaraCarole.com). For subject specific websites, the subject is the best way to go (e.g., Prison Legal News, which publishes legal news of interest to prisoners, owns PrisonLegalNews.com).
SEO comes into play when searchers look for information on a specific subject via a search engine (e.g., Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.). While at the search engine, the user will search key terms, and type in keywords in an effort to bring up the most effective search results. Any website owner should be focused on these keywords since so much traffic can be derived from them. Often, fledgling website owners forget about the incredible value a domain name can employ. This is unfortunate since purchasing a SEO-friendly domain name is the simplest way to gain keyword-specific traffic.
Another tip concerning domain name purchases concerns the length of time the registration is enacted for. While the cost of a dot-com domain registration is only around $10 a year, many website owners pay year by year. This can be a mistake for the new website owner. By paying for three or even five years' worth of registration fees from the beginning, search engines will assume that the website is there to stay and could rank it higher than similarly situated competitors who have only paid for a single year. Since the cost of a multi-year purchase is relatively insignificant, it is a smart move to make.
DOMAIN NAME AND BEYOND
While purchasing the perfect domain name won't drive torrents of traffic to a particular website, it will assist in the website's Search Engine Optimization strategy. But an effective SEO strategy doesn't end here. Once the domain name is purchased, the website owner must either create or retain someone to create a user- and search engine-friendly website, keyworded content must be added regularly, an effective in-bound link strategy must be employed, and the website must be maintained on a continuing basis. Website management isn't a set-and-forget kind of project. It is a continual effort which must be completed in a competent fashion in order for positive results to ensue and for both readers and search engines to find the website relevant, engaging, and worthy of returning to.