Choosing a Domain Name – Tips and Tools

First Steps in Choosing a Domain Name

domain name guide logoWe briefly discussed choosing a Domain name in the first article: Top 10 Reasons for a Website Explained! We touched on choosing a memorable or gimmicky name (illustrated by Amazon.com, Google.com, FaceBook.com, YouTube.com) or a domain name that encapsulates the nature of the business (Blogger.com, Soundcloud.com, Slideshare.net, TripAdvisor.com or indeed SeoAdviser.info).

If you look at Alexa – a site that analyses and ranks web businesses – the Top 500 sites is dominated by a memorable or gimmicky name. This may be a reflection of their marketing budget! See the image below for examples.

top domain names
Perhaps as a new business with limited financial clout choosing a domain name that explains the nature of the business is the best solution. There is a major advantage as Google (and other search engines) recognise the keywords – for example, on seoadviser.info. Google will have discovered the terms seo adviser in the domain name, and this aids the SERPs (explanation: A search engine results page (SERP) is the listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query) for the term “seo adviser”. So if a user types in “seo adviser” into the Google search bar the site www.seoadviser.info appears towards the top of page 2 (Feb 2016). If we had the time and the inclination it would take little effort to move up to Page 1! Hopefully, you can see the benefits of having your product or service keywords in the domain name.

Purchase Domain Name

We would always recommend purchasing a domain name with a tld (top level domain) ending in .com or .net. or .org or your local tld such as .co.uk (your location is in the UK in this example) if it is available. Try to avoid numbers or too many hyphens. Google does not need hyphens to recognise keywords in a domain name! Using a service such as godaddy.com or namecheap.com (just 2 of many examples!) you can find out the availability of a domain name.

So let us say you have a company manufacturing superior blue widgets – somebody has to afterall! Then type blue widgets into the search box at GoDaddy. Unfortunately as you can see from the results, bluewidget.com is a “Premium” domain and you would have to pay the owner £1900 + pounds for the privilege of transferring the domain name to yourself!

choosing a matching domain name

 

Buy Domain names – Auction or Expiring

Sites exist where you can buy domain names through an auction. There are many reasons why people are auctioning off domain names from “a fast buck” or just a domain name is no longer needed. Flippa.com is a good example of a site selling existing domain names (and in some cases with existing websites).

In addition, there are 1000s of domain names expiring daily. You can grab these with ease from sites such as GoDaddy. So for example, let us say we have a business offering nursing services. At GoDaaddy auctions type “NursingServices” into the search box. You can see the results in the image below.

Expiring domain names

There are some interesting results. For example. nursingservices.net at a Buy Now price of $4188 or alternatively, you can make a bid at the auction. In this latter case, you are in auction and you may see the price rise substantially, and the bid price often rises quickly near the end of the auction. Further down the list is nynursingservices.com – this could be very useful if your nursing services business is located in New York (NY). This domain name would kick-start your marketing effort in Google for a top SERP for “nursing services” or “N Y nursing services”. In fact Google is intelligent to match NY with New York so “New York nursing services” would get a boost too! Trying to buy domain names at auction is not always easy, and there are many strategies! This link gives you more tips: How To Win An Online Auction (Bidding)

Evaluating Domain names

Unfortunately, some domain names for sale (or expiring ones) are problematic. For example, they may be spam sites, pornogrphic, or even hate sites, So how do you evaluate them? First, have a look back at their history on the WayBackMachine of Internet Archive. Using nynursingservices.com as an example, the WayBackMachine shows that this site used to sell supplements and skin care products back in Feb 2011 – this site is in the health area but perhaps not selling the services you had in mind? More examination is need!

In the past, Google provide a measure called Page Rank (PR). Google ranked sites on a scale 0 to 10 where 10 is the best ranking.There are Page Rank tools still available on the web to find the PR. In the case of nynursingservices.com the rank is 0 – not normally a good sign. However, Google has not updated the public version of PR for years so this measure no longer helps the evaluation! There are fortunately some good alternatives! MOZ.com provide a measure called PA and DA. Moz explains PA as “Page Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engines. It is off data from the Mozscape web index and includes link counts, MozRank, MozTrust, and dozens of other factors. It uses a machine learning model to predict.” and DA as “Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. Use Domain Authority when comparing one site to another or tracking the “strength” of your website over time. We calculate this metric by combining all of our other link metrics—linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc.—into a single score.” Moz provide a helpful tool called the Moz Bar to discover the values of PA and DA – see https://moz.com/tools/seo-toolbar

domain and page authority for domains

Alternatively, Majestic.com provide two measures called Trust Flow and Citation Flow. Brief explanation: Citation Flow is a number of predicting how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it. Trust Flow is a number predicting how trustworthy a page is based on how trustworthy sites tend to link to trustworthy neighbors. You can find these values at Majestic Site Explorer

majestic trust and citation flow for domain authority

The CF / TF ratio is near impossible to manipulate with SPAM and does not lie. While spam will increase CF, it is very hard to manipulate TF using low quality links. In our opinion, we want a a minimum value of CF and TF of 20 each. Ideally, the two values should be close – so a CF of 45 and TFof 20 would set alarm bells! Look for a CF / TF ratio of the respective domain that does not exceed 1.8.

In addition, we prefer domain names that have age – at least 5 years of history, listed in Google’s search, and a good number of back-links from a range of sites, and a diverse selection of backlink anchor text. It is worth investigating, the backlinks further: for example, are the backlink sites of good quality? Both Moz Bar and Majestic do provide the information you are looking for.

Domain Name Finding Tools

The process of selecting a domain name is time consuming. So are there any tools that we recommend? The tool we rely on most is PR Power Shot. With this tool you can

  • Check Domain Age And History, Alexa rankings and Traffic – gives you an instant snapshot of the domain, so you know that it will have traffic that will continue to flow and trust in it’s age you can build on
  • Check against fake PR, get a full back-link profile (not just the amount of backlinks… the FULL scoop!) and social signals (Google+, Facebook, Twitter) – You will have the full profile of Links and PageRank information, as well as the (hugely) valuable social media information. You can make a judgement immediately on the value of the domain
  • Setup your own ‘Domain Alerts’ – so you don’t need to be constantly looking for domains. The software will scan 24 hours a day for you, 7 days a week and alert you as soon as the right domains become available
  • One Click bidding and buying management – once you have picked the top domains you want to purchase, one click will have that domain secured for you, or the automated auction system means you won’t pay too much, or miss the domain.

PR PowerShot does make the process choosing and buying domain names much easier! For more information about PR PowerShot – click here

Example of using PRPowerShot

Here is a snap-shot of results using a search for “nursing” with domain age at least 1 year old – note the CF and TF values, number of back-links (with a link to analyse further), listed in Google confirmation,  and domain age. This reduces the amount of research significantly If you cannot find a suitable domain name, you can set your criteria and the software will email you when a suitable domain name becomes available!

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Domain Name Finding Service

If the technical analysis skills or the time factor is worrisome, there are plenty of Domain Name finding services available to help. We list some of these services in our Resource directory. Finally, SeoAdviser.info provide a professional service to find a domain name for you! Use the contact form to discuss your requirements with us.

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