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Choosing Domain Names For Search Engines

Search Engines

Unlike directories, search engines use automated programs to analyze your web site to determine its placement in search results. Every search engine uses a different method for site analysis, and in general, the domain name itself has a relatively small impact to search engine placement, but one of the most important domain name considerations is the placement of keywords in the domain name itself and the similarity of the domain name and page title. For example, if your site sells travel services to Mexico, you may want to choose a domain name such as "". Note that there are hyphens between each keyword. Hyphens are powerful additions to your domain name in that they are both easy to recognize, remember, and search engines are able to distinguish the key words within the domain name. If instead you chose the domain name "", the search engines would not be able to pick out the words "travel", "to", and "mexico". It would simply see the domain as a single jumble of words. However, keep in mind that using many keywords separated by hyphens may make the name of your site difficult for people to recall.

With the advent of long domain names, you could choose a domain name such as "". Plenty of keywords in this domain but see if your customers will ever remember it and be able to pass on your site as a recommendation to someone else (remember- word of mouth is a critical traffic channel for you website).

Most search engines also use link popularity as a factor in determining a site's ranking in search results. Link popularity is usually determined by both the quantity and quality of links from other people's sites to your sites. Achieving a quantity of links is a matter of getting more and more people to place links on their website pointing to your website. Quality is partly determined by the text in the link itself (called anchor text). Usually, the anchor text will be the same as your domain name which should contain your ever important key phrases. So the more links you receive to your site containing "Travel-To-Mexico" in the anchor text, the higher your ranking could be for words like "travel" and "Mexico" on some search engines.

Avoid Freebies

Be careful not to register a site with a free hosting service. For example, instead of choosing "", you end up with "". Some search engines will not even spider websites that are hosted by free hosting services and your site would not show up at all. Additionally, when a search engine determines the placement of a website in its search results, it almost always places emphasis on the home page of the domain. Therefore, if you are hosting through someone else's domain name, the importance of your site to search engines will be watered down since it's the home page of your free hosting company that will receive more attention.


Achieving good results in search engines and directories is extremely challenging. Every search engine has a different method for determining rankings in search results and their methods change on a regular basis! Before you even design and launch your site, give yourself an edge by choosing a domain name that will work well in search engines and directories. This article has attempted to provide you some domain name tips to help you with search engine optimization. But remember to balance the needs of being well placed in search engines and directories with the importance of having a site that is memorable and aligns with your marketing, branding, and advertising plans.

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