How would you feel if you walked into work one day and another company had set up shop right there—in the middle of your office space? If you don’t own a series of domain names that represent your product or service, this is exactly the risk you are taking.
While this is technically a search engine optimization and search engine marketing issue, I’d like to focus more on how important this is to your brand position, brand value and competitive advantage.
Owning Just Your Company Name Isn’t Enough
I just about fell off my chair when I decided to research domain names for a client that were descriptive of the products they sell to specific markets, like naturalgaswidget.com. Every descriptive industry/product combination was available as a .com domain name—every single one. I was shocked because with billions of websites out there, you’d think that just about every obvious name had been taken, but this is just not true. Especially if you’re selling into a specialty niche, market or industry.
None of the thousands of suppliers to their industry had thought to purchase these highly searchable, easily findable domain names. This was a wide open market opportunity for my client. When I told them about it, they looked at me quizzically because they didn’t understand why it was important for them to own more domain names than just their company name.
Why You Need to Own Descriptive Domain Names
You will own your market space. Marketing rule #1 is to own your target market space. You want your customer to think of you every time they think of the product or service that you offer. And every time they type your product or service into Google, they should see your company and not the other guy’s.
Build brand value—dollar value. Look at owning domain names like owning digital real estate. Instead of location, location, location, you want to be thinking keywords, keywords, keywords. Owning the most popular words that a target customer will use when they are looking for your product is like money in the bank. You can use this name to sell your product or you can sell the name to the highest bidder who has a product to sell.
You will rank higher. Google gives more weight to domain names that contain the keyword that your customer is searching for. Say your business is called “Boats R Us”. If you sell red kayaks and your customer types in “red kayaks” into their search engine, your company will rank higher if you own the domain name redkayaks.com and that domain name points to a page where you feature red kayaks.
Get more exposure. By owning more domains, your products, services and company will get more exposure to your target audience. Search engines will rank your site based on how many times certain keywords appear. Buying up domain names that contain descriptive keywords of your products and services increases your likelihood of being found by your ideal customer.
How to Buy More Domains and What to Do With Them
1. Head to your favorite registrar. A popular choice is www.godaddy.com, or if your website is hosted with a larger company like 1and1.com, you can buy your domain through them. But shop around, not all domains are priced the same.
2. Get as many as you can afford. At least pick up the .com and .net versions of your name if they are available, Then look around for other permutations that might make sense for you.
3. Point to pages. Now that you own the names, point them to the relevant pages that talk about that particular product or service. This will enhance your market presence and Google rank.
Please don’t let squatters hijack your brand and market presence. Start searching for keywords and phrases that describe your product or service and buy them as domain names today. You’ll see more traffic, more business and you will protect your valuable brand.