Basic SEO For Everyone Chapter 2

[ Basic SEO: OneTwoThreeFourFive ]

In Basic SEO Chapter 1 I discussed domain name age and registration as well as redirects. Now let’s take a step back for those that don’t have a domain name yet. What should it be? Some suggestions I see are company name, company name padded with a keyword or phrase, and keywords separated by dashes. My personal preference is your “real” business name for a main site and NO dashes. It looks more professional, it helps brand your company and you don’t lose traffic to a competitor because a prospect forgets to include the dash. As of this writing there is proof that search engines give extra weight to words in a domain name but there are other ways to rank for keywords so why choose a name for SEO reasons only? A good example for not using your company name would be a company that sells widgets, if they can afford a name like then this could be very beneficial for search and most important it is easy for customers to remember. Good luck with finding a single word domain, the days of inexpensive common word names are long gone with the exception of a few non-DotCom names. If you are planning a site that is not for promoting a business entity then you might want to use keywords for your domain name. I suggest trying to pad it with local terms like the city or state you are targeting and the items or service you will be promoting. If you use dashes I would limit it to one. If you are buying a personal domain name try to get your first and last name.

What top level domain should you purchase .com .org .net .us ? If you are planning a business site then you should try to purchase DotCom. If you advertise your domain name or tell it to people there is a very good chance by the time they try to find you on the net they will type it as a DotCom even if you told them it was DotNet. They will also leave out the dashes so beware when choosing a name. If you buy a DotNet it’s probably because the DotCom was taken so you are automatically sending the DotCom domain owner traffic just by the nature of how people think and browse. The same is true with a dashed domain name. Your best choice is a name that you can secure the DotCom and the DotNet for.

Let’s move on to URLs (file and path names). Should you pad them with keywords? Simple answer, yes. Don’t go all out spamfest but it does help with search and navigation if your primary topic is in the URL. Try not to use more than two dashes. Keeping it less spammy is future looking in case the natural search stops giving credit for stuffed URLs. It is definitely a turn off for some visitors that associate the tactic with spammers so I advise against using more than two dashes. When creating URLs make sure you like them even if there was no search benefit. Does it provide value to the user or your sitemap?

Should you use an underscore in a URL? Almost always the answer is no. Unless you use a term that requires an underscore naturally then you are better served by using dashes.

That’s it for Chapter 2. Be sure to tune in for Chapter 3 where I start talking about your titles, description, and keywords.


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