One of the questions we periodically hear from clients goes something like this – “If they’re available, should I buy more domain names that include keywords people might use when searching for the services my business provides?”
Let me first explain the question better with an example …
Company Name: Distant Landscaping Company, LLC
Location: Distant, PA
This company provides landscaping services in Distant, PA, and wants to be found in the SERPs for searches like “landscapers in distant pa.” The question is whether they should purchase exact-match domain names (EMDs) like the following and forward them to their website.
www.LandscapersinDistantPA.com, www.DistantPALandscapers.com, www.LandscapersDistantPennsylvania.com, etc.
The short answer is no. Purchasing a domain name that doesn’t have and hasn’t had an actual website associated with it, and then forwarding it to your website will not benefit your website in the SERPs. You will simply incur the expense of domain registrations and renewals.
Reasons You Might Want to Buy an Additional Domain Name
As with most things in life, there are exceptions, unique situations, and good reasons to consider purchasing an additional domain name and forwarding it to your website. Here are a few examples:
1. Shorter domain name for marketing purposes
Using the example company from above, www.DistantLandscapingCompanyLLC.com might seem a touch long for potential customers to type into their browser after reading a brochure or hearing a radio spot. Purchasing a shorter and catchier domain name, like www.DistantLandscaping.com, and forwarding it to your website can be a very effective strategy.
2. Shorter domain name for email addresses
How many calls have you finished by asking or being asked, “What is your email address?” Rather than having to continually say Bill@DistantLandscapingCompanyLLC.com, purchasing a shorter domain for email addresses will enable you to setup Bill@DistantLandscaping.com. Much easier to say and to type!
*Note that in this scenario you will also want to forward www.DistantLandscaping.com to www.DistantLandscapingCompanyLLC.com. Customers are likely to see your email address and assume your website is located at the same domain name.
3. Brand protection
Protecting your company’s online presence as part of your search marketing efforts is very important. One way you can do this is by purchasing domain names that are variations of your company’s name. The advantage here is that it keeps other similar companies from purchasing domain names similar to yours. Examples using the company above include www.DistantLandscapingCo.com and www.DistantLandscapeCompany.com.
4. Creating distinct marketing strategies
Does your company have various departments that can stand on their own and are advertised separately on occasion? For example, Distant Landscaping Company may have divisions for irrigation and snow plowing. Purchasing www.DistantSnowPlowing.com and setting it to forward to the snow plowing page on www.DistantLandscapingCompanyLLC.com is a good strategy. It brands your company as snow plowing professionals, and directs users straight to the page that speaks to their interest.
5. Capture common misspellings
If your company’s domain name includes a word that is commonly misspelled, you might consider purchasing domain names with the word misspelled and forwarding them to your website. Otherwise you could be missing out on a lot of direct traffic. A well-known example of this is Flickr.com vs Flicker.com.
6. Purchasing the domain name of a local competitor that is no longer in business
This strategy can be beneficial or harmful to your website’s rankings depending upon the history of the domain name you are looking to purchase and a lot of other factors. I wanted to mention it here, but this scenario deserves a future post of its own.
If you choose to purchase an additional domain name and forward it to your website, make sure you have a solid reason to do so. Having keywords in the domain is not a good reason, and will not improve your search rankings.
What is your experience with this question and these situations? What other reasons might lead you to purchase an additional domain name to forward to your website?
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