Domain names – stuff them with keywords

The deadly truth about URLs (Photo: it comes to choosing a domain name for your business website, you have three main options:

  • Use your business name
  • Use terms that will closely match what prospects will be punching into Google
  • Or come up with a memorable or unique word or phrase that you plan to promote independently

What prompted this follow up was a TV commercial running on Southern Cross Channel Seven here in the NT, in which a company advertises asbestos removal services.

This company has chosen the most dangerous approach to domain name selection.

Let’s dig a little deeper (while wearing protective clothing, of course).

Considerations for domain name selection

Following yesterday’s discussion on how to write headlines for blog articles, I thought it might be useful to look at the factors to keep in mind when choosing your web address or domain name.

As with all things left in the hands of a marketer, we need to approach this from your potential customer’s point of view.

What prompts them to search for you? What questions will they be trying to answer.

If your business name captures the problem and solution in one, then it is an obvious decision to use your business name as your domain name.

For example, if you have a newsagency in Nhulunbuy, it makes sense to choose as your web address. The benefit here is that if anyone is searching for a newsagency in that town (they might be people new to the area, living in some of the service areas, or travelling through and wanting to locate a newsagency on their travels) will find the website. (Disclaimer: I worked with Judy and Bernard through the Get Online NT program).

What often happens though is you started your business with a personal name or a slogan or positioning statement. The dilemma here is that the words in your web address, if you have just used your company name, will most likely NOT be the terms prospects use in search. Furthermore, if there is a hyperlocal aspect to our business we leave out a local town or suburb or regional name at our peril.

I recall meeting Lisa from Essential Fitness in Alice Springs last year during a Business Enterprise Centre workshop series. The dilemma she was facing was that new people to town, locals, and tourists who could all benefit from being part of a good gym were not becoming aware of the gym through web searches because the terms ‘essential’ and ‘fitness’ were not being used.

We discovered to our amazement that despite there being some competitors in town, nobody had registered They have now and are harnessing the benefit of the most obvious keywords that someone looking for a gym in Alice Springs would be likely to type into Google.

It often surprises business owners to learn that their web address DOES NOT need to be their business name. You still brand your website as your business name but by using potent search terms in your web address you get the best of both worlds.

And that brings us to our asbestos hunters.

No business name, no product keywords – how can this domain name work?

The asbestos ad I referred to earlier was one for Elfenbein and Associates.

In the ad, prospects are asked to consider the dangers of asbestos and to seek help from the company.

I couldn’t catch the business name during the ad and the company logo was not overly legible on my hotel television.

At this point, we would be on the verge of writing off the ad. However, there is always hope that the web address will be shown and sure enough it was.

But it wasn’t a domain name using the company name (which is lucky because there would be a high risk of consumers typing it wrongly), nor was it a domain name that I would have considered, loaded with simple keywords like (which is still available at the time of writing).

Instead, the web address given was

We can all see what they are doing. It is a strong reinforement of the message that asbestos is deadly and that this company will show you the way to safety.

And, I deliberately wrote it down because it prompted me to write this blog post. And I am glad I did because I could remember this morning whether it was deadlypoison, dangeroustruth, etc.

I would rank this as the most dangerous of strategies UNLESS you plan to spend money or time promoting your web address elsewhere. This is because nobody in their right mind who has become aware of a potential asbestos risk would type ‘deadly truth’ into Google. There is no innate search engine value in the deadly truth domain UNLESS we are educated to go looking for it, which is what is happening here.

In this case, I think Elfenbein and Associates is leveraging its television advertising spend cleverly because the mass media message getting out to lots of people is putting their name and a SIMPLE message in front of us – asbestos is possibly where you least expect it, that’s right, you could be sitting on some right now in your own home!

Because the message is simple, it can be drummed in via the ad in the hope of scaring people who have never considered asbestos to be THEIR problem into action. What action? Going to the website – a medium where it is much much cheaper to take people through the information journey and lead them to making contact with the company.

In summary, keywords in your web address can be very potent allies for your business. However, if you err away from your business name or popular keywords, you need to use some other methods for driving people to your site as with the asbestos company.


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