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FAQ

Why are domain names important?

Your domain name will be the way most of your web-based customers will find your business. Choose a domain name which your customers will easily associate with your product, and they are more likely to remember it.

Why are generic domain names significant?

Some searchers simply type in the name of the product, with a .co.uk (for the UK) or a .com (for global) domain extension, in many cases correctly assuming that this may be the quickest way to locate a business providing the item or service they require. Search engines also place weight on a domain name if it matches the words or phrase which a user has searched. Combined with the content of the web site, a search engine can assume that web sites with domain names that match the subject being searched are more likely to provide relevant results, and these sites can therefore achieve higher positions, or rankings, on search engine results for competitive search phrases.

What determines the price of a generic or premium domain name?

  • Generic names for products are the most desirable domain names. Each domain name is unique and when the best domain names have been acquired other businesses can only register themselves using alternative, less desirable domain names.
  • Supply and demand has some bearing especially in highly competitive industries which are now almost exclusively internet based such as business directories and data services.
  • The more generic the name, the higher the value. When 'business.com' sold for $150,000 it was an enormous price for a domain name at the time (1997), but since then generic domain names have continued to increase in value with some having sold for tens of millions of dollars. There is similar demand for UK domain names, with over 6 million co.uk names registered but a shortage of memorable ones. Domain names that are generic, descriptive, simple, and easy to spell are the most desirable.
  • The popularity and of the search phrase in terms of competing web sites is a key factor. Search a phrase on Google, and the number of results found is displayed. A phrase such as 'book shop' could return millions of competing web sites, whereas 'tyre fitters' will be much less competitive. In either case most searchers will not look further than the first 20 or 30 results, but getting in those top results is much harder if the search phrase is highly competitive.
  • The popularity of the search phrase in terms of searchers entering it to search the subject or topic is a key factor.
  • If a domain name matches a search phrase, then the web site may be returned among the top results when the phrase is searched. One aspect of the potential value to a business is the equivalent cost of advertising that would be required to achieve a comparable exposure on search engines for people searching the product or service. The budget prices increase over time as advertisers 'bid' to achieve top positions, so the value of a top ranking domain name would increase accordingly. In addition a top ranking domain name can achieve many more clicks than even a top placed advertisement, as many searchers often tend to click on the top search results rather than click on advertisements and sponsored links.

How is key phrase search traffic estimated?
The estimates provided are for the search phrase on Google. It has been suggested that the click traffic could represent just 5% of the actual search volume on Google.[1] Searches for the same phrases on other search engines would take the figure higher again.

Is a .com better than .co.uk domain name?
This depends upon the market that you are trying to reach with your product, and how you hope to attract new customers. If your business is global or you intend to offer your product world-wide, then .com can have some advantage, and if you own the .com it can avoid the possibility of another business using the .com domain later in your market or your customers going to the wrong web site. In global terms, a .com domain is the most prestigious.
If your market is primarily the UK, then .co.uk domain names can offer some advantage. When search engines return results for a search, some people choose to filter the search to return 'UK only' results rather than going through all the results from all over the 'Web'. People can also look at the domain name before clicking the link, and seeing a .co.uk domain name tends to confirm the web site is appropriate to UK users, whereas clicking .com domains frequently takes you to a web site in the USA. If you are hoping to rank highly in search engines and reach UK based searchers, a .co.uk domain name can help.

[1] Source: John Andrews Estimating Key Word Search Traffic Volume

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