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How do customers or visitors find your website?
This might sound like an obvious question, but how often do you think about it? You know how many visitors you get, you know how many visitors convert to customers, you even know how long someone spends on your site. But it's important to consider if your visitors are coming to you directly, or if they are coming to you via search engines.
There are pros and cons for both options - and luckily, we have you covered, whichever you prefer.
Go Direct – With a Domain Name
If you have a short, relevant web address customers can more easily remember and recommend your website. Simpler is better, so for a baker in the city of Sydney then naturally bakery.sydney would be preferable over joesfinestbakerysydney.com.
Because gTLDs are so new, there is also a much greater chance that you can secure the short and exact-match web address you want. Melbourne’s Flower Drum restaurant switched from using the clunky and hard to remember www.flower-drum.com web address to the cleaner www.flowerdrum.melbourne. Why complicate things with a hyphen in your web address?
It's well understood that the fewer steps someone has to take to their goal, the better. If your website is hard to remember, and so asking a search engine for your website is one of those steps, there is a chance it might be one too many for your customer's journey.
Instead of it being one step between typing in the URL and arriving on your page, search requires at least one more step. That also presumes your website is the first link, or that it is immediately obvious to the customer.
Consider, also, your competition.
What results do you see when you search online for your business? Do you see only your website, or do you also see results for your competitors? Perhaps you see the sponsored search results your competitors have paid for. By relying alone on a customer searching for your website, you also risk losing them.
You can mitigate the risk by with an ad to place your website above the organic search results, but relying on this is effective for only as long as you pay for the ads.
Get Found – Boost Your SEO and Online Presence
On the other hand, a targeted and relevant domain name can help you perform better in searches. A recent study by Searchmetrics suggests highly relevant content, social media signals and good domain names are among the most important factors in attaining a high ranking in Google search results.
A geographically relevant domain, like .sydney or .london or .tokyo, has obvious advantages when customers are not already familiar with you but are searching for businesses in their city.
Statistics show most people want to "buy local", but this isn't always easy to do online -- however as much as 93 per cent of customers use search engines before making a purchase.
To return to the earlier example of the bakery, bakery.sydney tells a visitor at a glance all they need to know. Similarly, if you had a business name like Total Care then a web address like TotalCare.com might not help someone searching for you by name. Alternatively, TotalCare.vet would distinguish a veterinary practice quickly from an accountant or real estate agent (both of whom could also get the appropriate and relevant generic domains, such as .accountant and .realtor.)
More relevance means more opportunity, particularly in the digital environs. As Jim Stewart, founder of SEO agency Stewart Media, explains, Google already uses Top-Level Domains as part of its ranking signals. While the web address is just one signal, it could be the competitive edge that convinces a customer to buy from one business and not another.
You can also get an edge on your competitors with local search ads from Google. Even if you already appear in search results, Local Search Ads can help you target new audiences on Google and Google's advertising network.
Alternatively, our Search Booster tool can submit your site organically to more than 400 search engines internationally, and help you to optimise your site to maximise it for search engine listing.