Now depending on what stage you’re at in the process of developing your website, you may or may not already have a domain, and if you don’t have a domain and it’s a decision you’re looking to take, you’re probably thinking that it could have quite significant implications from an SEO point of view, and historically you would have been right. Pick the right, keyword rich domain, was considered one of the most important steps to developing an SEO strategy.

Not least because when people link to the domain they’re going to be including keywords in a very natural, organic way, so it definitely has its advantages. However, those benefits are vastly outweighed by the potential downsides if it’s not brandable. So, to give you an example, let’s imagine you’re looking to launch a brand called You could imagine people talking about it as a real brand, like they could trust it and it even having offline shops. However, – forget it. Nobody’s trusting that, so even if it benefits from some very short term artificial ranking inflation, it’s not going to be sustainable. People are not going to trust it as a brand and Google are going to see that people don’t trust it as a brand.

That’s the first consideration. You have to prioritise the sense of brand. Can you imagine this becoming a brand?

Secondly, we have to consider the extension. Now, as a general rule, if you can get a .com fantastic, but that’s not always that easy and if you’re audience is local. If it’s UK based, for example, then a can work really well. .Net’s can work well. .Org’s can be really nice if you’re looking to develop a sense of community. I’m usually reluctant to suggest others, but again it comes down to the brand. For example, .London could work really well for certain brands. You wouldn’t necessarily expect any short term SEO benefit. You’d need to build those brand signals, but certainly, it can work for particular businesses.

The final consideration I’ll add, is the inclusion or exclusion of hyphens. Within the domaining world, there tends to be a bit of snobbery towards hyphenated domains. and if you can get the non-hyphenated version then that’s probably best. But not necessarily. Sometimes it can help break up the words and improve the legibility of the domain, so again it comes down to how you feel about it and whether or not you can imagine it becoming a real brand. And to be frank hyphenated are easier to find so you may not have a lot of choice.

So, those are all the considerations. Ultimately, it comes down, as I keep saying, to this one thing – brand.