I’ve spoken to hundreds of dentists on the phone, of which I’m fortunate some of them hired my firm. One issue that comes up a lot is choosing a domain name for your dental practice.
Domain names are your web address and should be branded to your business name if at all possible. Google moving forward is paying more attention to brands and not spammy domains like if you were a dentist in Scottsdale. The old approach would be to go out and buy scottsdaledentist.com Now if you have Scottsdale in your registered business name, go for it. But…it might cost you quite a bit of money…and is it worth the investment?
Domain Names For SEO
This gets tricky. For many years SEO’s would do whatever they could to get citydomain.com for their clients. It created a bidding war for the big ones like say ChicagoDentist.com for example.
For a long time, this worked. If you had a website that was ChicagoDentist.com and had even a little bit of content on it, you were most likely ranking high in google. That is not happening anymore. Google has lowered the value of these types of domains. Now…that’s not to say you got one like the Chicago one above, built out a highly valuable dental website that you can’t still rank in google. But the key phrase is a website with good meaty dental content that is valuable to the visitor and not scraped from another dental website.
Do You Need City In Your URL?
Up until now (but in the next few months could be totally different) it is still a little boost to have your city in your domain name. Now it would be ideal to have your city in your registered business name. That would be a “double-benefit” for SEO. Still no guarantees you’ll rank high, but it will help.
So lets say your registered business name is Scottsdale Family Dentistry as an example. And your domain is ScottsdaleFamilyDentist.com. That would be a great brand to “help” you rank for scottsdale dental terms. Again, no guarantees, as there are many other factors involved in ranking at the top of google.
Notice how I didn’t have the exact business name in that example domain? I did that on purpose. I’m acting as if the exact business name was not available, so I got as close as I could. Still very effective!
Spammy Dental Domain Names
So…if you are doing research on your competitors and you come across dental practice domain names like bestdentistscottsdale.com; topcosmeticdentistscottsdale.com; bestteethwhiteningdentistscottsdale; toporthodontistscottsdale.com are examples. As you can see that is never going to be their business name, and google is becoming very smart at finding these spammy domain names and if the content on those dental websites is not good, then say good-bye to any rankings they may have had.
If you have one of these domains, I would strongly consider trying to get your practice name as your domain, or as close to it as you can, then doing a 301 permanent redirect so it doesn’t hurt you when you make the change for google.
Exact Match Domain (EMD)
Exact match domains are still okay, especially if they have age to them. So if you got ScottsdaleDentist.com, and as mentioned your business name has Scottsdale in it, you should be okay. EMD’s are not as powerful from an SEO standpoint as they used to be a few years back, and quite frankly you will be hardpressed to find one in your city now anyways. They are all gone.
But please be careful if you take to a Search Engine Marketing firm who is adamant to try to get you one, and make the switch from what you have now. Again, same thing with an EMD like ScottsdaleOrthodontist.com. Great, fantastic domain name if Scottsdale is in your name and it has some age to it (see below for explanation).
One ranking factor that is becoming more and more important with google is domain age. This goes hand-in-hand with trust in googles eyes. If you went out and bought PortlandDentist.com right now and it has not been a live website, nor been registered for very long, there is ZERO trust in googles eyes. So even when you hit the jackpot and find a domain that is just out of this world, check the domain age first to see if it’s even worth getting.
Owning Your Brand
This is a biggy. I want you to really pay attention here!
Just because you got your business domain name with the coveted “.com” extension, don’t breath a sigh of relief yet! You could quite easily have a dentist across the country with a very similar name that has the “.net” extension. And maybe the “.org” one.
You have got to protect your intellectual property online. One way to do it is to get every extension of your domain name. Go to godaddy.com and check to see if they other extensions of your domain are available. If so, GET THEM NOW! You will feel so much better knowing you have total control over your brand online.
I own all the big extensions for my brand AZNetMarketing. The “.com”; “.net”; “.org”; “.info”. Go check right now. You maybe be surprised at what you see.
Own Your Name
I know this might be a tough one, but if you can do it…DO IT NOW!
You never know what happens in life, but have your name in domain form is pretty sweet. Years and years ago, I got very lucky. Even though my last name spelling is not that common, there are still a ton of them. But…I can proudly say I own MikePedersen.com. And yes…it is a website, not just a parked domain!
As a dentist I want to give you some other variations you can get if your exact name is not available. So if I were a dentist and not a dental marketing firm, I would go after ones like MikePedersenDentist.com; MikePedersenDDS.com for starters.
So go see if any of the above are available and just get them!
We Need To Talk.