Search engine optimization experts will tell you to pick your domain name based on your keyword research, but that’s getting more and more and difficult. You can do your research and identify 15 of your top keywords and when you go looking for that domain name you like so much – it’s taken. And that one’s taken too. Then the other one … yep, it’s taken. Darn, aren’t there any good ones left?
Some Web 2.0 converts are starting to follow the Flickr formula, which is to drop a vowel or misspell the keyword slightly. It boils down to acquiring a phonetic domain name, or “near misses.” Instead of Mechanics.com, you might see Mechanix.com or MyKanics.com, because we’re cute. But do such domain names work?
They can, but you have to work extra hard at branding them. Unless you pick a domain name that plays off of a popular misspelling, chances are people will not find your domain name by misspelling the correct keyword. You’ll have to use the misspelled word in all of your anchor text instances and, quite frankly, that could lead to other difficulties, especially when it comes to article marketing and buying paid links.
Some people claim that if you don’t have a .com or .org TLD then you’re screwed. I don’t think so. I’ve seen .biz, .net., and other TLDs rank high in the SERPs. It really boils down to how you do your marketing. For now, keep doing the keyword research and pick a domain name that makes sense for your business, one that is easily brandable, and, yes, one that is at least somewhat close to your primary keyword. Search engine optimization is still Search engine optimization.