One thing that becomes obvious very quickly once you have done a little bit of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is that choosing the right domain name is very important. What is not so clear – to me at least – is how important subtle differences in domain names are and how should one offset a keyword rich name with other factors such as succinctness and brevity?
I have been working recently on a new holiday property website project for a site based in Brixham, Devon. I was unfamiliar with Brixham. It’s a lovely historic resort nestled between the ports of Dartmouth and Paignton on the south coast. We secured 2 great website names for the site. www.brixhamholidayhome.com has more keywords packed into the domain name but www.brixhamhome.co.uk has the advantage of being shorter (and therefore easier to remember and less susceptible to typos) and being a .co.uk, which I personally think for an English holiday home is an advantage.
Brixham harbour at Sunset
In the end, I opted for more keyword-packed www.brixhamholidayhome.com with Brixhamhome.co.uk using a 301 re-direct back to it. Overall, I think having a short name isn’t too important these days as people tend to use search engines exclusively when finding websites, even when they know the domain name. When you are clicking on a link from search results, having a long name isn’t such an issue.
A further point in this particular case is, there is also a very highly ranked popular site www.brixhamholidayhomes.com, and there is a chance we can garner some of their traffic due to a phenomena called ”traffic leakage”. Traffic leakage is where a popular site will loose traffic to a site with a similar name due to people miss-typing it or simply mistaking it for the original site.
To summarise, here are my personal recommendations when choosing a domain name for your holiday let:
- 1. Generic is best: Convention says that you should choose a name based on your company or brand name. For holiday homes, this is not necessarily the case. Nobody really cares that your property is called “rose cottage” or that you trade under the name “Exclusive Lets ltd.”, what they care about is that you are located in the lake district (or wherever) and that you are a self-catering/holidaylet/holidayhome/vacation rental… In other words, stay generic and try and get your place name in and your property type, it will give you a great head-start in the search engines.
- 2. Get your location name in: this may be stating the obvious, but when choosing a property, a holiday maker will have already chosen their location so it’s a case of getting noticed amongst your local competition. And getting your location in the domain name will weight you more favourably in the search engines.
- 3. Avoid hyphens: Again, this is more of a personal thing, but I believe non-hyphenated names are easier to remember, they are definitely shorter and no modern search engine will have difficulty picking out the relevant words. Just look at our main site www.propertyrentalsoftware.com as a case in point, we actually do very little active SEO on our own site and it has always been near the top for “property rental software” since its creation.
- 4. Go for a .co.uk: I know I did not do this in the above example but brixhamholidayhome.co.uk was already taken. Where possible, try and get all the TLD’s (top level domains) available for your chosen domain. This will avoid others picking up the alternatives and loosing traffic to name leakage (see the begining of this article). For example, invosoft.co.uk, invosoft.com, invosoft.net…but if you are a based in the UK, make the .co.uk your main domain and use 301 re-directs on the others to point back to the .co.uk. As well as identifying yourself as a UK based company/property you will be weighted more highly in the UK specific search engines google.co.uk, yahoo.co.uk, etc. If your holiday lets are not in the UK, I would use the .com as it’s pretty much ubiquitous.
Again, this is a somewhat personal opinion and there are many differing views when it comes to SEO, so I would love to hear yours!
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