Sunday, September 25, 2011

Protect Your Personal Brand - Buy Your Own Domain Name Now!

Remember when vanity license plates were like the ultimate in personal branding? On the Internet, owning your personal name as a domain goes way beyond vanity. It's a necessity.


Whether you think Google+ is the next big thing or not, the one thing becoming clear on social networks is that your real identity matters online. When personal and business relationships are being forged online without people ever meeting in person, who you are and how you represent yourself online can often make or break the deal.


Go search for "yourname.com" right now...


When I search "danatan.com" I get some interesting results. First, I see that Dana Tan is a comic book character from DC Comics' Batman series. Cool! I also see a search result giving a link to my Twitter page, and a few other links to various videos, some me, some of a comic book character. Because DC Comics is fairly well known, and Dana Tan is a main character, I was really surprised to find that "danatan.com" was available. I bought it immediately. 


Buying your name as a domain name protects your personal brand


If you buy your own personal domain name and develop it with good content, you can make sure your name is associated with stories and items that best define who you are.


Go search for your personal name as a domain right now. If it's available, buy it!


Not sure how to do that? Simply go to GoDaddy.com and type it in to search from their home page. If your domain name is not available, you can find out who owns it at WhoIs.com. If you can afford it, try to buy it from the person who owns it. This can be done by contacting the owner through their current registration company.


Need help? Email me and I'll assist in any way I can.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to Choose a Domain Name That Will Improve Your Site's SEO

Some things in Search Engine Optimization [SEO] will never change. This is one of them. Choosing the right domain name can significantly boost your site's organic results in search engines [SERPS]. Think about it this way, if a new visitor makes it to your site, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to come back again in the future. One way to do that is to make sure your domain reflects you and your business with laser-like accuracy and that your domain name is easy to remember.

Let's Try an Example

Let's pretend we are going to open an online site selling clay flower pots that people can decorate themselves with paint. 

Step 1 - Keyword Research

This is a little bit different than doing keyword research for a specific product or category page. Ideally, what you are looking for in this research are keywords that have a good balance of four key factors:
    • Good Search Volume
    • Low Competition
    • Relevancy
    • Higher CPC

Good Search Volume - You want keywords that produce a good amount of traffic. Think about it. If a keyword is only producing 250 global searches in a month, and you've got 5,000 sites competing for that traffic, are you going to get enough traffic to have a business? Probably not.

Low Competition - Not only do you want some keywords that produce a decent amount of traffic, you want the competition for that traffic to be fairly low. If a keyword is producing 10,000 searches a month, and there are only 100 or so competitors, that keyword gives you much more traffic than the word that had 250 searches but 5,000 competitors.

Relevancy - Good search volume plus low competition are meaningless if the keyword you've chosen doesn't do a good job of describing your product or service. For example, when I plug the term "clay flower pots" into Google's Keyword Tool, one of the terms I see that has excellent volume and low competition is "garden centre." While it might get me lots of visitors, they aren't going to be qualified visitors because "garden centre" could describe a lot of different things. It certainly isn't synonymous with "clay flower pots." 4 conversions out of 10,000 visitors and 4 conversions out of 10 visitors is still 4 conversions. Choose keywords that describe your business with laser-like precision.

Higher CPC - Going after keywords that have the combination of good search volume, low competition, high relevancy and high CPC (compared to similar keywords) can save you a fortune in online advertising. If you can build an expensive term into your domain name, and rank well with it, you are positioning yourself well organically for terms that you may not have been able to afford to bid on in Adwords or Bing.

Step 2 - Select the possibilities

Go through the Google Keyword tool's results for "clay flower pots" and select all of the most relevant terms. In this case, Google returned 800 results when I did a general search so I went back and checked the box that said "Only show ideas closely related to my search terms." This produced a list of 14 keywords.

I think it's best to work from both lists because each might give you some different ideas about which keywords to choose. For example, I noticed on the short list that the most expensive term for CPC was "wholesale clay flower pots" at $0.89 a click. I also noticed on the bigger list that the term "wholesale flower pots" was also relatively expensive at $0.97 CPC, about 26 per cent higher in cost than the term "clay flower pots" which had an average CPC of $0.72.

Step 3 - Make a Short List of your favorites

In the case of "clay flower pots" my short list looked like this:

www.clayflowerpots.com
www.wholesaleclayflowerpots.com
www.clayflowerpotcrafts.com
www.flowerpotsclay.com

Since my business is about selling clay flower pots to people who want to hand paint and decorate them, the domain "www.clayflowerpotcrafts" combines words with good search volume, low competition, relatively high CPC costs and it describes exactly what my business is about.

Step 4 - Make sure the domain you want is available

Visit GoDaddy.com's homepage and type in your preferred domain name. One of the biggest advantages to choosing your domain name using the above process is that most of the time your first choice is going to be available because it's usually a combination of 3 or 4 words. Hooray! In this case the domaine "www.clayflowerpotcrafts.com" is available.

We will talk about how to protect your domain and online business from something called "cyber-squatting" in a future post. For now, buy that domain and get started building your site!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dana Tan SEO Moving from Mansfield PA to Olympia WA

Hi everyone! This is a very brief post to explain my absence and the limited number of posts over the last week or two. I am in the process of moving my base of operations for SEO and SEM consulting from East coast to West. Throw a little hurricane in the mix, and stir. It's been a pretty interesting couple of weeks. I will be doing professional SEO and SEM for a company based in Olympia WA and have uprooted my children, cat and goldfish to head West. Here is a picture looking out to Puget Sound from my new deck...

I look forward to have Internet up and running soon. Look forward to new posts on SEO and SEM from the great Northwest!