Established in 2000, StartUps.co.uk is the UK’s largest, longest serving, and most comprehensive small business advice platform, covering everything you need to know to start, buy, run, or sell a business. As an online business resource, the company has been noted for publishing an annual report of ‘best business’ ideassince at least 2014. TRT World featured its editorial director speaking on start-up trends in a roundtable in 2019.
Startups.co.uk also (since 2008) publishes an annual list called Startups 100 ranking the UK’s ‘hottest startups’, taking into account factors such as growth potential as well as product ingenuity.
Jonathan Young, SEO and Digital Marketing Manager for the company took a few minutes to answer some questions and shed some light on the business for us.
Mike: First of all, great domain name. Tell us about the process of acquiring the name and if you can, share the price.
Jonathan: Thanks! The Startups.co.uk domain was first registered way back in February 1999 which was smart forward thinking by our founder David Lester as it helpfully summarises the core focus of its content. We have occasionally acquired an additional TLD for this keyword by doing a Whois Lookup to find the domain owner and then reaching out either to the private owner or the relevant auction platform – the price of those TLDs varied between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds.
Mike: It’s clear by the domain name that the site is a resource for startups, but tell us in more detail what the site provides.
Jonathan: Startups.co.uk publishes advice and research to help new and existing business owners make good commercial decisions.
Some content is inspirational, such as the best business ideas worth considering right now or assessing the top start-ups – both of which are extensively researched and often covered by national media.
Other content is practical, such as guides on exactly what actions are required to set up different businesses or expert reviews and comparisons of relevant products and services such as marketing agencies or web builders.
Mike: A keyword domain like this must receive a great deal of type-in traffic. Can you share that number (or percentage) and your overall traffic stats?
Jonathan: Certainly several hundred, but it’s quite hard to isolate this to purely type-in traffic today as the Startups.co.uk brand is quite well-known in its own right; the site as a whole receives 4.8m visitors annually.
Mike: As an SEO Manager, how important is it for a business to run on a keyword domain name?
Jonathan: I think this does depend slightly on the industry, but I think a keyword in the domain can help efficiently describe the topic of that domain and build user trust that it is likely to be relevant to what they are looking for. I’ve seen studies that suggest a very high percentage of B2B-focussed domains include a relevant keyword in domain urls and I definitely think that, with all of these points in mind, it can help performance from search.
Mike: The business does seem very UK focused, but do you feel you are losing anything by not having the .com name?
Jonathan: In this particular industry, a .com name might suggest a US or broad international focus which for this site would require a significant amount of content rewriting and reverification as it necessarily discusses a number of tax and legal considerations. Although close competitors don’t use the .com name, it’s definitely something we would consider in the future when thinking about new markets!
Mike: I understand the site is owned by David Lester, who formerly founded the video game development company Impressions Games. Does David have any other domain name projects underway?
Jonathan: David currently runs citrushr.com, an HR software and support service company for small business owners. The idea originated from having seen close hand that HR issues can put the brakes on the growth of small businesses and from wanting to develop a modern HR software system that helps make it easy to manage HR admin. Note that ‘HR’ is included in the domain name!
Mike: What are some key steps domain owners that are developing their sites can do to get some quick SEO wins?
Jonathan: I always think it’s worth simply:
- Looking very closely at what Google is displaying in the search results for the queries you want to rank for – for example, are there Answerboxes, expandable FAQs, star ratings, sitelinks, news stories, videos or images and exactly what type of content is being displayed there (some of which might be auto-generated by Google).
- Looking for similarities between top ranking urls for a query – for example, how fast do they load, what topics do they cover, what content formats and structure do they use and (if you can find this out) what links do they have.
These steps I think go some way – though of course only some way – towards suggesting what elements or behaviours might be particularly valuable for a domain or page to possess in order to perform well in its specific industry.