Video: SEO Guru Rand Fishkin on Selecting a Domain Name: “Bias to .com”, Keywords, Brandability, More

Jul 17 2016

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz has a massive following in the world of SEO and online marketing, so when he puts together a video with his current thoughts on selecting domain names, it’s worth taking notice.

Many of his eight rules (listed below) are things often discussed in the world of domaining, but it’s helpful to understand the point of view of SEO experts:

  1. Make it brandable
  2. Make it pronounceable
  3. Make it as short as you possibly can, but no shorter
  4. Bias to .com
  5. Avoid names that infringe on another company or another organization’s existing trademark or could be confused with that trademark
  6. Make the domain name instantly intuitive
  7. Use broad keywords when sensible, but don’t stress keyword inclusion
  8. If your name isn’t available, it’s okay to append or modify it

Below are a couple excerpts on Rand’s point #4, “Bias to .com”:

“Why does .com matter so much when there are so many TLD extension options? The answer is, again, this is the most recognized, most easily accessible brand outside of the tech world.”


“cognitive fluency, processing fluency says, dictates that we should go with something that’s easy, that people have an association with already, and .com is still the primary thing that non-tech savvy folks have an association with. If you want to build up a very brandable domain that can do well, you want that .com. Probably, eventually, if you are very successful, you’re going to have to try and go capture it anyway, and so I would bias you to get it if you can.”


“If it’s unavailable, my suggestion would be to go with the .net, .co, or a known ccTLD. Those are your best bets. A known ccTLD might be something like .ca in Canada or .it in Italy, those kinds of things. That’s your next best bet. I’d still bias you to .com.”

Additionally, Rand puts the hammer down on keyword rich domains with his point #7, saying in part,

“I would say that if you can get a keyword mention in your domain name that helps make it obvious what you’re about, go for it. But if you’re trying to target what would be called keyword rich or keyword targeted domains, I would generally stay away from those actually in 2016. They just don’t carry the weight that they used to, and there are a lot of associations, negative associations that users and search engines have about them that would make me stay away.”

Examples he suggests shying away from include names like and, with a preference towards names like or

The entire 16 minute video is embedded below and is worth your time.


Share This

About the author


Comments are closed.