Domain Spotlight:

Why a Brandable Name Over a Keyword Domain for Your Business?

You have probably, by now, picked up on the fact that I salivate at the sight of a good keyword domain with a business built on top of it.  That’s not to say that a keyword domain is an easy answer to business success.  It’s simply just the type of name I favor and I have a solid list of reasons for that.  We have all seen businesses on great keyword names die a painful death.   On the flip side, there are businesses built on brandable names that are crazy, wildly successful.

It’s easy to see what goes into a good keyword domain and why a business might invest millions to have that category capturing name.  But why do some businesses choose brandable names that are often made-up with no true meaning?  In this round up, I’ve pulled together some brandable business leaders and presented them with the question: “Why a brandable name over a keyword domain for your business? “  Here’s what they have to say.


Frankly, there are a million marketing agencies out there at the moment. And, there are about a billion digital marketing agencies. A premium keyword domain doesn’t really help the consumer tell the wheat from the chaff anymore.  We went with something brandable because it is memorable. And, more importantly, because we could brand our agency philosophy.

A premium keyword domain would tell people what we do, but it wouldn’t say anything about why we do what we do. And why we do what we do is more important to us.

That doesn’t mean that no research went into our domain. Our process was to go through expired domains that had some established site in the past, with some backlinks, and some off-site SEO features that we could leverage, but that we could also be creative with to build a brand on top of.

Loxley Browne
MARCOM Director, Jusk Media


We used a brandable name because we publish a lot of videos and were convinced that this would help us stick in the mind of consumers. Given just how much content is out there, we wanted to stand out from the very beginning by selecting an interesting and creative name for our business.

Jeff Rizzo


In 2019, building a strong brand online is now required to build trust with potential customers. If you publish exceptional content, your brand will also be viewed as an authority in your niche. Having a strong brand name is better than a keyword phrase that any company can use and possibly rank for.

V. Michael Santoro
Co-Founder, Vaetas, LLC


We wanted to be different. There is a lot of competition in our industry that tend to all use the same keywords. We wanted our brand to differentiate us right from the start. Also – we didn’t believe in paying thousands of dollars upfront for a pre-purchased premium keyword domain.

Madeleine Park


A brand name like Devetry was easier to register a domain for, easier to rank for, and arguably more memorable than a keyword-focused domain would have been. While there may have been some minor SEO value in choosing a domain like “”, it would have been harder for clients to remember precisely and more frustrating to type into a browser. Besides, even though keywords in domain names might still be a relatively strong semantic signal and ranking factor, Google is getting pretty good at understanding what a page is about without overt signals like that. A company like ours should be able to rank for “Denver software development” without any of those terms in the domain name itself, if you’re kicking ass in other ways.

Scot Beckman
Devetry, Inc.


I have my opinions but I’d love to hear yours.  Let me know what you agree or disagree with on this topic.

Domain Spotlight:

12 Replies to “Why a Brandable Name Over a Keyword Domain for Your Business?”

  1. What’s the Exact Brand Match on each?

    JustMedia > No site, loses traffic, visits, email nightmare. If anyone significant buys and build a brand on the EBM, they’re out of luck. > SlumberYard. Same.

    FlyFoe don’t pass the radio test. sounds like DevTry. fails radio test, spelling nightmare.

    1. Read the article. Its brandable over Exact match. There is no exact match here. You’re arguing against yourself. Brandables are exactly that, a word that generally has no meaning until you brand it.

  2. Personally, I think this is where Shane’s love of pronounceable 5Ls makes a lot of sense. This is going to be a big trend going forward because companies wanting to brand themselves generally want short, memorable names. I’d much rather pick up a shorter .com when starting a new company as they’re more memorable.

    1. @Tom – Strong point. The brandable name should also be a good name. For example, is not good unless the is the acronym of your longer and more complicated company name. is good.

  3. I think all of us have to admit that brandable sticks and the way to go. But for most domainers, from the first tier to the hobbyist, how can we resist the temptation to use exact keyword name.
    Me, I own a company trading in bread improvers and for a whopping 3 months, I deliberated whether to use my company’s name or the main product for my website. Alas, I succumb to the temptation of registering a plural form of bread improver.

  4. I think some of this is right but some is definitely wrong. These names are not good names for branding. Better names would have worked for the ones mentioned here. While they be successful in some areas , what was the cost to get there ?

    Many of these companies are missing the obvious..while they want a memorable brand, and spend thousands of $$ to get the name out there, they should have bought the EMD to go WITH their brand. While a brandable is cool, the majority of business people that can afford major brandables are companies that have funding, a spin off or a well backed idea by Shark Tank. I mean really , lets be honest, the majority of people could not afford,, etc. So lets get to the reality of domains after the bigger funded companies.

    Mike S. knows about EMD names. If I were a bicycle company and could ship worldwide, I want, the same as (Schwartz) , I suppose you could call it,, or whatever brandable you could afford or come up with, but there would be no replacement for that would be better. Not only are you saving ad dollars, you could name your company some crazy name if you want, but the value of is worth the weight in gold. Its an instant business. The mountain you would climb to get there to reach where is at already would cost a small fortune. Ask, I am sure they could have called it something else.. But they completely dominate that market and have crushed the competition, ask Auto Trader.

    On the other hand… You could not do the same with or could you ?

    I believe depending on what it is you have to look at the variables first. Its obvious on top generic domains there is always a market and those names can be used for most anything you want. From colors to people names they can be branded, but for many many products you are buying traffic instantly with a keyword name and can also call yourself whatever you like.

    The service industry is different from the product industry and I believe the brandable works better there. Like, although might have something to say about that.

    If you are just a regular company in the mid range. You buy a cool name like for $5000 and start building your business on it and it costs you $35,000 in advertising the first year to get the word out..What if you bought the matching EMD for $15,000 and spent $20,000 in advertising and increased your business by 75% because you had the EMD. Your hill becomes much smaller.

    For major companies they need to stand out, that’s why a brandable works sometimes better, they also have the ad $$ to spend. Honda , who everyone knows, bought several years ago, did they need it ? maybe, but that’s a top tier company, which many of the major companies do now is buy up domains and could own thousands.

    All in all. Just my opinion as I have built on an EMD and it took me less than 6 months to accomplish what I needed to do.

    Good luck to all either way.

  5. I am in digital marketing on agency side, but also a domainer been to names con 4 times now. And generally, brandableas even for agency will require significant financial investment. The owners of this domains clearly hand reged this domains and then back rationalized why they are good. They aren’t. Most agencies don’t understand domains aside from seo value, and it clearl from how they talk about domains that it was main consideration but they went with creative….and very bad domains….but hey, it was cheap. 10 bucks hand Reg is easy to rationalize. Juskmedia… This is reads and sounds like more common JustMedia. FlyFoe is short, but a terrible meaning name. It is negatively meaningless. I have seen agencies use one word dot nyc domains successfully. And they do sound cool and memorable. For example

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