What Domain Should I Choose?
One of the most important decisions you’ll make for your website is a domain. Typically, the best domains for real estate are ones with a strong, relevant history.
Using An Existing Domain
If you have an existing website with a domain, that’s going to be your best domain—in most circumstances. Existing domains are more trustworthy than fresh domains because they are proven, and have history. This is particularly true of existing domains that were used well, providing users with rich, valuable content.
The exception to using an existing domain is if you previously engaged in spammy SEO practices. Many of the SEO practices used prior to 2015 are now considered spammy, unnatural or “black hat”, and can actually hurt a site. If you’re not sure whether this is the case for your domain, consult an SEO expert to discuss the previous work that was done and determine whether it will be beneficial to use your domain moving forward.
Choosing A New Domain
If you don’t have an existing domain, you have an exciting decision ahead of you! Picking a domain is kind of like choosing a new identity.
There are very minor SEO advantages to using a domain that incorporates a major target keyword. However, these can be extremely expensive to come by. Instead, we typically recommend a domain that’s:
- Short – the shorter the better
- Branded – reflects your company
For most real estate agents, a short domain that reflects their individual, team or company name is the best choice. Ultimately, do what makes sense.
.com, .ca, .net, .what?
When considering extensions, choose .com for a site in the United States or Canada. Note that there is no true SEO advantage to one extension over another, so this choice comes down to branding and user behaviour.
It may be tempting to go after the .net or .me version of your target keyword when the .com isn’t available, but it’s actually not a great idea. Users are so familiar with .com that they don’t consider alternate extensions, and will type .com without even thinking about it. If you don’t own the .com version of your domain, you’re likely to drive traffic straight to your competitor!
Within Canada, the .ca domain is also an acceptable domain extension. However, for the same reasons above, we only recommend using a .ca if you can also secure the .com.
Some real estate agents will also buy the alternate extensions for their domain, to protect their brand reputation and prevent competitors from snapping them up. They hold onto these domains, but don’t actually use them. If you can get a decent price on these alternate extensions, buying them can be a smart idea.
Next Section: How Do Search Engines Rank Websites