Whether you are starting your therapy career or are looking to update and rebrand yourself you need a website. If you need a website you need a name for that website and therefore you need to purchase a domain name. Before you do you need to understand the possibilities that are available to to and how your choices may impact your search engine rankings under different circumstances. This is just a short guide to show you that marketing your hypnotherapy practice can be impacted by something as simple as a name.
Generally when I see the names that therapists have picked for their websites they have either chosen an exact match domain or a domain which contains their name.
Exact Match Domains – An exact match domain is based matching keywords that a potential client would place in a search engine. A typical example would be names such as hypnotherapylondon, hypnotherapistinnewyork or hypnosisscotland. The domains in these instances reflect the locations where the therapists are based and would like to get clients. By choosing keywords that are frequently placed in a search engine there is an increased likelihood of getting found. For example the phrase hypnotherapy London has an average of 1,300 searches per month. With an exact match domain name that is well optimised you have a high chance of getting a large number of customers coming across your site.
Of course marketing your hypnotherapy practice is not that simple because:
1) Many of these exact match domains have already been purchased.
2) Google is placing less emphasis on exact match domains in its algorithm.
A few years ago having an exact match domain almost guaranteed you traffic but now Google is looking for other indicators of a great website so their relevance is reducing. Reducing is not however the same as extinct. Remember having an exact match can still give your website a boost especially when it comes to advertising. Having an exact match domain for example can increase your click through rates especially when it comes to paid advertising. That is because your customers see a name which exactly matches their needs and is therefore more likely to take action and click.
Your Name Domains – Many therapists like to use their name in the domain title. So in my case I could have chosen martinamckeoughhypnosis.co.uk. Having a name domain is great especially if you are building a brand. In other words people will search for you because of your reputation and you will of course appear highly in the rankings for those searches. The problem is that most therapists don’t have a brand. That means that your name is currently meaningless to the people who are searching for hypnotherapy. They get a long list on Google of people who call themselves hypnotherapists and the first thing they do is:
1) Choose the names that appear at the top of the search.
2) Choose domains which most closely match what they are looking for.
3) Choose a name domain.
So in other words you are likely to come third on the hit list of potential therapists who get the business unless you also appear at the top of the page. Remember you need to think from the point of view of your client and not your own personal wishes when it comes to marketing. That said there is no harm in purchasing your own domain name and running two sites providing they both contain original content. The exact match domain can be used when you are starting out and as your reputation grows your name domain will grow in searches as well.
.Com or .Co.uk? – Choosing what to place at the end of your domain name is also important. Should you use a generic .com name or instead choose a country code of where you live or even one of the new domain extensions such as .London? The general rule of thumb is where are you intending to do business. If you are based in a town in the UK and only want to see people in the surrounding area then a .co.uk will do just fine. If however you are looking to sell downloads, online courses or run Skype Sessions then your audience is wider. Then you need to think about a .com. In other words you need to think about your business strategy when making those decisions.
Buying all the domain extensions available for your company could also be important from a branding perspective. Imagine if you built up a hugely successful company under the .co.uk extension which hundreds of people were searching for each day. What if someone else came along and bought the .com extension and then started advertising a very similar product? Suddenly your traffic is diluted by this other company and your sales fall dramatically as they start to get your business. Even if you don’t want to buy every available domain extension buying the country code and the .com should be considered. It is worth noting that many domain extensions such as .biz and .info are not great to use from an SEO perspective. If these are the only domain extensions left then choose another name.
Length of the Name – Don’t get carried away with choosing names for a domain which are too lengthy and wordy. Choosing a name like hypnotherapyinlondonandthesoutheast.co.uk will not be particularly helpful in getting you found in the search engines. In fact Domain Monster has a great guide on domain names. They agree that a short snappy and to the point name will always beat a long one.
Hyphens – It can be tempting when an exact match domain is already taken for your keywords to try and choose the same words but place hyphens inbetween each of the words. An example of this would be http://www.hypnotherapy-in-Edinburgh.co.uk instead of using a domain name where all the words run together. Where possible avoid this behaviour as they can be considered spammy. Read this guide by Moz on their thoughts on domain names.
Choosing a domain name does not need to be a difficult job when you are marketing your hypnotherapy practice but it does require some thought. Thinking about just some of these basics can help to position your business so that customers can find your more easily or are more likely to click on your website rather than others. Get it right and you will reap the rewards especially when your site is then well optimised for SEO.