Choosing a name for your insurance ecommerce website
On our travels around the country demonstrating the Quotall insurance system, we have been asked the same thing by several insurance brokers.
The question is ‘should we use our company name (XYZ Brokers Limited) as our online domain name (xyzbrokers.com) or a keyword-based domain name (‘businessinsurance.com’ or ‘professionalindemnity.com’)?
Many companies incorporate keywords – the terms people use to search for a specific topic or item on the web – into their domain names as a way of generating more traffic to their websites.
It does work – to a degree.
Some considerations when naming an insurance ecommerce website
1. Most, if not all of these keyword-based domains have been taken, so they are either impossible or very expensive to acquire
2. It is almost impossible to get hold of any keyword-based domains that wouldn’t be too long or pointless
3. Keyword-based domains have been abused by spammers registering hundreds of them to boost their website rankings
4. As a result Google has been changing the algorithm it uses to rank web pages to reduce the impact of the domain name on a website’s ranking in its search results.
In 2011 Google’s Matt Cutts (Head of Google’s Webspam team) said:
“We have looked at the rankings and weights that we give to keyword domains, and some people have complained that we’re giving a little too much weight for keywords in domains. And so we have been thinking about adjusting that mix a little bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that given two different domains, it wouldn’t necessarily help you as much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords in it.”
SeoMoz (a leading provider of SEO software) has conducted a study which indicates that Google’s latest algorithm updates have indeed downgraded keyword-based domains.
5. Using, for instance, ‘professionalindemnity.com’ as a domain is fine if all you offer is professional indemnity insurance. If you offer more, now or in the future, it’s clearly limiting. Of course you could try and buy keyword-based domains for every product and service you sell.
6. Typically customers could use any combination of thousands of keywords in their search for professional indemnity insurance e.g. ‘indemnity cover’, ‘professional insurance’, ‘solicitors PI’. If a customer searches for ‘PI cover’ your ‘professionalindemnity.com’ domain will not help your website to show in the Google search results.
In addition, to get the most relevant search results, people use an average of just over 4 words (query words) in every search e.g. ‘business insurance for tradesmen’. Your domain name list would have to be really long to capture all the possible traffic!
7. The final consideration is your Brand. If XYZ Brokers Limited has an online domain of ‘professionalindemnity.com’ there are some drawbacks.
a. It doesn’t make it easy for new or repeat customers to find when searching directly for the company name
b. It may not stand out from the competition who are also using keyword-based domain names
c. It doesn’t encourage brand recognition. Every time people are exposed to your (company) domain name, it reinforces your brand
d. It doesn’t increase credibility and loyalty. In general, people buy branded as opposed to unbranded goods and services
e. Your company domain name can be used on business cards and offline promotions.
In insurance ecommerce, content is king
Above all else though, it is vitally important to remember that the Google algorithm looks at a multitude of factors when assessing your insurance broker website design for ranking in its search results. Domain name is just one.
In the end, the websites with well-organised, quality content and branding gain the highest rankings because they are quality sites. Rather than trying to second-guess or beat Google’s algorithm (you won’t), we advocate concentrating on quality content, web design, and advertising to promote your quality brand that people and search engines alike will want to discover.