Does Your Web Address Even Matter Anymore?
With the ways the people use the internet to find information changing continually, one of the most important aspects of your brand in the past is losing its value. One of the first tasks that brands used to accomplish was the securing of a web address that would brand the company and allow people to easily remember it. Efforts to create effective branding that would incorporate the website address were critical, and driving potential customers to the website by asking them to remember your address was the way it was. Brands came up with different strategies, from witty variations of their name to basic two word descriptions of the business followed by .com. Even though there is still value in having potential customers remember your website address, it is not nearly as important as it once was.
Today, it is estimated that more than 80% of all information or purchase seeking on-line starts with a search engine. The results displayed when a potential customer types in generic words that describe what they are seeking are ordered by importance or relevance by the engine, and in the information that is conveyed about each result the website address is LAST. The order of the information is presented because it is what people are looking for, ordered most important to least important. Your address is the least important thing presented on the page. Your title and description of the website are the most important. The result is presented as a click-able link, and the overwhelming majority of potential customers navigate this way, by clicking. This means they have almost no interest in your website address, and instead are interested in the information on your site. The top three listings displayed on Google get 63% of the clicks, with numbers plummeting when you go past the number six position. The only relevance to this indexed position that your address has is if the engine can find a keyword in it, nothing more. Therefor for a small business that has not necessarily created the most recognizable brand would be better off creating a web address that uses generic keywords than their own name as an address, at least in most cases. Indexing for your name is important, but indexing for your description terms is more important. The potential customer searching for your name is already looking for you specifically. The potential customer searching for a description of products or services is making a decision on where to spend their money.
A potential interesting experiment would be to create a situation that displays your website in the first position on all search engines for a short string of terms, then have all marketing push people to search for those terms, thus giving them your website in the results. Currently a search on Google for “Las Vegas real estate” returns a #1 position of a website with the address www.greatlasvegashomes.com. This website filters information to customers leading them eventually to a group of Prudential agents. The position is worth more than the address in this path, and the position could not have been achieved if the address, title and description were about Prudential. Instead, this marketer realized that the lead is worth more than the brand name, and created a strategy to be found using the medium of choice of 80% of potential customers who have access to the internet. Smart business.