Ever wonder why so many sites have REALLY long URL‘s these days? I remember when businesses would just grab abbreviations or the acronyms of their company names for their domain names. These days, before selecting the URL for your business or product, you have an entirely new set of factors to consider.

If you are preparing to select a URL for your site, really think about what your target market is specifically going to search.  What are the search words they will use?  What words best describe you and your site?

Your best option today is to reserve a URL that actually spells out what you do. For example, if you own Best Catering Service, which provides organic catering in San Francisco, you need to choose a URL that customers can find in a search and tells what you do. A potential customer may use the search words “organic,” “catering,” and “San Francisco.”  OrganicCateringSF.com would be a more strategic choice for you than BestCatering.com.

Choosing a very specific URL is important for Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Essentially, this means you want your site to come up near the top of search results on Google and other search engines without having to pay for the clicks.  Using the previous example, in a search for “organic catering in San Francisco,” Google will probably display OrganicCateringSF.com above BestCatering.com in the search results even though they are both organic catering businesses in the San Francisco area.

If your site focuses on a market whose location is in important, try to include that in your URL.  WeddingCakesNYC.com, for example, indicates that this location is in New York City.  That’s important if you are looking for a local customer!  If, however, location is not an important factor, then include more key words about your product or service.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve the ranking of your site (Read: have your site come up higher among the search results) is to include your top keywords right in the URL. Search Google for “organic catering San Francisco,” and the top two results come from www.OrganicCatering.com. Not bad for a zero-cost investment, right?

When considering your site as a search result for a keyword, Google weighs a few different factors: the URL, the meta tags, the copy on the page, and the structure of the site. The URL alone can count for as much as 75% of the decision! URL is that  important of a factor.

And, while the other important pieces (copy, structure, meta tags, links) can be changed, you are not going to get a new URL every day, so I suggest you do your research before you commit to a name.  By choosing a URL that Google and other search engines value, you will be setting yourself up for a better success rate.

What if you already have an established site with a not-so-SEO-friendly URL? You may not be in the position to change that now, but consider using this strategy for choosing a URL in your next product launch or marketing campaign.  Incorporating your market’s search words into your URL can make all the difference in your level of success.