Difference Between Keyword and Branded Domains

By Kevin Quia  |  May 11, 2022

The line between a good business and one that easily appears in searches seems to get thinner and thinner each year. Search engines like Google and others are primary resources for people looking for companies to do business with, and this can make it difficult to choose between a keyword or a branded domain, particularly because they each have their benefits and drawbacks when it comes to producing the best search results. At the same time, there’s a lot more to a successful business than effective SEO, and choosing the right domain name can make it easier for customers who are not performing searches to find your business. Even though both keyword and branded domains can be effective, you will want to explore the following factors before making a final decision.

What Are Keyword and Branded Domains?

In some ways, keyword and branded domains are on opposite sides of the domain name spectrum. While they both can serve as names for your website, the way you go about creating them is entirely different.

Keyword Domains

As the name implies, a keyword domain is based on a keyword, specifically using it as the name of your domain or at least part of it. Because many keyword domains are already taken, it can be a challenge to find one that’s available. Fortunately, you can select a keyword domain by only using a keyword for part of it and still get the results you want.

For example, the domain, at the time of writing, “INeedAPlumber.com” is not available, but “INeedAPlumberMA.com” is. So, this could be an effective domain for a plumbing company in Massachusetts. Also, if a potential customer comes across this domain in an advertisement, it may be easier for them to remember than one that isn’t directly related to plumbing.

Branded Domains

Branded domains, also referred to as brandable domains, are often business names in and of themselves. Either because the business name is not a real word or there weren’t any natural words available while creating the business and domain, branded domains are often made-up words.

For example, the domain Twilio.com contains the name of the business, Twilio. Also, Google.com consists of the name ABC Company used to go by. In many situations, a business chooses its name based on available domains. This is why many opt for a branded domain as opposed to one that contains a keyword.

Keyword Domains vs. Branded Domains

Before committing to one domain or another, you may want to compare the two.

Keyword domains serve as both an informational advertising tool and something customers can use to identify your business. This is because they can reinforce elements of your product or service thanks to the keyword they contain.

For example, if a business were to choose the domain name “FirewallProtectionNow,” before even getting to the business's website, potential customers already understand that they offer cybersecurity services and may focus on firewalls. In the mind of your Target audience, this could give them more confidence as they decide to navigate to your website because they know what to expect and may feel there’s a higher likelihood of you satisfying their needs.

Keyword domains are also relatively easy to remember because they’re associated with natural words in the language. Returning to the example of INeedAPlumberMA.com, you can also use a keyword domain to create a narrative in the mind of your target audience. In this case, you’re reinforcing the fact that they need a plumber and implying that they can meet that need by going to your website.

On the other hand, it can be easy to mix up a keyword domain with that of another company. If, for instance, the user forgets the “MA” at the end of INeedAPlumberMA.com, they’ll get a totally different result. This is very unlikely to be a problem with a branded domain because it’s unique and hard to confuse with other URLs.

Another downside to a keyword domain, when compared to a branded domain, is you may miss out on the opportunity to use your company name as your domain. A branded domain not only gives you a unique internet address, but also reinforces the name of your company, solidifying it in the minds of people going to your website.

Whether you choose a branded or keyword domain, you're going to want a premium domain that helps support your brand and bring in new customers. With Aftermarket.com, you get access to superior domain names, as well as info regarding their domain authority, so you can choose the one that's going to give your business the most traction. Check out what's available on the Aftermarket.com marketplace today!