Brandable Domain Names vs. Keyword Based Domain Names

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Brandable vs. Keyword

One of the hottest topics in the domain industry is the debate of brandable domain names vs. keyword based domain names.  Which is better? Which is best from an SEO standpoint? What direction is the market going? What is the long term trend?

What factors are driving change?


To try and estimate the future direction, it is critical that we understand the current market and what changes are taking place. Probably the most significant question is Google and what plans they have for search optimization. Although SEO is only one factor in deciding what type of domain to get, it is vital for any business dependent on organic traffic.

In the past several months, Google has made it clear that keywords will play a less important role in search rankings as they continue to emphasize content and social media metrics. In a way, this makes perfect sense. Gone are the days where someone who locked up a premium keyword domain could just sit back and receive traffic. In today’s world and certainly in the future, Google is going to insist that your content, social metrics, location, and other factors determine who gets at the top of the search page.

Supply & Demand

The supply of premium “exact match” or keyword based domains has simply dried up. Moving to non .com domains has failed and does not look like it will take off anytime soon.  The pricing for top level .coms continue to rise and is simply out of reach for most start-ups. By comparison, new brandable domains are hand registered each day and even the top ones are only asking $1500 to $4000.

Marketing Trends

There is a significant portion of the marketing community that feel that brandable domains are simply better domains when looking at the overall picture. They point to the fact that although it will take a higher investment initially to build up a brandable domain, that the costs are more than offset by the huge long term benefits.  Once a company selects and builds up a brandable domain, they totally own it. There is no confusion with other companies and the domain does not get used by the industry itself.


The decision to go brandable or keyword is actually becoming easier and easier. Gone are the days that you could acquire an “exact match” domain and sit back and watch the traffic roll in.  Those domains are long gone and besides, google is diminishing their relevance in their algorithm each day.  There are no shortcuts anymore. New extensions are not going to compete with the dot com’s.  If you want a business to be taken seriously, you must get a dot com. For this and the reasons listed above, we believe brandable domains will be the future.

Brandable domains are readily available and at a price the average start-up can afford.  You could spend hours and hours brainstorming and trying to hand register a domain or you could use a marketplace like Elite Brand Names where professionals have screened, vetted and researched thousands of domains in order to present only the top brandable domains.  This will allow you to save your time and energy to do more important things like formulating plans to develop your new brandable domain.