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Using Free Tools To Find And Assess Unregistered Domain Names

Jun 1, 2008
If you have an idea for a new web site, but don't know which domain to buy for it, here is some guidance on using some free tools which can help.

First, assessing the name. Experience has shown that using keywords in the domain name may help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and gaining traffic.

This is not because the well-known search engines give any more weight to keywords which are in the domain name when ranking pages, but because users can see from the domain name itself, when it appears in the search engines listings, what your site is about. If they are interested in the subject, they will click through. In addition, since you are likely to use the same keywords in the title and descriptions of your site then you are doing some automatic and legitimate SEO.

We have one niche health site which undoubtedly gets extra traffic because it is very obvious from the domain name what the site is dedicated to; and we have only naturally acquired backlinks. The site is number 1 in Yahoo and number 2 in Google for a search on the three-word health term which makes up its domain name. Of course, for search terms with minor to average search volumes, this is still not that difficult.

We'll assume that you accept that using keywords in a domain name may be helpful. How do you find domains which are still free, which use your keywords?

Actually, this is the wrong question. What you want to know is - what phrases are people using to find sites related to my keywords? In other words, what are they actually searching for? Never assume you know this already.

This is where some free tools can help you. We use Keyword Discovery, which is a subscription service, but they also offer a non-expiring free trial, which you can use to do your keyword research for your new domains. If you are a serious internet marketer, you may find you come to rely on it for other marketing purposes. In online marketing, good information equals good money for you.

Actually using Keyword Discovery is probably easier that describing it, but essentially you can use its searches to find out the phrases people are typing in to various engines which are related to your target keyword, and to drill down into particular phrases (or 'queries' as it calls them). You can then see the actual number of searches each phrase is getting. Obviously, you want to 'target' a new domain by finding a two or three word phrase for it which is getting good search volume.

Once you have made a list of likely phrases, and written them down, then you can use other free search tools to check if a .com domain name version is still free. You can do this crudely, by simply typing a likely name into the address field of a browser, and checking if the domain exists as a web site already; or you can go to a domain name registrar like Godaddy and use their search tool. If the domain is still free, you can buy it right away.

We think you'll agree that this two-step system is a better method than simply guessing on a good domain name to use.
About the Author
Dee Buteland writes about domain names and how to make money from them. To read more about the free tools mentioned here and to use them go to this page - free domain research.
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