The dilemma of choosing between branded vs keyword domain names is not unusual. Entrepreneurs both experienced and new to e-commerce and search engine optimization confront the same difficult choice every time they set up a website or even dream of a new idea for their work on the Internet. Neither solution is optimal. It really depends on your goals for the site and the potential popularity of the names with which you may want to associate your sites. If you are going through the same debilitating decision process as you begin to plan your next web phenomena, consider the pros and cons of each approach to web economics.
A branded domain name is simply one that does not rely on the inclusion of popular search terms or keywords in its web address. For example, a website devoted to selling televisions might have Sweet Televisions as the terms in its web address. Or the owner may replace sweet with his or her own name. This would be a brand term that does not rely on the actual vocabulary used by people searching for televisions on the Internet. Well known branded domains are google.com, yahoo.com, facebook.com, microsoft.com etc...
There are several pros to this approach. Brand names are usually catchier than keywords. This will help your website and your business stand out from the ocean of keyword domain names that saturate the market. Brand names also facilitate direct searches. Once people become aware or your products or services, it is easy for them to type your name into a search engine. Ultimately, brand names are more flexible. You can print them on business cards and they do not look as ridiculous as a string of inelegant keywords.
The biggest drawback to the brand name theory is getting your brand known well enough that people know to search for it. If your brand name is going to be successful, you are going to have to advertise it well. Otherwise, the keyword domain names will remain in front during keyword searches.
Many web entrepreneurs prefer to strengthen their website by forming a web address from popularly searched keywords. While the results may not sound very good, there are definitely advantages to this method of web promotion. The most important benefit derived from using a keyword domain name is the high page rank that you can achieve during an unguided web search.
However, the value of this approach should not be overestimated. Keywords are not as valuable in search engine optimization as they used to be. Recent changes to search engine parameters have now increased the importance of original content, frequent updates and quality backlinks.
Ultimately, you need to decide whether branded vs keyword domain names is better for you and your purposes. At the present time, things have definitely moved toward favoring the approaches that a brand name domain might need to make in order to drive traffic. However, this does not mean that old fashioned SEO is completely useless. Finding the right keywords can still generate traffic and profits.
I am a professional .NET and PHP software developer. I has been designing and developing websites professionally since 1994. Currently working as SEO consultant at UK SEO Company.