Google has its good and bad sides. For business owners who want to research potential names, the site is a virtual gold mine of ideas and investigation tools.
There are two principal ways to use the site for name-related research. First, you can use Google to help you find appropriate names. Then, after you come up with a name or names you like, you can research their background and see whether they are available or taken by a domain squatter, what they have been used for, and whether they’ll be a good fit for you particular business enterprise.
Here are a few guidelines for using Google as a domain name search assistant:
Use “auto search” to find name ideas: The Google auto-search feature is one of the most powerful business tools available. Simply enter a word or words into the search box and Google will continue with the most-searched terms. For example, if you enter “dogs,” the search engine currently returns “dogs names” and “dogs research” as the most common variants.
What does this mean for a business owner? To continue the example, if you sell dog food and are looking for a site name, you already know that consumers are very interested in finding names for their dogs. This could be a reason to add a small, fun section to your main site that lists the most popular dog names of the month.
Some site owners might even use this data to build their entire domain name around dog names, but include dog food products prominently on their main page. There are products that use this technique to great effect, listing the “Top Ten Dog Names” in a small, upper section of their main page, with all the dog food information below. Actually, there are hundreds of ways to use information like this, and it all begins with the Google auto-complete function, which if simple to use and completely free.
Research variants of the name: Google is an ideal place to look for variants of any name you have already chosen. If you want to use “fizzbizz” for your classic soda pop website (the name is available, by the way), search variants like fizz-bizz, fizbiz, fizzbiz, etc. List as many as variations as you can think of and enter them into Google’s main search engine. You may or may not discover that another business owner is using a name similar to the one you’ve chosen. Some entrepreneurs like to use completely unique names, or to buy up all the possible variations so that there is no possible competition from similar-sounding companies. The decision is yours, but first you need to know what’s out there and whether any potential competitors are already active in the segment.
Generate lots of relevant keywords: Google’s auto-complete comes to the rescue once again. You can make a huge list of potential keywords that are directly related to your domain name by going through the alphabet. Enter your domain name’s core word or words into the Google search box and type the letter “a” after it. Google will show the top ten searches that begin with the letter “a” when it follows your domain name.
Do the same for each letter of the alphabet, jotting down as many of the top ten terms for each letter as you see fit. If your site is about dogs, enter “dogs a,” and “dogs b” and Google will show ten terms for each letter you use after the word “dogs.”
Think about your customer base: If all your potential customers buy online, then Google will be of the utmost importance in your name search. If you advertise on billboards and in print, then search engine names might backfire. For many older consumers, magazines and billboards are still a common way to shop. Referring everyone to a website is not always the ideal way to go.
Don’t make dangerous assumptions: Even if a domain name is not listed in the Google search engine, it might be unavailable. Lots of names don’t show up on Google. Remember to do second-level research on who.is even when nothing comes up the first time around.
Do keyword searches related to your business: Find out what consumers are looking for. If you sell screen doors, simply enter the term “screen doors” into the Google search engine and see what the auto-complete feature suggests. You might get “screen door cleaners,” “screen door hinges,” and “screen door repair” as the most common search terms. That could be a good reason to include hinges, cleaners or repair kits to your site’s shopping cart. Or, you might want to include one of those words in your domain name. Perhaps you’ll end up using “screencleaning” or “doorhinges” as your primary site.
Google offers a wealth of data about domain names.