There are many things I would have done differently when starting my private investigation business. One of the things I wish I would have known more about is the importance of domain names. If you are reading this and have no idea what I am talking about, let me give you an example.
What is a Domain Name?
This blog website is located at http://www.privateinvestigatoradvicehq.com/. Privateinvestigatoradvicehq.com is the domain name. A domain name is essentially the address were a website is located.
Wikipedia defines a domain as: “A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control on the Internet. Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS). For the complete definition go Here.
Why are Domain Names Important?
Many companies want their domain name to match their company name. I did this when I began my business but I was not educated on domain names or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at that time. Giant companies like Nike, Walmart, Target etc… want their name to be simple and recognizable, and rightly so. This is great for big companies but this is not always a good thing for private investigation businesses, especially if the company is small.
If someone is searching for a private investigator in a specific area they are not likely searching your company name. It is however more reasonable to believe that they are searching for “Private investigator in (enter city)”. They may be looking for a specific type of investigator in a city like, (Insurance Fraud investigator in (enter city)). Google and other search engines strive to provide the most relavent results to their customers. With that being said, Google in particular is known for having the domain name influence the results of a search.
Don’t believe me? Test what I am saying. Conduct a Google search for “A private investigator in (name your town)”. See how many companies use domain names like ” (name of the city)investigator.com) or (name of city)pi.com).
While writing this I did a search for “Private investigator in Tacoma” which is a smaller private investigation market and I did a search for “Private investigator in Los Angeles”, which would be a larger market with more competition. Both search results showed companies on the first page of Google with the city name and investigator in the domain name. Two results of note for Los Angeles were PrivateInvestigatorLosAngeles.net and LosAngelesDetective.com. Both of these domain names are great examples of how a domain name is used to help reach the first page of Google. The company name for the PrivateInvestigatorLosAngeles.net domain name is actually Surveillance L.A. While the other website is actually not working but still remains on the first page.
Getting on the first page is not enough. Ranking as high as you can on the first page of Google is also important. Again using the example of my domain name Privateinvestigatoradvicehq.com; If you type a Google search for “private investigator advice” in Google, this website will rank #1 for that term. I specifically wanted to be ranked #1 for that term so I purchased the domain name with Private investigator advice in the domain name. Again Google gives domain names that match search terms more authority in the search results. My website has only been online for less than a year and out ranks many other websites that have been around much longer for this search term because of my domain name.
I show some results for my keyword of interest when I evaluate my website in this video.
Why does this matter to your business website?
There are many private investigation agencies that do not need to be ranked in search results. Their business model or clients don’t find their specific services through online services. Insurance investigations are one of those services that clients do not search for online. Insurance adjusters/companies have private investigators knocking down their doors to provide them services.
For those investigation companies that provide a variety of services and need to be found in Google search results, a domain name might be the difference from being listed on the first page of results or second page of results. And being ranked on the first page of Google makes all the difference in the world when being found by potential clients.
Can’t find the right domain name for your company? Maybe this will help.
Another influence on search results is what you have at the end of your domain name or the suffix. Is the domain name a .com, .net., org. etc… From the research I have conducted, .com’s typically seem to rank higher than other other sites generally. There are others out there that do not agree with this assumption and they may be right. Additionally .com, .net, and .org may have more influence in results then other more recently developed suffix’s like .biz, .co or even .info.
Ideally you would like a .com at the end of your domain name but that is not always possible. If you want the words “Investigator” and your city name in the domain name, consider adding a small word on the front or back of the domain name. An example would be “your(city/ name)investigator.com” or “my(city name)investigator.com”.
This topic really only scratches the surface on things to help you rank on the first page of Google for your private investigation business. I hope this helps you in determining a domain name for your website that will help you reach the first page of Google faster for your desired search results. Please know that designing a domain name as described in this blog post does not guarantee you will get on the first page of Google, or that you will get more business. Use this information as a tool or a piece of the private investigation marketing puzzle in helping your website get noticed by clients.
There are many other search engine optimization techniques other than this one that I will write about in the future so subscribe to this blog to make sure you never miss an article.