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Choosing a Lawn Care Website Domain Name Suffix (TLD)

This question is from Eric and he has a question about domain names. And his question is, “Hi, Andrew. I just started my lawn care business this year, and I’m looking to getting the website, to start getting more landscaping leads. The .com for my company name has already been taken. However, since I live in Canada, I’d be able to get my company name with a .ca at the end. So, from a ranking and SEO standpoint, would I be better off using the .ca, since I’m in Canada or using a .com; such as my company name and the city name, that I do business, .com, which is also available for use. Thank you for all the great advice.”

Hi, everybody. Andrew here. Welcome back. Again, thank you for everybody who’s been sending in all the great questions. I know I’m a bit backlogged, but I will get to all of them. I have been very busy, actually, here in the wonderful Service Autopilot offices, here in Plano, Texas. I’ve just been visiting with them here, this past week or so. They been doing some private consulting for some of their clients, and I just kind of showed up as a surprise guest and added some of my knowledge to the conversation about marketing, off-line and online, it was great. We’ll probably put up some of that content at some point, but subscribe to the newsletter and we’ll tell you when.

So, if you’re not familiar with Service Autopilot, I guess I should tell you what that is. Service Autopilot is field service software. It helps you run your business. It helps you manage your employees, your finances. It fully integrates with QuickBooks, does all that good stuff. So, if you have a lawn care business and you’re looking for lawn care management software, or you do cleaning services or janitorial services, check out Service Autopilot. It’s a great piece of software. It will save you money. In the long run, it’s going to pay for itself. Actually, it’s not that expensive. It pays for itself really quickly and you should check it out. It’ll help streamline your business. Check it out.

So, let’s get back to the question. This question is from Eric and he has a question about domain names. And his question is, “Hi, Andrew. I just started my lawn care business this year, and I’m looking to getting the website, to start getting more landscaping leads. The .com for my company name has already been taken. However, since I live in Canada, I’d be able to get my company name with a .ca at the end. So, from a ranking and SEO standpoint, would I be better off using the .ca, since I’m in Canada or using a .com; such as my company name and the city name, that I do business, .com, which is also available for use. Thank you for all the great advice.”

OK. This is a great question, Eric. You know what? The Internet changes very quickly, and Google changes very quickly. They’re always releasing new updates, new algorithms. They update their search engine and tweak it every 17.5 hours. This is a great question but, my answer would probably be a little bit different about a year and a half to two years ago. So, I’m glad you asked this.

The first thing, before we get into domain names, the first thing that I would ask you would be, “Are there, potentially, any trademark issues with the company name that you’ve chosen?” You mentioned that you’re just getting started with your lawn care business so, I would consider trademark issues. He said that .com is not available so, is there a trademark owner of the company name that you’re thinking about using? If so, you might want to choose a different name.

This is something to keep in mind if you’re planning on being in the lawn care, landscaping business long term and you want to potentially avoid any lawsuits or changing your name down the road. Again, this is just a side note but I would keep that in mind. If the .com’s not available, then you might want to check and see if a trademark has been filed in Canada, for your company name.

OK. Back to the technical details, a .com,.ca, as far as rankings go. If you went back about a year and a half or so ago, you would get a bit of a boost having a .ca, if your business was for searches in Canada. So, if somebody’s searching for your service in your city, in Canada, and you had a .ca website, you have a slight boost over somebody with a .com. That’s not really a concern anymore and, to be quite honest, when we deal with all of our Canadian clients, we’re not really that concerned with it. This kind of goes along with domain names, back in the day, had carried a lot more weight, as far as having key phrases in the actual domain name.

For instance, lawncareManitoba or, whatever. That would give you a pretty big boost, back in the day. Google’s kind of lessening the effect of having keywords in the domain and the URL. They’re still important, and if you can get a keyword-rich domain name, you should, but there’s other factors to consider that are more important. So, just keep that in mind.

So, as far as .ca versus .com, I would say if you could get a .com for your company name, go ahead and get it. That’s great. If you can only get a .ca, go ahead and get that. That’s fine too. I would recommend sticking with .net or .com or .ca. They’re going to give you, officially Google says that using a .biz or .info won’t have a detrimental effect on your ranking but, in all honesty, from what we’ve seen, it’s rare that we see a very high-ranking .info or .biz or even .US domain. In regards to .US, that’s because .US was sort of an add-on domain. Most people in the US use.com’s.

So, .US are available for much cheaper. When you register it, it’s much cheaper to buy .US or .info,.biz. So, that’s one of the reasons why. Google doesn’t really rank it as high as, potentially, a.com or.net,.org or something like that. Officially, Google says they don’t discriminate but, I’ve got to tell you, from what we’ve seen, we don’t see many competitors who have alternate domains. So, stick with.ca,.com,.net,.org. If you’re a business, I would, maybe, think twice about getting a .org or a .net but, that’s valid as well.

There’s something else that you need to consider. If you have a .ca, or .com, you should go and register what country your site is targeting and doing business in. You can do that in the Google webmaster tools. This is particularly important in Canadian sites. If you’ve chosen the .com, it makes a difference if you tell Google that you’re using a .com but you’re a Canadian site. That makes a difference and that’s something you have to do in Google Webmaster Tools. I’d also recommend using a hosting company in the same country as you’re doing business. This will have a minor effect as well but it’s worth doing and it’s easy to do. You probably are anyway but that’s worth noting.

We have many Canadian sites that rank for a while in half.com addresses. So, it doesn’t have to be .ca but just keep that in mind. .com, .ca, that’s going to be fine for you and, if you want, you can include the city name or you can include your main service in the domain name. For instance, if you’re doing, say, Manitoba, let’s say you’re doing lawn care Manitoba.com. That would be an effective domain name.

You’ve got some keywords in there but, again, it’s not going to kill you if you don’t have it. You know, if you want to just buy your companyname.com.ca, that’s fine too. But if you get some keywords in there that’s OK. It helps a little bit, like I said, not as much as he used to. And that’s really it. So, thanks for the great question. Have a good one.

Andrew Pototschnik is the founder of Lawn Care Marketing Expert, the largest online marketing agency in North America specializing in marketing strategies for the lawn care and landscaping industries.

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Service Autopilot
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