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I've been asked to build a "landing page" for a local branch of an international corporation. While the corporation has a well-established domain name, the local office wants to use a unique, separate url that will be easy for them to relay to clients. However, the corporation is considered a category leader, so the local office is also concerned about the importance to carrying over the company's brand to the URL.

Questions that have arisen:

  1. From an SEO perspective, is there a benefit to including the brand name in the URL?
  2. Would it be more beneficial to buy a domain that relates generically to the INDUSTRY as opposed to the specific brand name?
  3. Would the benefits of an easy-to-remember, short domain outweigh any SEO benefits that might be gained by a longer, brand-specific domain?
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is more a business strategy decision than an SEO decision.

  • Will the local office leverage the brand as a major part of the marketing?
  • Is the industry closely associated with the brand, i.e. Kleenex?
  • Does the local office want or need to differentiate itself from the parent brand?
  • Will the local office compete with the parent brand in any way?
  • Does the local office have any other objective business reasons for having a separate URL other than making it easy to share?

Answering some of those questions should help bring more clarity to the issue. From what you've written in your question, though, this is a case where I would seriously consider using a subdomain, http://local.example.com.

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Thanks virtuosi. Unfortunately, subdomain isn't an option at this time as Corporate moves at the speed of.....well, let's just say speed isn't an accurate description of how fast they move. The brand name isn't something as synonymous as Kleenex, though the corporate brand is #1 by leaps and bounds over the nearest competitor. The local office wishes to maintain the corporate brand and won't compete in any way. I guess the million dollar question is whether having a term related to the industry will have better SEO affects than having the brand in the URL. –  bpeterson76 Sep 28 '10 at 19:08
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Use the Google Keyword tool to see what customers are searching for more, the brand, industry or a specific product and then go with that. –  Virtuosi Media Sep 28 '10 at 19:55
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Also remember that it's not necessarily an 'either/or' decision. You could register both domains, build the site on the longer one with the better SEO value and redirect the shorter human-friendly domain to it.

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Ty, true, and that's certainly an option that will be floated. However, given the corporate "slow" culture, it may be something that's rolled out after the initial concept and benefits have been proven. –  bpeterson76 Sep 28 '10 at 19:09
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Another option is to use a little trick to make your URL more memorable.

If you were creating a URL and wanted to take advantage of your corporate domain, which might be IBM, but couldn't get corporate to approve or act upon creating the subdomain, you could buy the domain you wanted, say SuperProduct.com and then add IBM as the host, or subdomain.

You would end up with IBM.SuperProduct.com.

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