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I've finally come up with a domain name that I like and is available. The name is nonsensical and doesn't translate into anything meaningful in any language, as far as I know.

It's something like "FOOBARite". (Don't steal that!)

I'm wondering about a few search issues. Results-wise, searching for it in Google currently returns about 15k results, none of which are relevant (dead Twitter pages, various unpopular online handles, and botched french translations).

However, Google starts off with a spelling suggestion, which removes a letter. ("Did you mean: FOOBARit?")

That returns about 250k results for several different and unrelated websites/organizations by that name. One is some technology provider, another is a sign-language organization, another is the name of a font... None of them seem particularly popular, there's not that much activity on any of those pages.

Anyway, the two are pronounced differently, they're just a letter off. Should I go with my idea or is this one-letter variation going to cause me problems? If my site becomes ranked well enough, will Google's spelling suggestion go away? I don't want users to search for my site name and be told they've spelled it wrong.

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Should I go with my idea or is this one-letter variation going to cause me problems?

Persistence pays off - you can rank well for most any domain name that you're willing to market, but there are a number of problems (primarily problems for off-line marketing) which stem from using a nonce word for your domain.

Ideally, your domain name should reflect the purpose of your site, be easy to spell (no number/letter/punctuation confusion), and be unique enough that you will not have to compete with too many other sites for top ranking on your site's name.

If my site becomes ranked well enough, will Google's spelling suggestion go away?

Yes, but, as has been the case with my last name (try a search for "lefree") you might see some "irrelevant" results returned even after you've established your domain as an actual word.

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youtube.com/watch?v=9erSvwVHiQM In addition to this answer, there is a video by Matt Cutts answering a similar question to mine. –  Corey Feb 6 '11 at 19:37
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Everything @danelfree said is spot on. Confusing to spell or pronounce sites are usually the the worst ones to register.

I found this out the hard way once. When you think about the name say it out loud a bunch and share the name with your friends but say it fast or slow or on the phone. See how people misinterpret it. The last thing you want is a website that people either totally don't understand or that sounds like something risque (assuming that you aren't going for risque).

Remember your domain name is one of your strongest keywords. So if you can find a name that is even semi-relevant it might be helpful.

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The variation would have to be very obvious and something easily remembered, or it will just cause you trouble. Even having it "right" can be an issue.

For example, my freelance writing business is ArcticLlama, LLC with the domain name arcticllama.com. After a year in business I had to go register articllama.com because people are so prone to misspelling "arctic" without the first 'c'.

On the other hand, the real spelling of "google" is "googol". In that case, the variation is actually easier to remember because it follows the spelling "rules" people are used to.

In other words, unless your variation really makes sense to people and will stick in their minds without you having to point it out to them, you might be shooting yourself in the foot.

As far as ranking goes, if you buy into the theory that your domain name is part of the ranking, then you won't get "credit" for the alternate spelling.

Even if you don't believe that your domain name is part of the algorithm, when people link to foobarite.com, they'll be increasing your authority for foobarite and not for foobarit. Not that I think either actually makes that much difference to Google, but there are those that disagree.

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