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For example damnler.com vs damnlr.com.

What are the differences in terms of SEO? Do search engines treat these differently in any way?

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What are the differences in terms of SEO?

Shortening a domain name by just a few characters has no SEO benefit.

Do search engines treat these differently in any way?

This really depends on what your brand name is: damnler or damnlr. If your brand name becomes well-known, then search engines might associate your brand name as a keyword, as they now do with popular sites like Amazon and Twitter. Prior to their popularization on the Internet, searching on those terms would have returned different results.

Shortening a brand name would be unwise because users would have difficulty remembering and typing your domain into browsers. That would of course lead to less traffic, and less probability of search engines eventually recognizing it as a brand name.

If on the other hand the shortened version is a common misspelling of the brand name, then it might be wise to register it as well and redirect it to the correctly spelled one. Unless the brand name became a very popular search term, search engines would not suggest other differently spelled versions of it in their results, so doing so would ensure those common misspellings don't result in lost traffic.

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  • If you want to make the short version your brand name, that can be fine too. It works well for Tumblr. Jan 19, 2014 at 11:05
  • @dan thank you:) and what if your brand is new but you can get full domain for it and you have to choose by getting a .net or a shortner .com ? like for example suprmazz.com or supermazz.net
    – itsme
    Jan 19, 2014 at 15:22
  • @HugeNut No problem. I'm assuming you meant "can't get the full domain for it..." Search engines like Google treat .com and .net the same, so that becomes a question of which is more recognizable to users and better for brand building. If it's a commercial site, then users would be more apt to remember and guess that the brand had a .com. These days, uniqueness instead of having full words is also fine (e.g., "flickr.com"). So either would work, but the recognition that comes with a .com would be the conventional choice when it comes to building brands.
    – dan
    Jan 20, 2014 at 0:55
  • No problem - good luck! :-)
    – dan
    Jan 20, 2014 at 8:24

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