« Back to front page

What to Watch out for When Buying a Domain

When buying a new domain, there are lots of factors to think about. Find out all of the important details about purchasing a new domain in this article.

There are now well over 300 million domains worldwide (Source). So, if you decide to buy a new domain, this will become the basis for one of many billions of pages that are available on the world wide web. However, before you buy your own domain, there are a few things you need to consider. Trademark rights are one of the most important things you need to think about, but there are also a few factors that could impact your SEO. Here, we have compiled all of the important details required for a domain purchase, including a useful checklist.

What is a domain?

A "domain" is the common term used for the domain name. Originally, a "domain", or an area on the internet, was composed only of an IP address. However, as it would be too complicated for daily internet use to enter an IP address in the search bar each time, there are domain names consisting of letters and digits. These are assigned to exactly one IP address via the so-called Domain Name System (DNS). Domain names in the DNS are managed by registrars in different countries.

A complete domain consists of three "levels":

  • Top-Level-Domain (TLD): This is the domain extension, for example, .uk or .com.

  • Second-level domain: This is the domain name, without extension and preceding domain.

  • Third-level domain: This can be the www. before the domain name.

To use a domain name, it must be registered with the respective registry. This is usually done through a web host who registers the domain for you. To create a website on your domain later, you need "web space". This is basically storage space on a server that can be reached using the internet and your domain.

Important aspects to keep in mind when purchasing a domain

Purchasing a domain can be compared to purchasing land for building. The domain is the basis for the website you will set up there later on. Before buying a domain, you should always pay careful attention to the following aspects.

Trademark rights:

In most cases, the domain corresponds to the brand name or company name of the buyer. Since your domain name will later be accessible worldwide through your website, you should make sure your domain name corresponds to a registered brand name, contains a protected term or is very similar to a trademark.

This is how you do it:

  • Enter your desired domain name on Google. You will quickly see from the search results whether a company already has this name and whether a similar domain already exists.

  • Use the entry search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • This allows you to quickly find out whether your domain name (with or without domain extension) has already been registered as a trademark.

  • For larger web projects it can be helpful to consult with a lawyer who specializes in trademark law.

Purpose of the website

For choosing your domain name, the purpose of the web project that will later be linked to it can be important. Do you want to create an information website or an online shop? Does the site focus on a region or is it an international one? For an online shop, the word "shop" in the domain name may be useful, but a news page could include the term "news" in the domain name. However, this is mostly a matter of taste.

Domain extensions

The domain name is only part of your new domain. It also contains a domain extension. Before you make the purchase, you should consider which extension makes sense for you. If you are selling goods or services in an online shop mainly in the UK, the domain extension .uk is recommended. If you want to sell your products or services internationally, the generic top-level domain .com or .org makes sense. When choosing country-specific domain extensions, it is particularly important that you are aware of any relevant requirements.


The costs for a domain can vary considerably. Highly coveted domain names can easily cost several thousand dollars.

Characters used

When selecting a domain name, keep in mind that not all characters can be displayed correctly, in particular special characters or letters with accents.

.com or .uk - do domain extensions play a role in SEO?

For a long time, certain domain extensions were considered an "insider tip" for SEOs. In fact, top-level domains have no influence on rankings, as John Mueller explained in the FAQ on the new TLDs introduced at that time. Furthermore, according to Mueller, keywords do not play a relevant role when it comes to the rankings of TLDs:

Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not offer any advantage or disadvantage in a search. (Source)

However, John Mueller has emphasized the relevance of country-specific top-level domains. They give Google important information for geotargeting. Thus, a domain with a .de ending in the German version of the Google search will rank better than a domain with the same content with a .fr extension.

John Mueller commented:

"By default, most ccTLDs […] result in Google using these to geotarget the website; it tells us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country. (Source)"

In addition, it must be added that it is of course more likely that a user from the UK will click on a domain with .uk in the search results rather than a .de domain, for example. Thus, when geotargeting, Google clearly focuses on user behavior and user needs.

However, this does not prove whether certain domain extensions such as .info can increase the click rates in SERPs with regard to information pages and thus become an important indicator for users.

In summary: The domain extension is not really relevant when it comes to the ranking of generic TLDs. However, Google can use country-specific TLDs for geotargeting the website and thus, better assign the page to a country-specific Google search.

Keyword domain or imaginative name - does the domain name affect the ranking?

Anyone who buys and registers a new domain will primarily use their company name. Your domain name becomes part of your brand name. At the same time, it does not matter whether you use special keywords in the domain name when it comes to your ranking. It is more of a marketing decision whether your domain name should contain keywords or not.

For example, certain keywords in the brand/domain name can provide a higher recognition value for users, for example deliveroo.com.

However, keep in mind that you are limited with a keyword domain as far as the offer is concerned. For example, if you set up an online shop for sofas and name the domain sofa-shop.com, you are limited to this product. If you want to expand your range later on, a less specific name would be better.

Also, keep in mind that relocating a domain when renaming is very time-consuming, depending on the size of the website. Besides an increased effort for marketing, this could negatively affect your rankings.

Checklist: Buying a domain

  • Name search: Search for a catchy brand or domain name. In general, the shorter the better.

  • Check trademark rights: Check if the name you want is already a registered trademark or if the name is already used by another provider. A Google search or a search on the USPTO can help.

  • Check if the domain is free: Then check if your domain name is still available. You can perform such a check on a web hosting site, such as Checkdomain, Strato or similar providers.

  • Register multiple domain extensions: It is recommended to reserve several TLDs for your domain name. This is how you can prevent your domain with a different extension from being purchased by a competitor or other users.

  • Search for web host and create domains there: Now search for a web host. You can then setup your domain and create a website.

  • Renew your domain on time: Remember to renew your domain in a timely manner. If you do forget this, it will expire and someone else will be able to purchase it. As a general rule, however, domains are automatically renewed.


The purchase of a domain is not a decision you should make on the spur of the moment, but one that needs to be well thought out. In addition to the legal aspects, marketing-specific considerations also play an important role here. Additionally, you should focus your domain on the market in which you are going to be active. You cannot directly influence rankings through the selection of a domain name. However, the click rates in the SERPs can be increased with certain domain extensions or keywords relevant to your target group.

Ryte users gain +93% clicks after 1 year. Learn how!

Published on Jul 9, 2018 by Philipp Roos