What does buying a domain name mean
Checklist: What should be considered when buying a domain?
Before you buy your own domain, however, there are a few things you should consider. This includes in particular the consideration of trademark rights, but some considerations relating to SEO. We have put together all the important details about buying a domain for you as well as a checklist for you.
What is a domain anyway?
As domain is colloquially referred to as the domain name. Because originally a “domain”, i.e. an area in the Internet, only consists of an IP address. However, since it would be a bit too complicated for everyday Internet use to enter an IP address into the search bar every time, there are domain names made up of letters and digits. These are assigned to exactly one IP address via the so-called Domain Name System (DNS). The domain names in the DNS are administered by the registrars in different countries. In Germany, for example, DENIC is responsible for the registration and administration of domain names.
A complete domain is made up of three "levels":
- Top-Level-Domain (TLD): This is the domain ending, e.g. .de or .com.
- Second-level domain: This is the domain name, without the suffix or preceding domain.
- Third-level domain: The www. be in front of the domain name.
In order to use a domain name, it must be registered with the responsible registration authority. This is usually done via a web host who registers the domain for you. So that you can later create a website on your domain, you still need "web space". This is storage space on a server that can be accessed over the Internet via your domain.
Important aspects when buying a domain
Buying a domain is like buying land for a building. The domain is the basis for the website that you will set up there later. Basically, you should pay attention to the following aspects before buying a domain.
In most cases, the domain will be the buyer's brand name or company name. Since your domain can later be reached worldwide with your website, you should definitely check whether your domain name corresponds to a registered brand name, contains a protected term or is very similar to a brand.
This is how you do it:
- Simply enter your desired domain name into Google. Based on the search results, you will quickly see whether a company is already working with this name and whether there is already a similar domain.
- Use the entry-level search of the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA).
- This allows you to quickly find out whether your domain name (with or without a domain extension) has already been registered as a trademark.
- For larger web projects, it can be helpful to get support from a lawyer who specializes in trademark law.
Purpose of the website
When choosing the domain name, the purpose of the web project linked to it can be important. Do you want to set up an information site or an online shop? Is it about a regionally oriented site or an international one? For a web shop, the word “shop” in the domain name may make sense, while a news page can also contain the term “news” in the domain name. However, this is more about questions of taste.
The domain name is only part of your new domain. It also contains a domain extension. Before buying, you should think about which ending makes sense for you. If you offer goods mainly in Germany in an online shop, the domain ending .de is recommended. If you want to align your offer primarily internationally, the generic top-level domain .com or .org can make sense. It is especially important when choosing the country-specific domain extensions that you pay attention to possible requirements.
The costs for a domain can be very different. So much sought-after domain names can quickly cost several thousand euros.
When choosing a domain name, keep in mind that not all characters can be displayed without problems in all countries. This applies, for example, to umlauts as well as to the ß.
.com or .de - do domain extensions play a role in SEO?
For a long time, certain domain endings were considered an “insider tip” for SEOs. In fact, top-level domains have no influence on rankings, as John Mueller already explained in an FAQ on the new ones introduced at the time. In addition, according to Mueller, keywords do not play a ranking-relevant role for TLDs:
- “Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search. " (
However, John Mueller pointed out the relevance of country-specific top-level domains. They give Google important information about geo-targeting. A domain with the .de ending will therefore rank better in the German version of the Google search than a domain with the same content with the .fr ending.
John Mueller said:
- “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. " (
In addition, it must be added at this point that it is of course more likely that a user from Germany will click on a domain with .de in the search results rather than a .fr domain. Thus, when it comes to geotargeting, Google is clearly geared towards user behavior or user needs.
However, this does not prove whether certain domain endings like .info can increase the click rates in the SERPs in relation to information pages and thus become an important signal for users.
Summarized: The domain ending is not really relevant to the ranking for 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 fantasy name - does the domain name affect the ranking?
Anyone who buys and registers a new domain mainly uses their company name for it. Your domain name becomes part of your brand name. At the same time, it does not matter for the ranking whether you use special keywords in the domain name. Rather, deciding whether your domain name should contain keywords is a marketing decision.
In this way, certain key terms in the brand / domain name can provide a higher recognition value for users. Well-known examples would be mytaxi.de or deliveroo.com.
But also 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 screws and you name the domain schraub-shop.de, you are limited to these products. If you want to expand your range later, a fantasy name will help.
Also keep in mind that a later domain move because of a new name is associated with a lot of effort, depending on the size of the page. In addition to increased marketing expenses, you also have to accept possible ranking losses when changing domains.
Checklist: This is how you go about buying a domain
- Find a name: Find a brand name or domain name that is easy to remember. Basically, the shorter the better.
- Check trademark rights: Check whether the name you want is already a registered trademark or whether the name is already being used by another provider. A Google search or a request to the DPMA can help.
- Check whether the domain is free: Then check whether your domain name is still available. You can carry out such a test with a web host such as Checkdomain, Strato or others.
- Register multiple domain extensions: It is advisable to reserve multiple TLDs for your domain name at the same time. In this way you prevent your domain from being bought with a different ending by a competitor or other users.
- Search for a web host and configure the domain there: Now search for a web host. You can then project your domain and create a website.
- Renew your domain in good time: Remember to renew your domain in good time. If you forget that, it will expire and someone else can buy it. Usually, however, domains are automatically renewed.
Buying a domain is not a spontaneous decision and should be carefully considered by you. In addition to legal aspects, marketing-specific considerations also play an important role. In addition, you should align your domain with the market in which you want to be active. You cannot directly influence rankings by choosing the domain name. However, the click rates in the SERPs can be increased with certain domain endings or keywords relevant to your target group.
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