A good business domain name can say a lot in just a few characters.
While you generally want your domain name to be a shorter variant of your full business or brand name—the two don’t have to be the exact same—it is often beneficial to also give your customers an idea about where you’re located.
While we know that Canadians trust a domain ending with .CA is a symbol for a business that serves Canadians, sometimes it is helpful to be even more specific. If that’s the case, here are a few ideas based on trends we’ve seen in domain name registrations.
Let’s start with the obvious, you can add a full city/town name (e.g. “Burnaby” or “Charlottetown”) to very clearly indicate the market you serve.
One downside is that this can make your domain name quite long, which just doesn’t look as nice on a business card.
Moving on to some more creative options…
The switch to 10-digit dialling popularized area codes, but let’s face it, Drake made them iconic.
There are plenty of businesses and blogs that use area codes, here are some examples:
- : “An award-winning blog dedicated to uncovering the best of Ottawa’s arts and culture.”
- : “Sustainable urban beekeeping.”
- : “A blog, pop-up market, and online shop dedicated to supporting and curating the best local artists, crafters, makers, and businesses.”
With just three memorable digits, you can indicate your location while keeping your domain name short and sweet.
What’s the deal with airport codes in domain names? Like area codes, they will only take up three characters in your domain name and are a memorable way to name your local business.
Digging into our domain data, I found there are about 5,000 .CA’s that contain airport codes. Admittedly, this figure contains the actual airport websites themselves as well as a few flukey false positives (something like YOWzacoffee.ca, which is at this time not registered, although in my opinion would be a great name for an Ottawa-based coffee company).
Interestingly, the top two airport codes found in .CA domains are YYC for Calgary and YEG for Edmonton. Here are a few examples:
- veginyyc.ca: “one of the top Plant Based & Gluten Free takeout café’s in Calgary.”
- : “Local bakery, simple ingredients, small-batch baking.”
- : “Edmonton’s best burger joint.”
I haven’t spent too much time out west; for those who have, have you noticed this business name trend?
P.S. If you are interested in learning more about the history of airport codes, feel free to check out this very entertaining blog post.
Many Canadian cities and towns have unofficial nicknames that are used locally like Cowtown (Calgary) or Hogtown (Toronto).
This is a good option if you’re looking for something a little for tongue-in-cheek or a catchy alliterative domain likebytownbites.ca.
A .CA domain
If your business falls under the hyper-local category such as a florist, a barbershop or a restaurant; or serves nationwide like viarail.ca or indigo.ca, the easiest domain name decision you can make is to the right of the dot (also known as the top-level domain).
Choosing .CA for the top-level domain says, “Hey, my business is in Canada,” with just two letters. You can see what kinds of domains are available right here:
Two final notes on including locations in domain names
1. Consider how future-proof your domain is.
If you’re going to expand your market from just Toronto to all of Ontario, maybe this is something that will weigh in on your final domain name decision.
If you grow more than you originally anticipated, you might proudly keep the location as a part of your business’ identity. And even if you want to do a rebrand, it’s no biggie, you can always change your domain.
If you plan on expanding outside of Canada, it's a good idea to go ahead register a .CA as well as other relevant top-level domains. Big brands often keep a portfolio of domain names.
2. What’s the connection with a domain and SEO?
Otherwise put, does adding a location keyword bump up your website listing when people perform searches? That’s a really good question, and unfortunately, one that doesn't have a straightforward answer, but we can point you to two helpful articles:
- Experts from seoplus+ dug into the SEO advantages of a .CA domain name
- On Moz’s domains page, they explain search engines use the root domain as a ranking factor, but discourage from keyword stuffing