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Domain-ating the news – How your domain could hit the headlines

By Tim Fuell - April 1, 2014
Image courtesy of patrisyu - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of patrisyu – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s the first thing you do when you hear a news story on the radio, tv or perhaps overhear a conversation that interests you? Google it? Whether it is Google or another search engine, the chances are you use your smartphone, tablet or possibly laptop or desktop to search for the keyword you just heard. It’s almost instinctive. Even watching a historical drama on TV the other day I took to Wikipedia mid-show to find a little more about the historical revelation I had just witnessed. Why? Because, I can.

With a bit of forward thinking and a smidgen of creativity you could be using that ‘searchable value’ to your advantage when building your domain name portfolio. Of course, if you could see into the future, buying up domains would probably not be top of your priority list, but just having a bit of a think about what topics have a high probability of becoming popular in a few months could see you with a valuable piece of cyberspace on your hands – whether for driving traffic to your own website or for potential domain name re-sale.

So how can you cash-in on this modern phenomenon? Here’s a few pointers:

Think medium to long-term

Buying domains on current trends are unlikely to pull in the return you hope. Building up authenticity and authority in SEO terms takes time and the ‘trend’ or ‘buzz’ could well be over before you even have time to drive traffic to a website. Look ahead a season or so. Have a look back at previous trends and see how they developed. Is there a pattern in a particular field that you may be able to take advantage of?

Be generic. Don’t infringe others’ rights

Domain grabbing for big sporting events or actors and actresses may seem a non-brainer but the law is a protector to other people’s brands and you can’t just piggy-back on somebody else’s success. Cybersquat at your own peril. That tiny ‘clever’ investment could see you hit with massive lawyers fees and many unsettling moments, so avoid being tempted by brand-hijacking and instead think more generic, such as in terms of actions people carry out, or things that describe events without a specific name.

Understand how people search

Use Google’s keyword tools to understand how and why people appear to use search engines to look for information. You may be surprised. Searching online is different from looking something up in a traditional encyclopaedia and how people search on the move or mobile is different from how they may use a desktop search. The majority of these reactionary searches you are looking to capitalise in on will be mobile or tablet searches so focus your study there.

OK, so spotting a potential trend in search traffic is unlikely to let you retire to a tropical island, but having a brainstorm, doing some research and just considering the possibilities will at the very least provide you with a greater understanding of how people use the internet and search in particular and that will only be an advantage when building your own businesses.