A while back I wrote about using subdomains to boost search rankings and targeted traffic.
I won’t cover all that was mentioned in this post. Sorry, you’ll have to read up.
Nevertheless, my wife and I were taking the boys on what we thought was a quick walk to the mailbox and back home.
Of course, we got to the mailbox and our boys put the puppy dog eyes on us. They wanted to walk a bit further than the half block we had walked to arrive at the neighborhood mailbox station.
And as the good parents we are, we obliged their request and continue around the block. 😀
As we turned the corner at the end of the block to make our way down the next street, I perked up a bit because my eyes focused in on a yellow and red van with blue writing.
There in blue printed texted on the side of the van read the following subdomain: Austin.MrElectric.com.
And you know what happened next, right? You know, I whipped out my phone and snapped a quick pick. 🙂
I couldn’t wait to finish up our walk and get back home in front of a computer with dual monitors to begin my research about Mr. Electric’s brand.
Although I could have used my iPhone and didn’t, I so desperately wanted to type in the subdomain to see where it would lead me.
Where did Austin.MrElectric.com resolve too?
To my surprise, Austin.MrElectric.com resolves to MrElectric.com/Austin. Wow, I was not ready for that.
I wonder if they’re measuring web traffic redirects from Austin.MrElectric.com to MrElectric.com/Austin?
Once the page loaded it was very much a branded website and page dedicated to a specific Mr. Electric Austin-based company.
There was nothing special about the site. It contained the usual text, pictures, contact info, videos and testimonials that a normal website of its caliber and industry would have in place.
And as usual, I started experimenting to see if I could replace Austin with other cities in the subdomain just to see where they lead too. No success.
Then I remembered. I went to google and typed in the following: site:mrelectric.com.
An amazing thing happened and I have proof to show it. The search returned a list of results for each of the index cities.
Just to confirm, I even typed in the following phrase: mr electric cities. Here’s the results of that search.
Most of the sites I visited, only visiting the first page results, are basic cookie cutter sites that are branded just like corporate MrElectric.com, yet there appears to be an option for custom content and widget selection.
The overall page look and feel is the same, but the content is somewhat unique for each city.
Why use a subdomain redirected to a directory or subdirectory?
Although it’s a clever marketing and advertising tactic, I could help but to think about the posed question.
After, the company did select a reasonable, short and memorable domain that includes their industry term at the broadest level.
It wasn’t until I explored their corporate website that the lightbulb went off for me. The MrElectric.com brand has built itself via Franchise Opportunities.
Said another way, MrElectric.com built itself a repeatable process and system as the expert electrical service.
As a part of being a franchisee, there is not a worry or concern about marketing. It’s the fact that MrElectric.com has built a proven model for success using both subdomains and subdirectories.
This alone allows a franchisee to focus on executing business and instead of hunting and gathering.
It’s a simple repeatable process that only depends on one domain name: MrElectric.com.
And because they own this one domain name and it’s broad in nature, the domain lends itself well to city subdomains and subdirectories.
Said another way, MrElectric.com doesn’t have to worry about the cost incurred with registering and managing a multitude of geo service domains.
This doesn’t mean that geo service domains are not valuable. What I’m stating is that MrElectricAustin.com and AustinMrElectric.com are NOT required purchases.
However, I do believe it’s smart to defensive register geo service domains that include your brand.
What if your customer saw the same van I encountered, but went home and inadvertently typed AustinMrElectric.com, forgetting the dot in between the words Austin and Mr?
Think about how often that may happen. Then, to make things worst, what if you competitor registered AustinMrElectric.com and forward to their domain? It does happen, unfortunately.
But, you could sue the involved parties for domain trademark violation by way of filing a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (URDP) for the domain name that includes your brand.
But again, this is more money and time expended in taking legal action instead of focus on executing business and serving your customers, which is why you’re in business in the first place, right?
Speaking of AustinMrElectric.com… I searched and it’s ranked!
Yes, AustinMrElectric.com is ranked across major search engines.
Of course, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. I tried the following search phrases and AustinMrElectric.com was ranked as follows:
- “licensed electrician austin” ranked 3rd
- “licensed electrician austin tx” ranked 5th
- “austin electrician” ranked 6th
- “austin tx electrician” ranked 6th
- “austin tx licensed electrician” ranked 4th
- “residential electrician” ranked 9th
- “licensed residential electrician austin” ranked 7th
In addition, AustinMrElectric.com also appears to be paying for PPC advertising too.
But what surprised me most is that AustinMrElectric.com appears to be owned by another franchisee with offices in South Austin.
Hmm, I guess it’s not bad because it is another MrElectric.com brother or sister franchisee. Or is it?
I mean, what if customers experienced the service based on Austin.MrElectric.com, yet wound up accidentally visiting AustinMrElectric.com because of what a search engine returned as it’s results?
How would this subtle mistake cost a business?
I know you’ve already visited AustinMrElectric.com (if not by now, then you’re going too). Personally, I like the Austin.MrElectric.com website over AustinMrElectric.com.
Why? Well, I like the fact that Austin.MrElectric.com’s website has more of a professional look and feel that does the outdated and somewhat sloppy look of AustinMrElectric.com’s website.
I wonder what the franchise cost of not going with the corporate brand is costing AustinMrElectric.com in business?
That cost number added to the monthly PPC bill, I’m certain it would be well worth the franchise cost of marketing in spades. It’s likely a drop in the bucket when truly compared.
And I didn’t forget about MrElectricAustin.com for those tracking along and wondering about it.
You don’t have wonder too long about it. MrElectricAustin.com is available for purchase.
Speaking of available domain names…
Once I saw that AustinMrElectric.com was registered, Austin-Electrician.com was ranked in search results and MrElectricAustin.com was available, it made me wonder what other domains are floating around out there either registered or available for the austin electrician market.
And here’s what I found for the Austin (also known as ATX) electrician market using the keywords electric, electrical, electrician, and electricians:
- AustinElectric.com (registered)
- AustinElectricians.com (registered)
- Austin-Electric.com (registered)
- AustinElectrical.com (registered)
- AustinElectricians.com (registered)
- ElectricATX.com (registered)
- ATXElectric.com (registered)
Which one(s): brandable, subdomain, directory, geo service domain or all of the above?
It’s likely that you can have success using any one of the mentioned in the posed question.
- Catchy and easy to remember
- Easy to spell
- Less than 15 characters in length
- Include broad industry keyword
- Preferably a .com
- Preferably doesn’t include a hyphen when possible
- Keep geo first when possible
Subdomains and directories are tricky when considering their usage.
Typically, you’ll want to use both subdomains and directories if you are the parent company extending your brand influence to children or franchisee businesses that operated separately, yet want to maintain the corporate look and feel.
Based on how and what little I know of the MrElectric.com brand, my belief is they choose to operate using both subdomains and directories for this reason.
Because they provide turn-key solutions with marketing support, using subdomains and directories for their franchises allows for a streamline approach to building their brand while serving their customers with a shared user experience and quality.
If you think your business is likely to have franchisees or comparable options, then I suggest researching domain names that afford you the opportunity for such future growth and flexibility.
As today’s thought comes to an end, I happened to encounter another Austin-based business that made it’s stake to prepending “Mr” to a two keyword business niche: Business Insurance.
Not only is it a reasonable business niche, but the second keyword is listed as one of the most common and expensive keywords: Insurance.
What industry’s next and ripe for another “Mr” plus broad keyword .com domain name?