KSL – A new measurement for domain length?


Most people will tell you a short domain is better, and usually more valuable than a longer one.

And there are usage parameters to back up this fact –

  • Shorter brands are easier to remember
  • Shorter words are used more often
  • Shorter URLs are more effective in SMO

And with the world going increasingly mobile, this makes sense too. But EMDs [exact match domains] can also be effective, and those are two/three word domains for the most part.

1. So how does one measure the length of the domain?

2. And will this change dramatically with newgTLDs?

As to the first question, the current method is to measure the domain left of the dot – as in SLD length.

Which means mwzd.com is a four letter domain and google.com is a six letter domain, and life is simple!

However, not all TLDs are created equal –

  • Original gTLDs & SLDs consist of three letters – .com / .pro / .tel or four letters – .info / .mobi
  • Second level ccTLDs consist of two letters – .in / .de / .ws
  • But there are ccTLDs which only allow registration at the third level and that can vary the length of the tld dramatically – .co.uk / .com.au / .co.nz / .co.in / .co.jp / .net.in / firm.in
  • Update: With the advent of new tlds the TLD part of which could be any length over 3 letters, this unit becomes even more relevant.

And to tackle exactly this dilemma we use KSL or Keystroke Length to evaluate domains.

Keystroke length is the number of keystrokes required to type out the domain.

So a ‘two letter .com’ is actually 6 KSL, as is a ‘three letter .in’.

mwzd.com is 8 KSL, google.com 10 KSL.

Which brings me to the second question, will the current method for calculating the ‘length’ of a domain change dramatically?

I don’t think so, people will start using KSL for all domains, specially given the widely varying lengths of newgTLDs, instead of only using SLD length as a metric.

Which actually might add an edge for newTLDs over existing three letter TLDs from a brand perspective.

We already use KSL, do you?


2 thoughts on “KSL – A new measurement for domain length?”

  1. “So a ‘two letter .com’ is actually 6 KSL, as is a ‘three letter .in”

    Which makes me wonder if KSL is even important.

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