Tutorial: How to Find the Most Valuable Domains in New TLDs in 10 Minutes (With Template)

New top-level domains (TLDs) are launching every week for the next couple of years. In each new TLD, a small fraction of domain names are more valuable than others based on end user search volume and advertiser interest.

Can you figure out the next most valuable domain name that hasn’t been reserved by the registry and register it before other investors or end users?

This tutorial walks you through one process for finding valuable domain names for registration using keyword search volume and advertiser competition.

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Can you figure out the next most valuable domain name that hasn’t been reserved by the registry and register it before other investors or end users?

This tutorial walks you through one process for finding valuable domain names for registration using keyword search volume and advertiser competition.

I have three short sponsor messages before we get into today’s show.

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Michael Cyger: Hey everyone. My name is Michael Cyger, and I’m the Publisher of DomainSherpa.com.

As the Internet expands with hundreds of new top-level domains coming online in the next couple of years, domain name investors will continue to be on the lookout for the opportunity to register valuable assets.

Wouldn’t it be great to own pizza.nyc, stock.photos, seattle.hotel, buy.music, or shop.online? In reality, however, you’ll likely never have the chance.

Just like in gambling where the casino has the advantage over gamblers, the registry too has the advantage over domain name investors. The registries have already determined which domain names are most valuable and either placed a high price tag on them, or they will not allow them to be registered at all. They can hold back some of the most valuable domain names for regulatory reasons, auction, development, partnerships and marketing promotions.

While ICANN prohibits the registration of certain domains, like two-letters, names on the collision list, and certain other words, this is not an open invitation for registries to hold back everything they want. Registries are allowed to reserve 100 domain names, so they perform an analysis and try to figure out which will be most valuable and/or most strategic to their company in the future.

So the question for domain name investors then becomes: can you figure out the next most valuable domain name that hasn’t been reserved by the registry and register it before anyone else?

This tutorial walks you through one process for finding valuable domain names for registration using keyword search volume and advertiser competition.

The nine step process is straightforward.

1. Pick a top-level domain name you’d like to analyze
2. Search on the Google Adwords Keyword Planner for keyword phrases that include the top-level domain
3. Export the results to Excel
4. Determine the rows that have the keyword present in the proper order
5. Sort by competition high to low
6. Focus on those with a high advertising suggested bids
7. Verify the results on Google
8. Verify no trademark issues
9. Register the domain name in general availability

Let’s walk through the process on screen.

[Step 1]

First, look at what top-level domains (TLDs) are being released for general availability this week using the Calzone.org website, or follow the industry blogs like TheDomains.com, DomainIncite.com or DomainNameWire.com. If you budget allows registrations at higher price points, you can target pre-registration or an Early Access Program.

[Step 2]

Once you have a TLD selected, sign into the Google Adwords Keyword Planner by going to http://www.google.com/adwords and click the Sign In link. If you don’t have an account, you can click the Get started now button.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we’re going to use the .PICS top-level domain. .PICS is similar to the to the already-launched .PHOTOS and soon-to-be-launched .PHOTO top-level domains.

In the “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas” input box, type the TLD without the period. In this case, I’ll type “pics”. Select any geographic targeting you desire. For this tutorial, I’ll leave the targeting on United States. If you TLD targets another country, such as .Berlin, you may want to change or add countries.

In the “Include/Exclude” input box, type “pics” in the “Only include keywords containing the following terms” box to prevent the system from including similar or related words as we’re looking only for keyword search volume that includes the word “pics.”

I want to point out that when Google refers to “keywords” they mean both “keywords” and “keyword phrases”. Searching for “pics” will return search volume results for both “pics” and “cute pics”, for example.

Click the “Get ideas” button.

On the next screen, click the “Keyword ideas” tab. Click the “Avg. monthly searches” column to sort in descending order – that way the keywords with the highest search volume will be at the top of the list. In this case, there were 720 keyword phrase suggestions.

[Step 3]

Click the “Download” button and save in Excel CSV format.

[Step 4]

Open the downloaded file in Microsoft Excel, or import into another spreadsheet tool. Maniputate the file to show the columns for keyword, monthly search volume, competition and suggested bid.

After the keyword column, add a column that includes the following formula:

This will show/highlight/list only those keyword phrases that include the TLD as the last word in the phrase. For example, “cute pics” would be included, but not “pics of Theo James”.

I threw that last example in for my daughter who thinks Theo James is cute and is always searching for pics of Theo James.

I’ll provide the formula below. Be sure to change A2 in the formula to point to the proper cell before you populate it downward in the spreadsheet.

You may only want to see keyword suggestions for rows that have two words, like “something pics”. To show the number of words in the cell (and correspondingly, the number of words in the keyword phrase) use:
=IFERROR(IF(SEARCH(” pics”,A2)>0,IF(LEN(TRIM(A2))=0,0,LEN(TRIM(A2))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,” “,””))+1),””),””)

Again, I’ll provide the formula below. Be sure to change A2 in the formula to point to the proper cell before you populate it downward in the spreadsheet.

You can then sort by the number of words ascending and only consider keyword rows with a numeric value of 2.

[Step 5]

Sort the data by competition high to low. Focus on the keywords with the highest competition, suggested bid and search volume to meet your investing criteria. Every investor will have different criteria for what they consider to be a valuable domain name, and it is not the intent of this tutorial to guide you in this respect.

[Step 6]

I’m going to sort, delete, resort, delete and select some domain names that I think might be valuable for the purpose of this tutorial. I delete rows so I don’t get confused on what’s valuable and what’s not.

You may want to copy the worksheet to a new tab before deleting any rows so you can maintain a copy of the original results.

[Step 7]

Once you have your list of valuable keywords that could be great domain name investments, type them into Google to verify that they in fact have advertisers associated with the keyword. Consider deleting any keywords that don’t show advertisers. But note: in some cases, Google Adwords may provide data that is outdated or calendar cyclical (like the pending .CHRISTMAS TLD).

[Step 8]

Next visit Trademark247.com and type in the keyword phrases to see if any results are returned that might conflict with prior registrations. (Note, this is not an exhaustive due diligence process for registering domain names, but it is a step in the right direction.)

[Step 9]

If all looks good, then you now have a complete list to work from when the appropriate time (i.e. EAP or general availability) arrives.

In some cases, analysis by leading blogs might reveal what domain names the registry has reserved for their own use. For example, Mike Berkens at TheDomains.com completed an analysis of the .PICS zone file on April 6, 2014, (a week before general availability) and determined you will not be able to register any of these domain names.

A small fraction of domain names are more valuable than others based on end user search volume and advertiser interest. Knowing which domain names best fit this criteria as well as which domain names are held back by the registry provides a clear opportunity for which domain names you can register.

The only thing left to do is determine at what price you should acquire the available domain names, and figure out a game plan to have quick fingers and register them as soon as possible at the appropriate time.

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25 Responses to “Tutorial: How to Find the Most Valuable Domains in New TLDs in 10 Minutes (With Template)”

  1. Karl says:

    Hey Michael

    Great info, video, mp3 and pdf – wow! You should have made it into a product :)

    Just want to clarify something. About google search and what it indexes and what we need to enter in the keyword planner. Let’s say for instance “domain.xyz”, what gets index? The whole domain name or just “domain”. In the keyword planner, do we search for “domain” as the keyword and “xyz” in the include/ exclude?

    Thanks buddy!

    1. Hi Karl,

      In this tutorial, we’re searching the extensions for search volume. So at 5:39 of the video, I enter “pics” because I want to know what second level domains to register for the .pics top-level domain that was launched this year.

      If you’re trying to search for the volume of the keyword “domain” of “domain.xyz” then you’d just search for the word “domain” (without quotes) using the keyword planner. Here’s a tutorial for that: https://www.domainsherpa.com/google-adwords-keyword-planner/

      Best regards,

  2. Marko says:

    Fantastic stuff Michael, learnt alot with this video, thank you for taking the time out to make it.

  3. Mark says:

    Really good stuff. I used a similar formula when deciding which premium gTLD’s to purchase.

    Ended up with a couple of hundred that based on Adwords search criteria are truly exceptional. Funny that sometimes the ones that I thought would be good, turned out to be far less searched than I imagined. Definitely helpful to ‘qualify’ your purchases.

    Ended up investing in domains like Career.Training & Higher.Education because I vetted their value prior to purchasing.

  4. Jens Weegar says:


    This is great tutorial for smart analyses. I will use it (or a similar approach).

    Have a great day!

  5. John says:

    I have the best system for registering domains in new TLDs
    I ignore all new TLDs,

  6. Claude says:

    Excellent video Michael. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You bet, Claude. Glad you found it useful. Thanks for commenting.

  7. gary says:

    Hi MIchael,

    Great tutorial… Having trouble with both formulas first one i get NAME as the out put and the second i get and formula error.. I’m using excel for MAC..



    1. Zac Zarev says:

      Same here. My workaround was to create another column that is the result of multiplying the Searches, Competition and CPC. Then selecting the entire range and then doing a sort by the newly created column. You could consider weighting the Competition column, before multiplying, if you wanted to. However, keywords that aren’t competitive now, may be so in the future; especially if you focus on the tech areas as I do.

      Anyway the above workaround doesn’t filter the number of words to two or check that the GTLD is ordered last; but should get you through, until the bug is fixed.

      1. Zac Zarev says:

        Actually, on second thoughts, to weight it by Competition, it would be correctly done as follows:

        SortedCell = SearchCell x (CompetitionCell^WeightingFactor) x CPCCell

        with WeightingFactor being a number greater than one (ie 2).

        1. That’s a great way to look at the data too. Thanks for sharing, Zac.

    2. Thanks for letting me know of this issue, Gary. Unfortunately, when WordPress “encodes” the text of the article, it changes some of the quotes to special quotes. If you replace all the quotation marks with the standard quote character, the “#NAME” error will disappear.

      I’ve also uploaded my sample spreadsheet, which can be used as a template for your needs. It’s above.

  8. Elevator says:

    Mike, you have done a great job. in fact my kudos up for you. But Mike I want to make these clarifications; did you say “focus on the keywords with the highest competition” Don’t you think that makes it hard for domains to rank well? Don;t you think the low competition is better for ranking. Please let’s have your impute on this idea.which is better? Thanks and cheers.

  9. albert says:

    Sorry, meant to say that:

    You should have had Rick (A.K.A. The Domain King) Co-Host with you.

  10. albert says:

    You should have had Rick (A.K.A. Co-Host)

  11. tony t. says:

    Awesome tutorial! I’d love to see more like this, Michael. Keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks, Tony. Appreciate the feedback.

  12. Zac Zarev says:

    Great work Michael!

    1. Thanks, Zac. I appreciate you posting a comment.

  13. Kassey says:

    Trademark247’s FAQ page says “Trademark247.com collects data from the USPTO office into a centralized database.” So I assume they are basically the same.

    1. Trademark247.com was developed by the team at Estibot.com. It’s a much better user interface — and in my opinion — is easier to use, read and link-to when you need to discuss a mark with your attorney.

  14. Kassey says:

    Very timely talk on how to select new gTLD domain names! Mark Hershiser has written something similar. You can read his blogs dated Mar 24, 28 & Mar 31, 2014 on Domain Picks for details.

    Michael, I normally use http://www.uspto.gov to check TM. I just tried Trademark247.com but could see the difference. Which is better according to your experience?

    1. Kassey says:

      I meant “could not see any difference”

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