SEO (Search Engine Optimization) used to be pretty simple back in the day, especially where domain names were concerned. Companies could use a domain as a keyword and still rank well despite not having relevant website content.
However, the days of using an Exact Match Domain as a keyword are over (i.e., companies buying a domain like longtailkeywordimrankingfor.com). Because of that practice, Google has significantly decreased the importance of your domain name in SEO. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s not an essential part of website optimization anymore.
Here are a few areas of your online presence where your domain might affect your website ranking:
Branding and Relevancy
Your brand is an integral part of your online presence. Depending on your industry, it might be a good idea to think of your brand before incorporating a keyword in the domain. Generally, you should be going for both brand and relevancy signals if possible.
If you choose a domain with a keyword, search engine results will show it as bolded. Eventually, that will associate your website with the selected keyword. However, having your brand name in the domain as well certainly helps with your branding efforts. For optimal SEO results, your domain should signal what your business is and showcase the name of your brand.
Now let me ask you a question. What sets you apart in an oversaturated market once you start ranking? On a high level of market competition, it’s the details that make the difference. In that case, picking the right domain could help you out immensely in the future.
If we look at SEO service agencies, we notice they all offer similar services. It is in part due to the industry — SEO is somewhat of the science of numbers, changing algorithms and best practices. When everyone’s work is based on the same theories and principles, it becomes pointless to try and rank with a domain like bestseoservices.com. Why? It doesn’t set you apart from what everyone else is doing.
Your domain name could be a powerful tool for differentiating your business from the competition. Of course, a unique element in the domain such as your brand name won’t be enough to improve your website ranking on its own. You’ll need to strengthen it with great content and good on-page SEO to see more significant results.
What Makes a Good Domain Name From an SEO Standpoint?
A lot depends on what your business is. Still, there are some practices you can’t go wrong with when it comes to better website ranking. The main one is getting a top-level-domain, such as .com, .org, .net, .co, .us, etc. Usually, .com is the best choice simply because most people will guess that’s what your domain ends with. Be effective with keywords — a partial match is fine, but your brand should be the main focus. Avoid hyphens and numbers, because they can create confusion. If possible, use less than 15 characters, and make it memorable!
You’ll be able to see the results of your website optimization and digital marketing efforts with time (4-6 months). If that’s too long to wait for you — contact me. We can discuss any SEO-related problems you might have, as well as PPC (pay per click) programs I offer.
Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Great Toronto Area with over 20 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.