Does Domain Matter for SEO?

You own a business, and you’re looking to expand your reach. Naturally, you decide to launch a website. As you consider the next step in the process, somewhere along the way you think about a domain name. Search engine optimization—or SEO—and social media marketing are both affected by the domain name you choose. This is why it’s vital you make the right choice.

Does a domain name matter for SEO? The answer isn’t simple. In the past, many people experienced positive SEO results due to domain name, but this isn’t exactly the case today. Let’s investigate the mysterious relationship between SEO and domain names so you can make the right choice for your business.

Know your keywords, but don’t let them control your choice for a domain name

Much has changed in the SEO world as search engines continue to roll out updates to their algorithms, rewarding sites that adhere to their hundreds of ranking factors. At one time, keywords were much more important than they are today.

It’s definitely still important to know the keywords that will bring people to your site. But it’s also important to understand that keywords aren’t everything since they’re not the most important factor in choosing a domain name.

At one time, using an exact keyword as the domain name was a huge ranking factor. So if you purchased purchased, you ranked for the search term “New York City Pizza Shop". This used to be an effective strategy when it came to domain name SEO.

Today, however, this isn’t the best strategy because of search engine updates. You can still use keywords in domain names — especially if those websites are working well for you — but if you’re just starting out, you have a lot more to consider than just your domain.

Some of our client Successes

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“We measure our success by how much we WOW our clients.”

Bill Craig
WebFX President

Bill Craig
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Domain name SEO

the most important factor isn't keywords, it's identification

Domain names are only one tiny part of what makes an effective SEO strategy. On the one hand, choosing a good domain name won’t make you an overnight success. On the other hand, choosing the wrong domain name won’t destroy your website’s SEO. The most important factor isn’t necessarily keywords — it’s identification.

Consider your brand

Appropriately branding your domain so that it’s consistent with your company name is important for search engine users looking for information, especially anyone trying to find your online presence for the first time.

Think of your customers first, and then decide on a domain name that makes it easy for them to find you. Geographic indicators can also be helpful in case another business shares your company’s name. Making your website convenient for your users to find and use is paramount to its success. 

Consider your situation

remember what's best for your audience

While deciding a domain name can be tricky, it’s vital to remember to do what’s right for your situation. Even though the search engines don’t reward keywords in domain names the way they used it, that doesn’t mean an exact match won’t be right for you. Domain name SEO is now much more concerned with identification and user interaction than simply appealing to Google.

If an exact search term is also the name of your business and makes for excellent branding, then use that domain name. As long as remember what’s best for your audience and consider your specific situation, you’ll be on the right track to choosing an effective domain name.

How to choose the right domain name

When you’re ready to choose a domain name, there are a couple of factors to keep in mind. These pointers can help make your domain name more friendly to both users and search engines so you can set yourself up for success.

  • Keep it brief. People are more likely to remember shorter domain names, usually with only a couple of words. Three or more words in a URL can become difficult to read.
  • Don’t use hyphens. It’s even harder for people to remember your website if there are dashes with the domain name. Using a URL without hyphens also makes your domain easier to say, type, and understand, meaning visitors can easily recommend you to their friends.
  • Make it memorable. You want to stand out from the competition, so pick a domain name that is both descriptive and memorable. The easier it is for visitors to remember, the more they can recommend you and return.
  • Use simple wording. It will be harder for people to find you if your domain name contains words that are easily misspelled, or words that are hard to spell. Stick to shorter, phonetic words to create an effective brand.
  • Avoid homophones. Homophones are words that sound exactly the same but have different meanings, like the words to, two, and too. Homophones can be easily confused verbally, so keep your words distinct.
  • Seek the opinion of a professional. A professional Internet marketing company can give you more advice on choosing the best domain name for your business.

After you register your domain, we can help you optimize your website. Our award-winning team will deliver outstanding results to your business so you can continue to grow your brand. We have expert designers, developers, and copywriters who know how to make your site easy to find and user-friendly.

Contact us for a free quote today and start on your way to optimizing your website.

Ready to start your Internet marketing and design campaigns? Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to learn more about how WebFX can help with your SEO challenges.