5 Ways Domain Names Influence SEO and 5 Best Practices

August 10, 2022


Domain names can significantly affect SEO even though they’re not an important ranking factor.

Your chances of appearing high in search engine rankings are greatly improved by using a combination of brand-related terms to build a short, snappy, and clickable domain name.

However, if you over-optimize your domain name and use exact-match keywords, your website may appear spammy and your chances of ranking well will be reduced.

So, what’s the secret behind finding a perfect domain name? Read on to find out.


What is a domain name?


We can describe a domain name as an alias. It’s an easy approach to direct people to the precise web page where your website is located.

Typically, one or more IP addresses are identified by domain names. Domain names are unique and readable and many people consider them to be the website addresses online.

Registering the ideal domain name doesn’t have to cost you a lot. In fact, nowadays, you can find very affordable domain names that can do the trick.


Domain names and their effect on SEO

Let’s see if and how domain names can affect your SEO performance and your website ranking.


A good name is a must

Organic rankings are not directly impacted by domain names. However, picking a unique name is still crucial. Improved branding and name recognition result from an easy-to-remember domain, which has several other advantages like increased clickthrough rates from search results and better on-page engagement. Both are essential ranking elements.


Does it help with rankings?

The use of keywords in a domain name has no ranking benefit. In 2011, Google eliminated the advantage of exact-match keywords in a domain name. However, the algorithm update happened gradually, so many SEOs have followed this idea.


Registering a domain name in advance

Another recurring SEO myth is the idea that registering a domain name years in advance will demonstrate to Google your dedication to that particular website. Google, however, has stated that it does not consider this as a ranking factor. Still, it may use the registration to determine which domain names belong to the same owner.


Domain authority

Google only utilizes page-level backlink data, never domain-level data. Domain names do not combine the value of backlinks from all of their pages. It is a myth that leads to bad marketing choices.


Top-level domains

A .com domain had SEO benefits in the past, especially for searches with a commercial goal. But that’s not the situation anymore. Google now gives non-local domain names the same treatment. Local domains (like .ca, .fr, or .au) continue to be a significant ranking determinant for local search results, nevertheless.


Top domain name best practices


Consider each of the following factors to increase traffic from search engines.

Make the domain name memorable

Aim for domain names that are brief, simple to remember, simple to type, and simple to pronounce. This is important for processing fluency as well as word-of-mouth marketing because some users will need to go directly to your domain.

Processing fluency, an inferred cognitive bias, is the idea that we remember and associate more favorably with things that are easy to say and easy to think about, including pronounceability in our own brains.


Broad keywords

If possible, try to incorporate a term that makes it clear what your company does while still keeping your domain name memorable, distinctive, and brand-friendly. However, avoid using domain names that could be interpreted as keyword-focused or keyword-rich.

Although these types of domain names historically carried weight as ranking criteria, both users and search engines may now perceive these keyword-dense domain names with a negative note due to their tendency to be connected with low-quality content.


No hyphens

You might wish to use a hyphen to make your domain name more readable if it consists of two words. However, keep in mind that the usage of hyphens also negatively affects the readability and recall of domain names and is significantly correlated with spammy websites.


Top-level domains and what to do about them

It is not advised for webmasters to invest in low-quality TLDs like .biz, .info, .ws, and .name if they want to boost traffic. These TLDs receive far less traffic than the better-known domains due to their lower popularity, and they may also be more frequently linked to spam activity.


Don’t worry about domain age

It is a myth that the age of a domain (how long it has been registered) has any bearing on SEO rankings. The duration of registration has never been explicitly mentioned as a ranking element by a search engine.


Final words

When choosing a domain name, make sure to find one that is suited to your customers, not for search engine optimization. The best tip is to choose a name that customers will recall and connect with your brand.


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