Does your domain name impact your SEO?

Jul 15, 2022 by
Does your domain name impact your SEO?

What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot actually. Indeed, choosing the right domain name has been one of the most important decisions facing businesses for decades now. But while it’s not quite as important now as in the days when you needed something snappy and memorable (as people will just Google it these days) it still has an impact on your SEO rankings. Though not exactly in the same manner as before.

Years ago, Google would automatically boost results for “exact match domains” where the keywords were in the domain title. But there’s a reason why you won’t find many successful sites these days called daft things like

Google figured out long ago that companies were stuffing keywords into their domains and subdomains just to boost their rankings and changed the algorithm to take more authoritative factors into account: Things like reliable information and relevant links.

That being said, domain names still matter for several reasons and could form a key part of your marketing strategy.

.com is still king

Perhaps the most important lasting truth from the “good old days” is that a .com domain is always going to be more desirable than any other URL. Consumers will naturally assume that’s how a website address ends, particularly if they’re from the US. It’s also important that your URL is easily readable and suits your overall company branding.

PPC and domain names

If your site space is limited when it comes to ads, keyword domains will certainly help, as the kind of people who click on PPC ads are typically on the lookout for something specific not someone specific. For this same reason, you might also want to consider including the location of your brand in the domain name if you are a local business. In fact, if you are only based in the UK, for example, then you might want to forget our earlier advice and go for a domain name.

Changing your domain name

If you’re quite happy with your domain name then changing it could be more effort than it’s worth. You would be better off focusing your efforts on writing quality content for your blogs, building referral links and working on your social media presence. If, however, you have noticed your brand growing and changing and expanding beyond its initial offering, a change could be just what the SEO doctor ordered.

If you are considering changing your domain name then here are a few golden rules to follow:-

Make it memorable – A good domain name is short, easy to type and easy to use in word-of-mouth advertising. GoCompare is a great example here.

Use broad keywords – Steer clear of domain names that are too keyword-heavy but don’t shy away from keywords entirely if it makes sense.

Avoid hyphens – They might make the URL more readable but they can also confuse people and makes your domain name inherently less memorable.

Stick to top-level domains – We’re talking the .co or .net domains at a bare minimum. Low-quality domain names like .biz might be a lot more affordable but they will receive substantially less traffic.

Use subfolders, not subdomains – Google will use different metrics for domains than subdomains so all link-worthy content should be placed in subfolders, rather than subdomains, so it gets treated with equal respect.