Whether you are starting out with a new website or thinking about upgrading an existing one, there are a number of factors you have to consider when choosing a domain name, but one very important factor many people overlook is that a domain name plays a considerable role in the SEO ranking of a website.
Many people are of the opinion that a domain name can in no way affect SEO; unfortunately for those who belong to this school of thought, they are wrong. Google has more than 200 search ranking factors, and one of these factors is the domain name. Therefore, when it comes to choosing a domain name for your website, choosing an SEO friendly one is not a meaningless chore but a process that would greatly benefit your website.
The importance of picking a good domain name
I once heard someone say that if you sell the products people need, they will beat a path through the forest to come to get them from you. While this may be true for brick and mortar stores, it can never work for online businesses. For one thing, the internet is a very vast and competitive marketplace. There is hardly any monopoly as everyone is selling the same thing as everyone else. For this reason, it takes more than having the products people want or a perfectly designed website to attract customers. People have to know you exist in order to visit your website; this means being able to find you easily on the internet – more often than not, via search engines, a job that is made easy with the right domain name and a few other SEO techniques.
Your domain name is the first thing potential customers and visitors will know about you. This is the only way for them to get a first impression about your online business, and while there is a chance that you can make a good second impression, it is always best to make a good first impression. This underscores the importance of a good domain name as it defines your brand, and people are known for doing business with brands they trust or are comfortable with. So if your brand (domain name) can evoke trust in the minds of internet users, it becomes easier to convert visitors to subscribers and customers.
Another vital point is that a domain name is one aspect of your website that you cannot change at will. Because your domain name is intricately linked to your brand, changing it may cause serious problems for your business. While it is easy to change, delete and modify the contents of your site, and even move to a completely new web host, changing your domain name will cause you to lose the customers you have managed to gather.
The domain name of your website will significantly contribute to your site rankings and visibility as Google’s search algorithm takes domain names into account when indexing a website in its search database. That is why you should choose a domain name that can give you all the SEO advantages available.
So how do you come up with an SEO friendly domain name? Do you make it brandable or include keywords? Do you settle for a particular domain name extension? Read on to find out.
Choosing an SEO friendly domain name
The right domain name can target the people who matter to your business and help accelerate the placement of your website on search engines so that your target audience can find it quickly.
While there are a number of tips for when you want to choose a domain name, there are two major ways you can optimize your domain name for search.
Branding or brandable domain names are domain names that are closely associated with your brand. This makes it easier for visitors and customers to identify, remember and share your website online.
If you are starting a new business and need a website, it is a good idea to choose a domain name when you choose a business name, but if you already have a business, you should definitely consider using your business name as a domain name.
Branding is a key ingredient when choosing an SEO friendly domain name which is why you find that some of the most successful websites have unique domain names. Also, brandable domain names are easy to remember, which means more revisits. This will, in turn, increase your site’s credibility and trust value – which equals better search page rankings.
When is it okay to use your brand as your domain name?
It is important to use your brand as a domain name in the following circumstances:
- When you have a brand that is already established and recognized
- When you have already taken steps to promote your brand
- When you use your name as your brand name
- When you have a very unique brand name
- When you want to rank well for search results in your brand name
When you use a positive and creative brand as your domain name, you make your website attractive to search engine and human users, encouraging social shares, revisits, and more traffic.
Using keywords is another way to optimise your domain name for search, but frankly, many people don’t know the first thing about using keywords in their domain name. For one thing, exact match domains or EMD used to be great for search rankings, but search engines have evolved and it has been discovered that many people are abusing the system so it is no longer as effective as it used to be. An example of EMD could be CarRepairsInLondon.com, a domain name that is registered in the exact search term used to search for a car repair place in London. This type of domain names no longer hold much appeal to search engines and you can even be penalised by Google for using one if the contents of your site do not measure up to its standards.
Because the domain name environment is changing and the value of EMD is diminishing, it might be a good idea to abandon your plans for an exact match domain completely. Thankfully, there are better ways to get an SEO friendly domain using keywords. For instance, if your business has a naturally occurring keyword such as LondonBoatClub.com, it is appropriate to use it as it is unique from a branding standpoint and relates to a website targeted at local visitors.
Smartly using keywords in your domain name can help you rank for searches related to that keyword, and help users easily understand what your site is about, but it has to be done in a smart and inoffensive way. A good idea is to use Keyword Planner to get started on your keyword search so that you can identify the keywords that relate to your niche and find a way to use them without making your domain name appear spammy.
Other considerations –
Choosing a domain name is not as simple as picking a name out of a hat, Google and other search engines provide what human users want so when deciding on a domain name, what is good for your visitors should be your priority.
To achieve this, you should make your domain name fit the following criteria:
- Unique and memorable
- Does not contain hyphens, symbols, and strange characters
- Short and easy to spell
- Include keywords
- Not restricted to a niche (in case you have to expand your operations)
- Available across all social media channels
- Carries the right domain name extension (.COM or niche specific)
- Protected against theft by securing close spellings and other extensions
- Avoid intentional misspellings or using homonyms
- Legally protected (in case of trademarks)
The future of the internet will be dominated by domain names associated with quality brands and SEO friendly domain names. Thankfully, choosing an SEO friendly domain name is easier than you think, all you need is to focus on your brand and keep it simple.
It is important to point out here that a domain name is just a small part of what affects the search rankings of your website. While it is essential to the success of your online business, it is just a small part of a collection of parts that work together to make your site visible and successful. Other factors play an equally important role in the visibility of your website including domain authority, site content and many more. You may choose to devote your time to learning and understanding what these things are and how they work, or you could just learn the basics and leave the technical aspects to professionals like https://www.freeparking.co.nz.
However, knowing how to choose an SEO friendly domain name is the right step in a series of steps towards the success of your online business.