Picking the ideal domain name is a crucial step in launching a new website. However, doing so can be both an exciting and frustrating process. You should choose wisely the first time around, as there are consequences for changing your domain name down the road.
Experts in search engine optimization (SEO) have been working on ways to improve a website’s visibility in search results for a long time, and many of them believe that the domain name plays a crucial role. This article will discuss how a domain name can help or hurt your SEO efforts and how it might affect your website’s position in search results. Furthermore, we will cover some of the factors to consider when choosing a domain name that is optimized for search engines.
What Is a Domain Name?
A domain name is a text string that corresponds to an alphanumeric IP address and is used to visit a website using client software. Simply put, it is the address that a user enters into a browser to access a specific website. For example, Facebook’s domain name is “facebook.com.”
While a website’s actual address is a long string of numbers known as an IP address (such as 126.96.36.199), the Domain Name System (DNS) allows users to instead type in more human-friendly domain names. This is called doing a DNS lookup.
What Are the 4 Types of Domain Names?
Choosing the right website domain name is one of the challenging and most significant decisions you will have to make when building a website. Your company’s online success hinges on selecting a domain name, so it’s crucial that you find one that works for you. If it can be an SEO friendly domain name from the start, just the domain name can be parting of branding your company.
Keyword domains usually are descriptive. For example, redsweatshirts.com would probably be about red sweat shirts. Keyword rich domains can be memorable. Domain name readability must be considered when choosing your domain name.
A branded domain is always nice for a company. The SEO community works towards having domain names receive domain authority. So when choosing a domain name try to have your root domain be a non hyphenated domain name. You can purchase the hyphenated version to keep from competitors and just point your non hyphenated versions to your root domain.
However, did you know there are different kinds of domain names? It’s essential to learn about the various domain name types and their uses before beginning the search for a domain name and domain extension that are both available and suitable for your business. The domain name registry has a system of ranks to categorize various domains.
Top-level Domains (TLDs)
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) introduced the first set of top-level domain names (TLDs) in 1985. In the DNS, the top-level domain sits at the highest position in the hierarchy. These include .com, .net, .gov, .org, .edu, and .mil.
Country Code Top-level Domains (ccTLD)
Domains with only two letters were created and eventually became abbreviations for specific countries or regions. For instance, “.uk” and “.au” stand for “United Kingdom” and “Australia.”
While the original intention behind ccTLDs was to confine registration and usage to citizens of that country, some governments have since allowed non-citizens to register domain names with their country code.
Second-level domains are the next tier of domains in the Domain Name System (DNS) structure.
In “Google.com,” for example, “Google” is the second-level domain, and “.com” is the top-level domain. The second-level domain typically contains the name of the company or organization that originally registered the domain name. Buyers might recognize your product or service by your brand name or company name.
As the next tier in the DNS hierarchy, third-level domains are directly beneath second-level domains. They are located on the left side of the second-level domain and are commonly known as the subdomain.
Third-level domains are commonly used by larger corporations to designate specific sections of their website.
The “www” third-level domain is by far the most widely used on the Internet. If an organization employs more than one third-level domain, each one is usually pointing to a different server.
How Can I Create a Domain Name?
Any of the leading domain registrars that ICANN has approved can help you register a domain name. Any time you need a domain name registered or reserved, a registrar can help.
Furthermore, you also have the option of registering a domain name with the DNS yourself through a registrar or having your web host handle it for you.
Even though there are over a thousand officially recognized registrars, it’s usually safest to go with the bigger names in the industry. If you use a standard service provider, it will be less of a hassle to research and resolve any problems you may encounter while managing your domain name.
You can buy domain names from through a domain registrar such as Google Domains or GoDaddy. Some web hosting companies also offer the ability to purchase a domain names, and might have website builders that make it easy for their customers to build a website and keep everything in one place.
Does an Exact Match Domains Affect SEO?
Yes, exact match domain names can be a factor in Google’s algorithm.
Even if we ignore everything else about a website, save its domain name, it is clear that you want visitors and potential customers to remember who you are and what your business is about. Business online and offline require high quality content to get direct traffic.
An SEO-friendly domain name is something that effectively conveys the purpose of the website. A websites sub pages will go over the products or services and this can create exact match keyword urls. For example, keyword domains will show the website name coupled with a product www.domainname.com/product-one. Google likes to see a good url naming convention of what the the page will contain from the url. An example is www.yourdamin.com/nameofthepage.
Domain names, or even better the right domain name can be an asset with search engine optimization. Choosing a domain name that speaks to your intended audience is a great way to get the traffic you want. Choosing the right name and the domain extensions are also important.
The most popular of all domain extensions is the .com. However, we always suggest using the .com and purchasing your root domain with common domain extensions so no one else can purchase your main domain name in another variation.
How Do I Know if Exact Match Domains Are Good for SEO?
Most SEO professionals do site audits. This audit usually will look at your site and one or more of a competitor website to see the most effective way to either build a new site or outrank competition.
The information from a competitors site might prove what is needed for your SEO domain name.
3 Tips for Choosing Your Domain Name:
One – Use keywords in your choice:
This does not mean keyword stuffing. For example if your site is themed for selling auto parts, you might use a helpful keyword that makes sense like a location such as – www.texasautoparts.com or www.citynameautoparts.com.
Two – Keep it as Short as Possible
Keeping your name as short as possible makes for an easy to remember name as well as simplifying email addresses.
Three – Non Hyphenated Version
Try for a non hyphenated version. Hyphens in domain names are not bad, but try to avoid hyphens if possible.
SEO Strategy for a Search engine-friendly Main Domain name
Be Careful When Selecting Keywords
Keywords’ relevance in domain names has shifted throughout time. It used to be a big part of how sites like Google indexed pages, and a large number of ecommerce businesses used it in the early 2000s. In SEO, keywords still matter, albeit in a more condensed form.
Domain names no longer need to include keyword phrases for them to rank higher in search engines. Nevertheless, it can help people understand your brand better.
An excellent domain name does not to revolve solely around keywords, especially if it is a brand site. Try to pick a SEO-friendly domain name that only contains up to two words, or find a memorable way to condense the essence of your business into a memorable abbreviation.
Go for a Succinct SEO Friendly Domain Name or Exact Match Domain Name
Your domain’s actual length has no bearing on its position in Google search rank. However, it has the potential to and likely will have a major effect on brand recall among consumers.
Studies show that, on average, domain names are only 13 characters long. And for the top 500 sites, that number reduces to an average of just seven.
If your brand is a unique word like Google – than an exact match domains are the best plan.
In any case, you should think about coming up with just the domain name that works for your business. Be sure it is memorable for your customers. Remember that domain names are more valuable the shorter they are.
Try To Keep Domain Names Simple
The Dean of Entrepreneurship at Wharton, Karl Ulrich, conducted an extensive study that evaluated the results of web domains based on empirical data. The research revealed that the most effective naming strategies were the simplest ones:
- Each additional character in a domain name after the seventh one reduces traffic by 2%.
- Hyphenated domain names are more prone to penalties.
Choose a Reputable Domain Extension
The .com top-level domain is, without a doubt, among the most sought-after. As of right now, nobody can forget that domain name because it has the highest level of trust and is 33% more memorable than any other.
While using a .com domain extension won’t directly increase your site’s ranks, it will show clients that you’re serious about doing business with them, which can have a positive impact on your SEO over time.
Search Engines Reward Established Domains
If you change your domain name, it can affect SEO and negatively affect your search engine rank.
Your unique domain name has been indexed by search engines. Changing it will create SEO issues and effect your domain authority.
In addition, the history of your existing web pages are established. This track record serves as a badge of credibility. Your existing domain’s authority is what really helps your content rank highly in SERPs when broad keywords are queried.
The great news is that you can successfully modify your domain name. This change might create a drop in traffic but if necessary, there are a few basic measures to update both your site’s users and search engines.
*If you want to switch your domain name here are five things you can do.
1. Consider Changing to a More Powerful Domain Name
Choosing a suitable domain name is the initial step. An example might be you currently have hyphens in your name and have found you can buy a new name without the hyphens.
Similarly, you tried to get the common tlds but they were taken and the .com and the other popular tlds are now available. Rarely have we seen short domain names come up for sale, but IF it happens you might find this is necessary for your business.
2. Check Your Referring Backlinks
Despite having settled on the right domain name, you aren’t quite prepared to make the change just yet. You should check your off-page SEO presence, which includes anywhere your former domain appears online and the anchor text linking back to your website, before creating any SEO problems.
3. Transfer Your Website to the New Domain Name
Now that you have your brand-new SEO friendly domain and have completed your audits, you can get the actual work done. The time has come to migrate your website. Web hosts have slightly different processes for this, but we have found if proper backups have been made – things go smoothly.
4. Establish Redirects
Following the successful transfer of your website, you may begin mapping URLs by implementing 301 redirects. If you change your URL and want people (and search engines) to be taken to the new address automatically, you’ll need to implement a redirect.
Due to the detrimental effects that broken links can have on the search engine optimization for your business, this is a crucial SEO and technical step for success.
5. Update Your Web Analytics and Search Console
The final step is to do some cleanup in the digital realm by informing search engines like Google that you have relocated your site. It’s crucial to do this right away following a site migration and redirect setup to keep search engine rankings from suffering.
Keeping it simple and centering on brand recognition are the keys to picking a perfect domain that will perform well in search engine results. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that a domain name is just one component of a successful website and not the only driver of search engine rankings.