How domain names affect SEO
Guest Post by Alisha Shibli
Does a domain name really matter for SEO? Simply put, yes it does! In fact, one of the basic building blocks of SEO is the structure of URLs and domain. While the factors that affect a website’s SEO have changed over the years, this principle still stands true: by providing relevant answers, making a user’s life simple and adhering to the white-hat SEO practices, you’re helping your website be seen by Google.
That’s the objective, right?
Whatever be the goals of your business—sales, stats, subscribers, or maybe just a squad of loyal followers—it all begins with the first click. And that click depends on you getting your brand out there in the search engine’s spotlight. A good, SEO friendly domain name will ensure that visitors are knocking on your door in no time. Let’s look at some of the domain name factors that have an impact on SEO.
Domain age affects placement on Google
Google doesn’t trust you when you’re just starting out. Which is fair because the search engine does not know what your website is about and how users are responding to it. This is similar to a bank refusing a loan to a company that was formed just yesterday. Google wants your website to be around for some time before it considers you placing on the top of its search results.
Therefore, you must wait for your domain to age a bit in order to start earning Google’s trust. There isn’t much you can do about this other than using the time to create high-quality content, build quality links and do other SEO work on your domain.
Domain name with keywords are recommended
Having a keyword in a domain name is a good (if not crucial) relevance signal to Google. However, as with most things SEO, this piece of search algorithm got updated in recent years. Some website owners exploited it and created keyword-rich domain names with poor-quality websites. With the EMD update from 2012, Google started marking these websites as spam and started rewarding websites that are content-rich and have high-quality backlinks.
However, that doesn’t mean you keep your domain name generic. Your website’s domain name is your online identity. It is how users identify what your website is about and if they show faith in your site, Google will follow suit. This is where new domain extensions such as .TECH, .SITE, .WEBSITE, .STORE, .PRESS, .ONLINE, etc come to the rescue. They help brand your website’s identity while making it keyword rich.
For example, instead of having a generic domain name such as www.emilyscoffee-store.com, you could go for a more brandable domain such as www.emilyscoffee.store. While both the domains have the same keywords, the former is longer and clunkier while the latter is far more crisp.
Also, using a meaningful domain extension helps in establishing distinct identities for websites that belong to the same brand but have different purposes. For example, www.emirates.com is Emirates’ official website while www.emirates.store is their official merchandise store. Similarly, www.viacom.com is Viacom Inc’s official website while www.viacom.tech is Viacom’s portal for open source technology.
Building a brand online isn’t like playing a board game. Aspects such as domain name, content quality, relevant backlinks, the age of the website etc come into play when trying to score the top spot in Google’s search rankings. Your domain name is important because it is the first point of contact the user has with your brand in the online space. So, getting that right can put you on the successful path of SEO.