It is undeniable that SEO plays a very vital role when it comes to the success of a domain, if you can get it right you will grow your website from zero to thousands of organic visits within a short period of time, but if you bust it then your website is doomed for failure.
Basically, your domain is your unique initials on the internet, that is, the name you have decided to give your website and it is what people are going to use to find you online.
Bloggers often tend to make the mistake of picking whatever name they like for their domain when they are starting out, and even though this is not what really determines the success of a website, you can make the success comes faster if your domain name aligns with the nature or purpose of your business or idea you are bringing online.
In this article, therefore, we are going to discuss how a domain name affects or impacts SEO after we have seen the definition of what domain SEO really means.
So without any further ado, let’s get into this article right away.
What is domain SEO?
Domain SEO is simply the act of optimizing your domain to make it align or correspond with the idea, intention, or aim of your blog or website so that search engines can easily recognize your posts or content and make them accessible to those who are looking up those keywords.
However, domain SEO should not be likened to webpage and URL SEO because:
- Webpage SEO focuses on optimizing digital web content like a copy, images, and associated buttons to match with keywords people are using on search engines and
- URL SEO involves optimizing your title tags, text, links, and other elements of the actual web address for search engines.
But with domain SEO, all you are trying to do is optimized your main registered domain name and all with the aim of helping search engines to easily recognize what your website or blog is all about.
Therefore, if you are able to get your website started with domain SEO, it will then be very easy to advance other SEO strategies and grow your online presence without much stress and within a short period of time.
Does domain name matter for SEO?
Domain names do not really matter for SEO unless you have original and helpful content that will satisfy a searcher’s intent. As a matter of fact, it is useless matching your content keywords with your domain name if they are of low quality as well as fail to specifically answer their respective queries in an orderly and original manner.
Google used to take domain SEO into consideration for ranking sites on search engines until 2012 when they realized that lots of people were abusing it and so they rolled out an algorithm update known as Exact Match Domains Algorithm Update (EMD).
According to search engine journals:
Google’s EMD algorithm update focused on ridding the SERPs of spammy or low-quality exact match domains. Here’s everything you need to know.https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-algorithm-history/emd-update/#:~:text=Google\’s%20EMD%20algorithm%20update%20focused,everything%20you%20need%20to%20know.&text=The%20EMD%2C%20or%20Exact%20Match,named%3A%20exact%20match%20domain%20names.
And as you can perfectly see, having spammy and low-quality content that matches your domain name will never help you rank your site anywhere on Google Search Engines, in fact, it will kill your site before it even comes alive.
Therefore, if you want your domain name to impact SEO, you must ensure the length, keywords, and domain extension are trustworthy, very focused, and simple.
An example of a domain name in SEO.
An example of a domain name in SEO is this my niche site taculiadesigns.com.ng, and as the name implies this site focuses on topics relating to web and graphics design.
This domain name will therefore make it easy for Google to easily recognize my site as a web and graphics design blog and so use that to impact my overall SEO score.
And don’t forget that the content I write on that site must aim at satisfying those who are trying to find the solutions to their web and graphic design problems.
How to optimize your domain name for SEO.
To optimize your domain name for SEO you have to follow the steps below:
- Go for a top-level domain extension like a .com.
- Let your domain name be short and memorable.
- Don’t include hyphens and numbers in your domain name.
- Don’t repeat letters in your domain name.
- Create original and helpful content.
1. Go for a top-level domain extension like a .com.
Currently, there are more than 1,000 domain extensions in the domain name system and still counting, and that makes it very difficult to choose a domain extension that will impact your SEO.
But looking over the chart of the most used domain names in the world, we realize that the .com domain extension surpasses all with 49% to the .ru which has only 5%.
This therefore means that the most popular domain extension is the .com and that is what you should go for.
However, if you are starting a website that you want to rank higher based on where you are located, you can go for a domain extension that has your country’s suffix. For example, this domain you are accessing has my country Nigeria’s suffix .com.ng.
Another suffix you can use here in Nigeria is a .ng.
2. Let your domain name be short and memorable.
The reason you should keep your domain name short and memorable is that it will help people to pronounce and remember it.
According to a study, you must never allow your domain name to surpass 12 letters, and if you check the world, the top-ranking websites have less than 12 letters example: YouTube (7 letters), Google (6 letters), Facebook (8 letters), Amazon (6 letters), Twitter (7 letters).
And you can now see why you should make your domain name short and memorable.
3. Don’t include hyphens and numbers in your domain name.
The reason you should not use hyphens and numbers is that they make it hard for one to pronounce a domain name as well as understand if the numbers should be spelt or written in numerals.
For instance, google.com is a simple and straightforward domain name that represents Google as a brand, but if they were to add a hyphen like goog-le.com or a number like 1google.com, it would have been possible for them to establish their presence online as a brand.
4. Don’t repeat letters in your domain name.
The problem with repeating letters in a domain name is that your visitors are likely going to mistype the letters which will lead them away from your site to another.
Using repeated letters tends to occur if a domain name one chooses tends to collide with an existing domain name.
For example, if your company name is Webflex, and while trying to purchase a domain name for it you discover that there is another company with the same name already established online.
Instead of repeating letters like webflexx.com, you can use another domain name extension like webflex.com.ng to differentiate your own company.
Please note that this is advisable if the other company name is not located in the same country, is such a case, the best thing to do is to try and change your company name to avoid having issues when trying to register your company with the corporate affairs commission.
5. Create original and helpful content.
Even if you follow all the other steps to optimize your domain name for SEO and end up with low-value or plagiarised content on your website, there is no way your domain name is going to rank for any or several keywords.
Therefore, if you want to increase your authority on the topic you have chosen as your domain name, make sure you write very original and very helpful content.
This means you should not rely on plagiarism or AI-generated content but try as much as possible to add value to every content you write even if you are doing that through research.
And the best content that Google ranks higher on search engines is the ones you are writing from personal experiences, for example, after using a product or conducting physical research.
At this point, I know the question that is going through your head after you have learned all I have taught you above is will changing my domain name affect my SEO? So let’s treat that as our next sub-heading.
Will changing my domain name affect SEO?
Changing your domain name will affect your SEO based on the content and traffic level of your website or blog at the moment, and the three points below should go a long way to help you answer the above question:
- If you have written original and helpful content that is already ranking and bringing organic traffic to your blog there is no point in changing your domain name.
- If you are still sure the content on your website or blog is original and helpful and they are not ranking, then you should embark on keyword research to ensure they answer queries that are on search engines.
- If you have no content written yet or you copied and pasted them from other websites, and you have the resources that will help you change your domain name, then you can go ahead to squash that website and purchase a new domain name that is fully optimized for SEO.
After all is said and done, optimizing your domain name for SEO can only be effective if you have original and helpful content. On the contrary, if you optimize your domain for SEO and your content is of low value or passes for plagiarism, you will just be wasting time for nothing.
In the end, whatever domain name you choose will rank on search engines and bring you lots of traffic long as your content is able to add lots of value to your users or visitors.