Best SEO Practices for Domain Names
Consider each of the following factors in order to increase traffic from search engines:
1. Make your domain name memorable
Aim for domain names that are brief, simple to remember, simple to type, and simple to pronounce. This is important for processing fluency as well as word-of-mouth marketing as those visitors will need to go directly to your domain. Processing fluency, an implicit cognitive bias, is the idea that we remember and associate more favorably with things that are easy to say and easy to think about, including pronounceability in our own brains. Therefore, avoid choosing domain names that contain numerals or other uncommon characters, have strange spellings, or are longer than 15 characters.
The easier a domain (or URL) is to read for humans, the better it is for search engines because of their increased dependence on accessibility and usability as a ranking criterion.
2. Use broad keywords when sensible
Go for it if you can incorporate a term that makes it clear what your company does while still keeping your domain name memorable, distinctive, and brand-friendly. However, avoid using domain names that could be characterized as “keyword-rich” or “keyword-targeted” (such as best-pancake-pans-for-pancakes.com or senior-eldercare-retirement-home-finder.com). We already mentioned this, but it bears repeating: While these types of domain names once carried weight as a ranking factor, their propensity to be associated with low-quality content means searchers (and search engines) may now view these.
Additionally, Google has recently made a number of modifications that have de-prioritized low-quality websites with keyword-rich domains. Having a keyword in your domain might still be advantageous, but be cautious because it may attract more attention from search engines and have a negative impact on your ranking.
3. Avoid hyphens if possible
You might wish to use a hyphen to make your domain name more readable if it consists of two words (like www.examplesite.com): www.example-site.com. However, keep in mind that the usage of hyphens also negatively affects the readability and recall of domain names and is significantly correlated with spammy behavior. As a result, generally speaking, only one hyphen should be used (if any must be used at all).
4. Avoid non- .com top-level domains (TLDs)
A webmaster will frequently have the opportunity to purchase extra TLDs when registering a domain name. Consider acquiring the.com TLD if you want to increase the amount of direct visitors to a domain. Rand advises swaying toward.net if the.com TLD for a domain name you’re hoping to buy isn’t accessible. Alternatives include .com, .co, or a well-known ccTLD.
Additionally, purchasing low-quality TLDs like .biz, .info, .ws, or .name as a way to boost traffic is not advised for SEO-conscious webmasters. These TLDs receive far less traffic than the more well-known domains due to their lesser popularity, and they may also be more frequently linked to spam activity.
5. Favor subfolders/subdirectories over subdomains
Although Google has acknowledged that content in subdomains and subdirectories is treated roughly equally from a ranking perspective, it is still advised that webmasters place link-worthy content like blogs in subfolders rather than subdomains (i.e. www.example.com/blog/ rather than blog.example.com). This is because search engines keep different metrics for domains than they do for subdomains.
Websites that are specific to a certain language are a prominent exception. (For instance, en.example.com for the website’s English version).
6. Don’t sweat over domain age
It is a fallacy that the age of a domain—that is, how long it has been registered—has any bearing on SEO rankings. The primary reason to renew a domain would be if it’s your main domain, you plan to keep it for a while, or you’d prefer the convenience of renewing so that you don’t need to worry about your domain expiring. To the best of my knowledge, no search engine has ever confirmed that they use length of registration as a factor in scoring. If a company is asserting that as fact, that would be troubling.
Things like how long it’s been since your site was initially crawled or since the first incoming link was registered do matter to Google (though to various degrees). The difference between a domain that is six months old and one year old, however, actually is not that huge at all.
7. Moving domains
There are several important things to think about when a webmaster needs to switch from one domain to another, including how to set up redirects on a page-by-page basis so that sub-folders and deep content pages are led to equivalent sub-folders and deep content pages on the new domain. All page redirects to the homepage of another domain should be avoided by SEOs.
Are domain names important to SEO?
While your domain name isn’t often thought of as a direct Google ranking criteria, certain aspects of it could influence how successful your SEO campaign is overall. Memorability, length, keyword usage, brand-ability, and other factors are among them.
Does changing your domain name affect SEO?
Since you are effectively moving your website from one address to another when you change your domain name, this can have an effect on your SEO.
Does the domain extension affect SEO?
With the exception of international SEO, the domain extension, also known as the Top-Level Domain (TLD), isn’t typically thought of as a Google ranking factor. In this case, having a specific country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) can indicate to search engines which country your content is targeted at.
Is .com best for SEO?
There is no evidence that search engines favor the .com domain extension even though it is by far the most common Top-Level Domain (TLD). Having a.com version of your domain is frequently regarded as beneficial due to the fact that customers frequently trust .com extensions more than other extensions.