Domain names do more than just identify IP addresses. Understanding how domain names work can help your branding efforts and affect SEO.
Therefore, paying attention to domain names before choosing is a smart thing to do.
Some factors contribute to making domain names useful for SEO. This article explains how the influence works and informs the steps for you to create an SEO-friendly domain name to help understand them.
Domain Name Influence on SEO
To understand the influence of domain names, let’s start by understanding how SEO works. Websites use SEO techniques to increase website rankings on the search engine result pages (SERP) using relevant aspects – based on search query – to work with search engine algorithms.
Many of these aspects come from your website. Like using the right keywords, content, meta descriptions, and your domain name. Domain names influence SEO and website ranking through these two ways; branding and keyword domains.
Branding domains is when brand names are included in the domain. Using brand names encourages users to click on your website, which helps with page ranking. You can use branding domains if your brand name is niched, unique, and have established awareness.
Like its name, Keyword domains use keywords related to your business. Keyword domains influence SEO by making your website more visible to the search engines. Using keyword domains requires you to understand relevant keywords, otherwise, it will be less effective.
How to Choose an SEO-Friendly Domain Name?
To further understand branding and keyword domains, one certain way to do it by making your domain SEO-friendly.
This part lists six steps on how you can do it.
#1 Check Domain Availability and History
Checking the availability and history of your domain name is the first thing to settle. By doing so, you’re opting out all the irrelevant choices and can focus on the best ones.
As soon as you’ve found the name you want, immediately check its availability. You can check the domain name availability on Hostinger. Be prepared if the name you want isn’t available! You can overcome it by creating a list of name alternatives.
Next is checking your domain history. Checking its history allows you to know the business type, owner details, and domain activity. Tools like Whois History help you to check its history.
If a domain has a good history and ranking, you can reuse them to your advantage.
#2 Use Relevant Keywords But Don’t Force It
Domain names with keywords should contain the relevant keywords related to the business. Using it can help SEO because search engines will find your website more relevant to the search query.
Like we previously mentioned, using keyword domains can be good for SEO. However, it can be challenging because of reasons like:
- Google doesn’t prioritize keyword domain compared to branded domains
- Using a keyword domain can limit your business, and only works if you’re a niche business
- Using more than two keywords and using a hyphen can be associated with spam websites
For those reasons, it’s good to know when to add keywords or avoid using them. To help do that, you can use Google Keyword Planner to separate the irrelevant keywords.
#3 Use Your Brand
Related to the previous point, using your brand can be an alternative from keyword domains for your domain name. Branded domains bring benefits as they help increase awareness, build trust easier, and add credibility to your website.
When using your brand as a domain name, make sure your name is unique and resonates with the target audience. To do that, you can do these steps below:
- Use a unique but brandable name. Make your name memorable and appealing without confusing the audience. You can learn from brands like Google, Yahoo!, or use business name generators for more inspiration.
- Keep it short. One word is enough to make a brandable business name. It’s easy for the audience to memorize and effective for search engines.
- Ensure its readability. Try pronouncing the name out loud, ensure it’s easy to spell, and ask others for feedback. Your name should be simple enough for others to understand.
- Combine words. Brands like Netflix, YouTube, and Snapchat use combinations of two words put into one. Besides giving a clue what your business does, it also provides certain uniqueness without trying too hard.
#4 Use .com as a First Choice
When it comes to domain name extensions, always use .com as your first option. Being the most widely-used extension, .com is preferred by the audience.
Because it makes your brand seem more established and will give you values — especially for small businesses.
The audience’s interest in .com results is a prioritized focus by Google. Since there’s more interaction within .com that any other extensions, it allows for a better SEO for your business.
However, the extension .com might not be available in some cases. If this happens to you, consider using .net or .org as your second option. You can also try to create name alternatives by using other languages or finding synonyms on Thesaurus.
#5 Use Country Code TLDs (ccTLD) for Local SEO
Country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) is a domain for a certain country or geographical area. Extensions like .fr, .de, and .au are all ccTLD. Using ccTLD is a feasible way of letting search engines know that your business is located in that area.
Benefits of using ccTLD
- Using country code domains is beneficial for local businesses that focus on grabbing local audiences.
- It’s also good for local SEO as it works by gathering local information, such as content, links, and social profile pages for local search queries.
However, using ccTLD can be tricky as you need to consider its sub-directories or sub-folders. Examples of using country codes in subdirectories are hosting.com/uk/ or hosting.com/au/.
It’s more effective for SEO, so try focusing on sub-directories if possible.
#6 Include Location If Your Business Is Local
Having a location-based can be a good alternative for ccTLD and improve visibility through SEO. More focused than country-based, you can add a particular city or area to attract the audience within that domicile.
Like using the .com extension, adding a location for your local business can help increase visibility and build a great first impression on potential customers. Location-based domains can also be good to build community and maintain relationships.
If you’re planning to use locations, try researching competitors, understanding the relevant keywords and location, and aligning them with your business.
Also for using location-based domain names effectively, it’s essential to learn consumer behaviour. Utilizing tools like Google Trends can help you with the process.
To conclude, you can use domain names to influence SEO in several ways, and with many considerations. It’s up to you when deciding if the best practice suits your business plans.
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