The question is – does your choice of domain actually affects your SEO ranking?
The short answer is yes. If you won’t take that for an answer, we’ll tell you why.
Choosing the right domain name is a big deal since it becomes a business’ online identity. If you are just launching your business online, you will most likely plan as well for SEO to get traffic to your site after launch; however, you’ve been making decisions that will affect your SEO long before you registered your business name. Choosing a domain name is daunting because, if you pick the one, there’s no going back. What you need is to balance your priorities between SEO and authentic branding. Here are the elements of a good domain name.
The two choices every business owner face when selecting their domain name are the domain name itself and the extension. The domain extension is the combination of letters that follow the dot after a domain name. There are many different domain extensions you can choose from when you register and each has unique effects on your SEO.
Top-Level Domains (TLDs) are the most common domains with global reach. They are not limited by geographical location or industry. Anyone can register a TLD. The most common TLDs are .com, .net and org.
Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs).
This provides an extra layer of information to the search engine, helping it sort through the web to give relevant results to the searcher. A ccTLD helps search engines to understand the site and audience via geo-location. For instance, .com.au allows Google to know your business operates in Australia. This will affect your site’s list in the search engine results pages. Business with a .co.uk website, for instance, will unlikely reach Australian consumers in basic searches.
Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs).
These domains encompass domain extensions beyond TLDs and ccTLDs, like .biz and .info. There have been new gTLDs released recently. Most gTLDs can be registered by anyone regardless of address; however, there are some that are governed by agencies or organisations, like .gov and .edu. These domain extensions require specific eligibility to register.
How to choose your domain name.
Let’s start with the most important. It’s not necessary to insert keywords into your domain name just to get your site to rank. Search engines are smart enough and fully aware of business owners who stuff keywords into their domain with the assumption that they can manipulate search results. Search engines have already adjusted their algorithms to lessen the impact of this tactic.
What you must do is focus on choosing a domain name that will represent your brand honestly for marketing purposes. Wikipedia, Yelp and TripAdvisor are not keywords for their niche but they still rank on the first page of Google for thousands of terms because use other SEO services, such as Google Maps and Google My Business, authoritative link building as well as smart keyword strategy to rank their pages. Out of the 200 SEO factors that determine a website’s position in a listing, the website’s domain name carries very little weight.
Ultimately, from an overall marketing point of view, you’re better off picking a domain name that will reflect your business than filling it with industry-related keywords. Still, you must plan and choose wisely before committing to a domain name as it’s almost permanent – unless you’re willing to do rebranding and marketing all over again.