Does your domain name affect your search engine ranking?
As in Monopoly, winning the search engine optimisation (SEO) game is all about buying up valuable online property. Smart domain name investment and use can be the smartest move you make. Our quick rundown of how an SEO-friendly domain can improve your overall branding, drive traffic, and impact your SEO ranking.
SEO Monopoly a game of domain name strategy
Ever played Monopoly? A seasoned (or occasional) player knows the importance of having good real estate to win the game. Some properties generate more traffic than others. And that provides website owners such as yourself with a simple lesson: whether it's a board game or the Internet, when it comes to real estate, location matters.
Having a well-planned piece of property on the web is crucial. For pennies on the dollar, you can set up your own domain name in a few clicks. And choosing the right domain extension, aka the right property, for your website’s URL can have a big impact on your SEO.
Back in the day the domain name you chose could alone significantly impact your website’s search rankings. But the rules of the SEO Monopoly game have changed. Google is constantly studying its users’ habits and, based on its findings, evolving its algorithm. So nowadays many businesses are asking themselves how they can win the game. And one question that comes up all the time is…
Do keyword rich domain names still have an impact on SEO?
Yes, they do. Domain names do have an impact on SEO; however, the approach has changed. For a website to rank, it’ll need a lot more than just a keyword-rich domain name - it’ll also need superior quality content, backlinks, and inbound links. All these factors, in addition to a keyword rich domain name, contribute to boosting your website’s search ranking.
A website with a domain name like .xyz-123-bags.com can rank just as well as .bags.store for a selected set of keywords. However, the latter, which makes use of a new generic top-level domain, will be treated more favourably, and will come across as more credible for the following reasons:
1. Brandable domain extensions stand out
Settling for the quintessential domain extensions - .COM, for example - was alright when the choices were limited. But now, with over 1,200 new domain extensions, you can choose one that adds greater value to your branding and communication.
Your domain extension has a significant impact on how your website is perceived. You want a domain name that stands out and will be considered as a reference point for what users can expect. Consider .xyz-123-bags.com and .bags.store. Even if both websites are relevant and have good content, the latter seems more credible because of the domain extension.
New domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .PRESS, .ONLINE, or .SPACE help add character to your domain name. But more importantly they establish instant connection and recognisability with users (this is a tech site, this is an e-commerce store, this is an online space for x, y, or z), making it easier for you to build online branding that is intuitive, relevant, and memorable.
2. Domain names enhance user perception
The best way to impress Google is to impress people. If users perceive you as credible, so will Google. The words placed before and after the dot have an influence on user perception because they communicate what one can expect from the website. A .STORE website, for example, makes obvious that a site has something to do with online shopping. A short, crisp and, clean web address provides information, relevance, credibility, and encourages people to click on it. The more clicks, the better your SEO ranking.
3. The right domain extension helps create rich anchor text
Anchor text are the words you see here, throughout this article, highlighted in blue. They contain a link connecting to another web page. Links like these can play a crucial role in boosting your SEO. For example, if www .bags.store is linked to anchor text ‘bag store’, a signal authenticating your website, www .bags.store, will be sent to search engines. The more times this happens, the higher your website will rank in search results. Of course, the more relevant your anchor text is, the more effectively this SEO trick works.
Domain name choice helps win the SEO game
Understanding the ins and outs of SEO website optimisation can be difficult for business owners to understand. But when it comes to domains and search, the one thing you need to consider is branding. Keep your options open. Look beyond .COM (a domain name space which, we should add, has become increasingly limited over the years) and consider registering a domain name with a new extension, one which speaks to your specific services, products, or target market. With so many choices now available, you're sure to find an option that is relevant, improves your overall branding, and increases traffic to your website, boosting your SEO ranking every step of the way.
Alisha Shibli Alisha is a Content Marketing Specialist at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .STORE and .TECH. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.