How to Choose an SEO-friendly Domain for Your New Website
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Frank Schilling, one of the renowned internet investors, once said, "A better domain name will lower your lifetime marketing costs." Your domain name impacts SEO (search engine optimization) efforts directly and indirectly.
Therefore, an SEO-friendly domain is one step closer to a successful business. This blog post will take you through the nooks and crannies of choosing an optimized domain. But first, let us look at the definition and benefits.
What Is Domain SEO?
Domain SEO involves optimizing domain names to achieve higher search engine rankings and enhance their appeal to potential customers. The optimization entails:
- Selecting specific keywords
- Using an appropriate domain extension
- Keeping it short and memorable
Although optimizing your domain name for SEO doesn't guarantee high rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs), it improves the chances of visibility.
Why Choose an SEO-friendly Domain Name?
Whether you’re launching a new website or rebranding an existing one, this step defines many things for your business, such as:
1. Increased Click-through Rates & Outdo Competitors
According to Google, a high click-through rate shows search engines that your website is more relevant and helpful than others. Because having clear and relevant information in your URL increases clicks, your business is likely to rank higher when you have an SEO-friendly domain (keyword inclusion).
For example, suppose two companies are selling similar products or services in the same location. In that case, a keyword in the domain name might give you an advantage when customers search for something related to your business on Google.
Suppose you are searching for the 'best coffee makers in Dallas.' You are more likely to click on a website with the domain name, such as www.dallascoffeemakers.com, rather than www.coolstuffforyou.com.
The psychological impact of the URL on potential customers is also a factor to consider. Research by Rebrandly found that a branded URL increases the click-through rate by more than 39%.
2. Improved Branding
A domain name is the first interaction point with your business — a descriptive, meaningful, and memorable domain name makes it easy for users to remember and associate your website with the product or service they are looking for.
Although some of the most dominant brands have not used keywords in domain names, brandability, and memorability are their advantages.
A good example is amazon.com, which has built a successful online empire with its catchy and brandable domain name. The domain name represents vastness and creates a lasting impression.
SEO changes rapidly, but the importance of having an SEO-friendly domain remains unaffected. If data from Search Engine Land is anything to go by, Google updates search algorithms over 10 times daily, on average.
Even if certain practices become outdated, your domain will still provide a competitive advantage.
Whether setting up a personal website or building an empire, investing in domain optimization is like buying insurance. As long as your domain name is relevant, you can rest assured that it will keep the wind at your back.
4. Build Credibility & Trust
Which website between the two below do you think will build more credibility and trust?
The answer should be the first one (www.AdExperts.com) because it is an SEO-friendly domain name with a keyword relevant to its content. The second domain name looks generic and doesn't provide direct information about what the website sells.
In a world where online trust is diminishing, you shouldn't take chances. According to a report by UNCTAD, more than 49% of respondents said that lack of trust was the reason they had ditched online shopping. You don't want to make part of such statistics.
7 Tips to Choose an SEO-friendly Domain Name
Currently, it seems almost impossible to get a domain name that accurately represents your brand. Competition for primary TLDs, like .com, and short domains, is fierce.
Fortunately, there are still ways you can choose an SEO-optimized domain. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Choose Brandable Domain Names
Brands like Google, Apple, and Amazon are excellent examples of how creative domain names can be. Before 1998, a keyword like Google was unheard of, but its catchy and unique domain has become a powerful brand. Today, there are over 350 million searches of the keyword and its affiliates, according to SEMrush.
But is it that easy to come up with a unique and SEO-friendly domain name? Not really. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Keep it short, clear, catchy, and easy to read
- Go for uniqueness over making sense
- Consider whether the domain is future-proof
- Avoid trademarked or copyrighted terms
There is a common debate regarding the brandability and descriptiveness of domain names. Although there is no definitive answer, it is best to consider both when choosing a domain name.
Brandable domain names are ideal for making your website memorable and stand out from the competition. On the other hand, descriptive domain names with keywords can be great for SEO benefits (although not directly).
2. Choose the Right Keywords
Even though a keyword-rich domain won't help you rank higher, it can give you a leg up when it comes to CTR. The right keywords create a perception that your website is relevant to the search.
When choosing keywords for your domain name, consider user intent. Consider what users are looking for and how they might phrase it when searching for your product or service.
When choosing a descriptive domain name, you should keep the following in mind:
The keyword should not limit your business scope. For example, using SEO for digital marketing won't work if you want to expand into other areas in the future.
- The keyword should be relevant to your business.
- Avoid generic words and phrases like "best" and "cheap."
- Don't use multiple keywords in a domain name.
Descriptive domain names can be restrictive, so make sure you take the time to consider all your options.
In the early years of the internet, it was okay to have domain names like "thebestshoeshopindallas.com," but it may not be the best choice now. Keyword stuffing makes your URL look spammy, leading to lower CTR.
3. Keep It Short & Memorable
Google recommends 3 to 4-word domain names and for a good reason. It is even better if you can keep it shorter than that.
Short domain names are easier to remember and type, encouraging users to click through when they see your website in the SERPs. It also makes it easier for people to share verbally — as long as they’re memorable.
4. Avoid Hyphens & Numbers
Hyphens and numbers make it difficult for users to remember and type your URL. Hyphenated domain names can confuse users if they are unsure where the hyphen is placed. For example, "my-website.com" and "mywebsite.com" are different.
Numbers should also be avoided unless it is part of the brand name. It is also advisable to avoid using numbers as a substitute for words. For example, "4" instead of "four."
Always consider how your domain name will be shared and if people can recall it easily.
5. Avoid Double Letters and Trademarks
We are in an era where most short and SEO-friendly domain names are taken. Adding an extra letter can be a tempting option, but it can also backfire.
Domain names with double letters, like "groceryy.com," can look unprofessional. They are also difficult for users to remember and spell correctly. Double letters in a domain name should be avoided unless there is no other option.
Trying to imitate another brand's domain name for SEO is also not a great idea since it can get you into legal trouble. Trademarked names are protected by law. Therefore, double-check to ensure you're not infringing on a trademark before purchasing a domain name. This can include slight variations in spelling or the use of plurals.
6. Use Top-level Domain Extensions
TLDs are the suffixes that come after the dot in any domain name (e.g., .com, .org). Besides being a crucial part of any domain name, they are also important for SEO. Using the correct TLD can make your website more visible in search engines and encourage more click-throughs.
According to data from Statista, .com commands more than 52% of all global domain registrations. That makes it by far the most popular TLD.
The psychological appeal of .com domain names has a lot to do with its success. It is the TLD most people are familiar with and carries a certain trustworthiness.
The extension is ideal for businesses that want to appear established and reputable. It is also great for businesses targeting a global audience. However, it is essential to note that a .com extension has no direct SEO benefit.
You can also use other TLDs that suit specific purposes or industries. For example, if you're a non-profit or tech company, you can use .org or .net extensions. These extensions take up 4% and 3.1% of global domain registrations. Other industry-specific TLDs include .edu (education institutions) and .gov (governmental bodies).
Country Code TLDs
If you want to target a specific country or region, country-level TLDs (e.g., .us, .uk) also make SEO-friendly domain names. They are an excellent choice for businesses that want to reach a local market. The Russian Federation's .ru is the most popular country extension, with a 4.2% TLD share.
Other common ccTLDs include .de (Germany), .jp (Japan), and .fr (France). Almost all countries have a ccTLD. Therefore, you can easily find one for your target market if it is not listed here.
Interestingly, ccTLDs are the only ones that directly impact domain SEO as they signal to search engines that your site is tailored for a particular geographic location. This can be beneficial if you want to appear higher in local search results.
In 2014, ICANN reduced restrictions on new TLDs. The change led to extensions like .store, .blog, .xyz, .io, and .shop. These are excellent options for businesses since they offer more descriptive domain names that can be easier to remember than generic ones.
The downside is that nTLDs are still relatively new and may not be easily recognized. Consequently, a website using one of these TLDs may not appear as trustworthy as one with a .com address.
7. Evaluate Your Options
The last and most crucial step in choosing an SEO-friendly domain name is to evaluate your options. This can be daunting if you don't have a reference point.
But for a moment, imagine this:
- You enter the domain you are considering in a domain SEO analysis tool
- Within seconds, you get information about its pronunceability, availability, readability, and simplicity
- Apart from that, you also get the domain authority, page authority, keywords in the domain, and other valuable metrics
Now stop imagining and come back to reality. Bishopi domain SEO analysis helps you to do exactly that.
It gives you all the information you need to pick the best domain name for your business. All you have to do is enter the domain and click "Check." Within seconds, you will have all the data you need to pick or drop a domain name.
Choosing an SEO-friendly domain name is an important decision for your business. It can have a significant impact on how customers perceive your business, as well as your SEO rankings. Therefore, it is essential to take your time and pick the best domain possible for your website or online store.
An SEO-friendly domain should be brandable, easy to remember, and contain the right keywords for your target audience. Consider using a popular TLD, such as .com or .org, or look into country-level extensions if you are targeting a specific market.
Hyphens and numbers should be avoided because they can be confusing and make the domain harder to remember. Finally, use a domain SEO analysis tool to evaluate your options and pick the best SEO-friendly domain name.
Does the domain name matter for SEO?
Yes, the domain name matter for SEO. It helps increase your website's visibility in search engine results. It also improves the user experience and boosts your brand's credibility. Consequently, the CTR rate is better; and you can rank higher in the SERPs.
Does having multiple domains help SEO?
Having multiple domain names helps SEO because it allows you to target different search terms and keywords. This can lead to improved rankings in the SERPs. However, ensure that each domain has unique content relevant to the keyword.
How do I know if my domain is SEO-friendly?
You can know if your domain is SEO-friendly using domain SEO analysis tools. The tools evaluate your domain name and get information about its readability, availability, pronunceability, and other metrics.
Does .net or .com matter for SEO?
Both .com and .net domain extensions matter for SEO. In general, .com is seen as more reliable and trustworthy than other TLDs. Although it doesn't directly affect your domain SEO, it can improve the user experience and make customers more likely to click on your website.
Does Google prefer .com domains?
Google doesn't prefer .com domain names. John Mueller, the Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, stated that there is no preference for .com domains. He said that any TLD could rank well if it has good content and is relevant to the search query. However, user perceptions may differ, and .com is often seen as more credible.
Do keywords in the domain name help SEO?
Keywords in domain names help SEO to an extent. A keyword can help users identify relevant websites. Unless you are Apple or Microsoft, it is better to include relevant keywords in the domain name that describe your business or services. However, avoid overusing keywords, as they can come across as spammy.
Which one is better: a descriptive or brandable domain name?
It depends on your goal. A descriptive domain name is better if you want to communicate what your business does. However, a brandable domain name will be more suitable if you are trying to create and promote a unique brand image. Both have different advantages and disadvantages; choose the one that suits your needs.
Which domain extension is best for SEO?
The best domain extension for SEO is .com. It is considered the most reliable and trustworthy TLD because users are most likely to remember it. However, to target a specific market, consider using country-level domain extensions like .co.uk, ru, or .de. ccTLDs are seen as more relevant to local markets and can help improve your domain SEO rankings.