How The Right Domain Name Affects Your Website Ranking

Domain name

So you’ve spent days and months strategizing and planning to launch your business.

Now it’s time to implement your ideas and to do that you need to choose a domain name for your website. But how do you go about choosing the right domain name? 

Should you go for a one-word, premium domain name? Or combine two words that describe what you do? How will your domain name affect your rankings on search engines?

These are some of the questions you must address before finalising your domain name.

Yes, your domain name affects how much traffic goes to your website. But not in the way you think. It has more to do with how your users perceive you and less with how search engines do. 

In this post, we’ll give you clarity on what to look for when choosing a domain name for your business and how that will affect your ranking.

Stuffing your domain name with keywords doesn’t work.

When choosing a domain name, you might think that the easiest thing to do would be to stuff your domain name with keywords you want to rank for. However, Google released an update to discourage the use of exact-match domains.

domain nameMatt Cutts the former head of Google’s spam team confirmed the Exact Match Domain (EMD) update. 

While exact domain names don’t influence rankings, other indirect attributes of a domain name do.

These attributes affect how search engines interact with your website and how your customers perceive and interact with your website, which is even more important.

For example, as a business owner searching for tips on SEO, you find two websites. 

One with the domain name “www.backlinko.icu” and the other “www.seo2forsure.onreact.com/”. Which would you click on? I bet it’s the former, even though the latter has SEO in it. 

That’s because the latter link looks spammy. Also, the name Backlinko is unique, and you can easily type it into a search engine if you forget the URL. 

This gives Backlinko a better chance at ranking on the SERPs because users trust the domain name over the other one.

Factors that affect ranking when choosing domain names.

Here are 5 things you need to consider when choosing a domain name to influence your customer’s perception and attract more traffic to your website.

Keywords in your domain name

It helps when you connect your domain name with what you do without using Exact Match Domains. This makes it easier for people to understand your business when they see it anywhere.

domain nameGoogle’s recommendations for adding keywords to your domain name (source)

For example, consider https://www.productled.icu. When you see the URL, you know what to expect. 

Another example is https://www.supermetrics.icu. The reference to data is subtle, so that gives you an idea of what they’re about.

 In short, pick a descriptive domain name that tells people what to expect when they click on your website URL. 

The shorter, the better (memorability)

There are no hard and fast rules about domain name length, although Google recommends 3 to 4 terms at best

The most important reason for this is to increase your brand memorability, as people won’t always find your brand through search engines. It could be a mention from a loyal customer or a roll-up banner at an event. 

For example, you can hear about a company, let’s say Animalz, through a podcast. The name stands out because it is punchy and memorable. 

Shorter domains also increase your website accessibility. While search engines don’t prioritize accessibility yet, here’s what John Mueller, a Webmaster analyst at Google, said:

domain name

So keep your domain name short and simple to make it memorable and accessible for your users. 

Your Domain name extension matters

domain nameImage description: The Shortbond URL shows the protocol, subdomain, domain name and top-level domain.

The domain extension, also called Top-level Domain (TLD), is the part after the full stop in your domain name, as the picture above shows.

Top-level Domains give your customers information about your location, your brand persona or the industry you play in right off the bat.

For example, .bond domains indicate that you’re in the financial or investment space and are trustworthy. These attributes will increase the traffic to your website and, ultimately, drive more customers to your business.

.icu domains, on the other hand, sound supercool for your brand as it deviates from the normal domain extensions people are used to.

Buy all the variants of your domain

One minute your website is doing great with loads of traffic, the next you’re competing with a website clone with a similar domain name but with a different extension. Your customers might mistake you for this clone.

If at the onset of your business you trademarked your domain name, you can sue for infringement, but that’s you being reactive.

Be proactive instead and buy all the possible variants

Variants include all the extensions, the pluralised versions of your domain name or the brand variation of your brand names. 

You can use our checker to see the variations of your domain name.

It has to stand the test of time 

Yes, there are ways to migrate your domain name without taking a big hit on rankings, but it’s best to avoid that. 

That’s why you need to pick the one you won’t have to change, except there’s a major rebranding that demands it. So factor in your domain name when you’re thinking long-term for your business. 

For example, if you’re building a marketing agency, pick a name that speaks to general marketing instead of one that speaks to a marketing channel like PPC, SEO or social media. This way, if you want to expand your services, you won’t have to change your domain name and think about losing the traffic you’ve gained.

Conclusion

Choosing an SEO-friendly domain name affects your rankings and influences the amount of traffic you get. But it’s only one step toward building a great business.

The best way to go about it is to focus more on how your customers perceive the brand and less on what the search engines want. 

After all, people use search engines, not the way around. 

 

About the Author

How The Right Domain Name Affects Your Website Ranking 1

Moyo Oluwatuyi is a content marketer focused on helping SaaS and tech brands grow and achieve their marketing and revenue goals. You can follow me on Twitter or check out my website to know more about my services.