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Domain Name for your website SEO means nothing without careful branding. Learn how to choose a domain name coupled with branding to achieve great success.
Domain name sounds familiar to most and can be easily purchased. Many years ago, the keyword-matched domain name you picked for your website used to have a much higher impact on search engine rankings. However, in 2012, Google realized that there are a lot of websites with appropriate domain names but not enough interesting content to keep visitors on the sites. Thus, Google decided to change that.
As you know, keyword is key! Many website owners and webmasters realized that if the domain names matched the main keyword for their websites, that increases the chance that their websites would rank for that keyword. Therefore, business owners would develop the tendency to buy keyword-matched domain names (KMDN) for their sites, though with little focus on quality content. This was smart to do as KMDN was, by itself, an important website ranking factor. Although it may still advantageous to do so, in the last 5 years, Google decided that KMDN was no longer sufficient for high ranking without high-quality content. Now the important question is how to take advantage of KMDN for your website ranking? This is not to say that domain names no longer affect SEO. They still do, but the question is how?
Why don’t you keep reading to find out?
How to ensure your Domain Names enhance your website SEO?
In the last decade, Google has dramatically changed its SEO algorithm for website rankings. While these changes are not necessarily predictable, this should not be surprising as SEO is a dynamic process. In the last five years, in particular, search engines have increasingly put a lot more emphasis on the originality and quality of website content as a function of interest elicited from site visitors. However, KMDN remains important to the top search engines, although it may be used as a tactic for spammers. And search engines know it and punish marketers who use it–make no mistake about it.
A good domain name may not be sufficient to rank your website high, it is essential to brand recognition, trust, and click-through rate or CTR, which remain important website ranking factors for top search engines. So let us take a closer look at KMDN and see how to change your SEO approach to make it work for you.
Keyword-matched domain names need to be consistent with the originality of your website content, the central concept of your site.
First of all, how does KMDN work? Let us illustrate with an example. Let us suppose you want to offer flooring materials at wholesale prices and choose the domain wholesaleflooring.com. That would be an excellent choice. In the old days, you would get a lot of traffic just for picking this domain, but that has changed. Suppose a scenario in which you just fill your website pages with ads about wholesale flooring without offering any original content to your visitors. That would work for you only in the old days—not anymore! KMDN update by top search engines has made this type of SEO tactic outdated. Google’s new algorithm would currently bump your website by at least >10 positions. That is a bump to the next page at least! So what would make a difference? The key is branding! Pick a domain name that is easy to remember. Let us take a closer look.
- Your domain name is exactly your Brand Name
Your brand name is one of the first big decisions you will make about your business. It should not be taken lightly. Your brand name should be the name of your website. It allows your clients to associate your website with a particular set of products. While your brand should be unique, it should be such that a generic keyword is sufficient to have a potential customer find your website on search engine results pages (SERP) as well as social media sites. When picking a brand name, think of the successful sites you know: Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Linkedin, Reddit. While some of these names are not intuitive to what they do, they all have one thing in common: they are simple (short) or easy to remember, and they are all .com sites. “Google” is associated with quality search because of how the brand was developed but, importantly, it is easy to remember to the point you can form a verb with it: let’s google it!
Think of your domain name as a symbol for what you offer
As I said before, your brand name should be short. Which name would you rather remember Internal Revenue Services or IRS, Small Business Administration or sba? While the name “Internal Revenue Services” is intuitive, IRS is better as a brand. Once you associate IRS with what it offers, you can see the advantage of using it as the domain name. So do not choose a bulky/lengthy name as our domain name. It is best to shorten the name for your domain name and use the full name in the title, which begins your branding. With branding, people will in time associate your domain name with what you offer, and so will Google and other top search engines.
In fact, you do not need the keyword in your domain name. The SEO title of your site will tell people what the name stands for, with more information given in the SEO description of the site’s front page. This may shock you, but Google attributes more weight to your brand than to the keywords. You just need to do a good job at branding your name. If you do, people will associate the generic keywords to your domain name and your website. That is what Google cares the most about for ranking your website! I can see your starting to wonder how could that be?
How could you make Google associate your domain name, your brand, with specific keywords without incorporating it in your domain name?
A simple answer is brand popularity. Once you consistently and regularly publish high-quality content with the same central or related theme on your website, Google will know the meaning of your brand and will associate specific related keywords to your brand. Let us illustrate with a search.
While we are at it, why don’t we search the word “business” on Google? As you can see in the screenshot, Bloomberg’s twitter account came up 2nd in the search with multiple results under this heading. As you can see, Google search has become progressively more sophisticated! What you will not see in thisscreenshot, as you continue to scroll the first page, are sba.gov and some local businesses including c-leveled.com, wsj.com, bbc.com, craiglist.com, and more… What you must realize is that Google associates all these domain names with the keyword “business” because these are authority websites people go to for highly relevant information on the business world. These websites are not only popular because of their high-quality content but also because visitors share the information found on those sites. And they do that every day! Hence, Google has a way of assessing the relationship of these brands with the keyword “business” and rank the appropriate domain names for that keyword even if the domain does not include the keyword.
Google is right on the money! If Google shows a domain on the top of SERP and people do not click on it, it will signal Google that the domain or website does not offer highly relevant information on business. Google’s SERP algorithm is such that it will then re-adjust the results for high CTR. That is why publishing high-quality content consistently on your site that visitors want and share on other popular websites is key to branding! Do you now see why your domain name must be simple and easy to spell? I call that user-friendly domain names! There are numerous names like that on the web such as reddit, Yahoo, Amazon, tumblr, etc.
This is why branding is more important than KMDN. In fact, Google often sees KMDN as spam, particularly for new websites with no popularity. On the other hand, if your website contains regularly updated content that is highly relevant under a centralized theme, It will attract visitors who would share the website. Once popularity is consistently increasing, Google will get the message loud and clear: We want this website on the top of SERP for these related keywords!
Why a .com domain name is best?
As you already know, .com is the most popular domain extension on the Internet. Usually, .com is the primary domain of most businesses. Many marketers often purchase the other extensions (.biz, .us, etc.) to snatch visitors from the primary domains. Therefore, the other extensions (with some exceptions) are often seen as spam. Just ask yourself this, when people say your brand, what extension will be automatically implied? So it may be in your best interest to pick a .com extension for your domain name.
Now let’s recap and go over the tips on picking the best domain name:
- Your brand name is best for your domain name
- It can never hurt to choose a .com extension
- Don’t be necessarily influenced by KMDN and use a keyword-matched domain. Although a partially matched domain is good, it is always best to go with a carefully chosen brand name.
- So Brand name is first for your domain. Then use high-quality content for keyword association.
- Never use numbers and hyphens in your domain name—never!
- Choose a short (think irs, sba, yahoo, twitter) etc., user-friendly brand name so that it is easy to remember and associate with the central concept of your business.
- Avoid spammy tricks such as misspelling—not good for your brand!
To summarize, a simple domain name and high-quality content around a centralized concept are key to branding success
Don’t forget to leave a comment on this article. I hope it helps!