We don’t apply SEO best practices to website content alone. Having an SEO-friendly domain name can serve as a solid foundation for your website and your brand’s online presence.
Your domain name is what people will type in their browsers to get to your website. Think of your website as a building on the internet, and your domain name is the address. If people don’t know your address, then they can’t come to visit you.
That’s why it’s so important to put some thought into your domain name. It has to embody your brand, be easy enough for your customers to remember, and be SEO-friendly to stand a chance of getting a higher rank in search results.
What Is an SEO-Friendly Domain Name?
Domains are the key to your website. Domain names are part of your website address, which we find before the dot sign. The part after the dot sign is the domain extension. An SEO-friendly domain name incorporates keywords to get higher rankings on search engines.
However, having an SEO-friendly domain name isn’t just about the keywords; your domain must attract and resonate with your target audience, too.
Having a keyword-rich domain name shouldn’t be the end all be all, but it’s a great start to your SEO strategy. The idea is to pick a domain name that adequately captures your brand values, while also building credibility and professionalism to ensure a high click-through rate.
How Do I Choose an SEO-friendly Domain Name?
Choosing an SEO-friendly domain name is vital for your website since it’s crucial to forming your first impression with your customers. Let’s take a look at some handy tips to help you in selecting an SEO-friendly domain name for your site:
Easy to Spell and Remember
Go for a domain name that’s easy enough for your customers to remember. It’s understandable to want to stand out from the rest by having some common words spelled differently, but this may confuse some of your target audience. They may not find your website or, worse, they may end up on other competitors’ websites.
Avoid Using Numbers and Hyphens
If you can help it, try to avoid using numbers and hyphens in your domain name. You wouldn’t want your clients to be confused on whether the number should be spelled out or to type the actual numbers. Neither would you want them to have to guess where they should put the hyphen.
That could be a source of confusion if your target audience got your domain name through word of mouth, podcast, or a radio advertisement.
Choose Top-Level Domain Extensions Carefully
Although the domain extension you choose might have little to no bearing at all when it comes to your search results ranking, it’s far better to choose from among the top-level domains (TLD) because they are the most popular. TLDs stick more to people’s memory when it comes to web addresses, like .com, .org, .edu, and .net.
.biz and .info are some of the examples of domain extensions that spammers use. Using a domain extension that people associate with spammers will hurt your credibility. They can make your target audience wary on whether to trust your website’s content.
Understand When to Use Discoverable or Brandable Domain Names
Discoverable domain names are usually descriptive and include keywords related to your business. If you’re still building your online following, then this route is the way to go. With a discoverable domain, someone who’s doing a web search will likely find your site, even though they don’t know about your brand, or your brand is still in its infancy.
Brandable domain names are unique and don’t offer any descriptions of the business. Examples are Google.com and Apple.com. They are short, easy to remember and pronounce, allowing them to stand out from others. However, this would only be ideal if you have a brand already established and known by many people. If your brand is still new, you can use paid search listings or promotions through mentions from famous brands or people.
In choosing between discoverable and brandable domain names, you’ll have to consider which will work best for you and your business. Choose the type of domain name that’s most likely to drive more traffic, which is the ultimate goal.
Steer Clear of Repeating Letters
Using repeating letters may lend personality to your brand since they’re likely to be unique. Perhaps your chosen domain name is already taken, and so you want to mix things up a bit to make it original. In any case, be careful about using repeating letters as they can be confusing.
Yes.com and Yeeessss.com may convey the same idea. The latter may give off a bit of a fun personality, but it also gives a higher possibility for typing errors. It’s better to keep things easy and not let your customers wonder how many Es or Ss they have to type, lest they land on another website.
Incorporate Relevant Keywords
Putting an SEO keyword in your domain name may help boost your website’s search traffic. Two of the ways you can incorporate keywords is by choosing a local domain or a service domain. A local domain uses a specific location like New York to let search engines know they are in that area. It would land you in search results specific to the place that a user typed in the search engine.
A service domain uses keywords that focus on the services or products that the brand sells. It would also give your target audience an idea about what your website will offer. Using a keyword about your services will also encourage users to click on your link, especially if your service is what they are looking for on the web.
Does a Long Domain Name Affect SEO?
Short answer — No. A long domain name won’t affect your website’s SEO rankings. Although a short and concise domain name is preferable as it’s easier for consumers to remember, you can use a long domain name, preferably up to four words, if the nature of your business can’t be explained in a word or two.
Does Changing Domain Name Affect SEO?
Yes. Changing your domain name will affect your search referral traffic. You’ll need to temporarily give the search engines some time to sort out the redirects, but it can be permanent if you can’t redirect old URLs to your new domain name. You may have to start from scratch by providing useful content to recover all your lost traffic.
That’s another reason to take the time to consider your domain name options and pick something you know you’re comfortable using for the next several years.
Choosing an SEO-friendly domain name is not as complicated as it seems. Using a short and concise domain name will make things easier for you and your target audience.
Keep in mind, though, that having the perfect domain name is not the automatic answer to getting higher rankings on a search result page. That’s just a gear in the whole machinery that needs to work with other gears, like quality content and eye-catching graphic designs.
Need professional help choosing an SEO-friendly domain name or perhaps building a quality, responsive website to go with your desired domain name? RxMedia is the digital marketing expert to call. You can reach us at 503-974-3297 or through our contact form. We’d love to hear from you!