Keep in mind the early days of the internet?
You might invest throughout the day talking with your friends on AOL messenger while you played solitaire on Yahoo video games. And then your mother picked up the phone to phone, and you were kicked off the web. Great times.
In those days, if you were doing some shopping, there was a good chance you were doing it on a site with an exact match domain (EMD). For instance, if you needed a pet dog collar, you ‘d probably end up on a site with an address like www.buydogcollars.com.
In those primitive days of seo, it prevailed for business to put their exact target keyword phrase right in their domain URL.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, depending upon how you feel about EMDs), scammers and bad stars made the most of this, nabbed up a number of these domains, and linked them to low-grade sites.
So, what’s true today? Does your domain have an influence on search engine result?
Let’s take a better look at the debate.
[Download:] The Total Google Ranking Elements Guide
The Claim: Is Domain Call A Ranking Element?
Having a specific match domain used to be a huge deal.
In 2010, CarInsurance.com sold for $49.7 million: still the most pricey domain purchase of perpetuity. So clearly, someone valued domains with that keyword.
It was (and sometimes still is) typical for individuals in the SEO industry to advocate for EMDs. The claims around them usually being that they quickly generate trustworthiness and create an one-upmanship.
However keep in mind those bad stars we talked about in the last section? Eventually, Google got smart to their keyword-stuffing URLs and changed its algorithm to discount them. But that’s not to state your website’s domain name does not impact SEO.
The Proof: The Impact Of Domain On SEO
There is a lot of mixed information about domain names and their impact on rankings.
There’s no question that domain contributed in rankings at one point.
In a 2011 Webmaster Hangout, Matt Cutts, a software application engineer on Google’s Search Quality group, acknowledged the function EMDs played in the tech giant’s search algorithm.
Nevertheless, he likewise mentioned:
“Therefore, we have been thinking of changing that mix a bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that given two different domains it wouldn’t necessarily help you as much to have a domain with a lot of keywords in it.”
And simply one year later on, in 2012, Cutts tweeted that low-quality precise match domains would get lowered presence in search results page.
Lastly, in 2020, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller revealed keywords in domain names no longer contribute in determining search engine results rankings.
Responding to a question if keywords in domain impact rankings during an Ask Google Webmasters video, he stated, “In other words, no. You do not get an unique bonus offer like that from having a keyword in your top-level domain.”
But this doesn’t imply that domain are unimportant. They’re simply not direct ranking elements.
Find out more about Google Ranking Factors in our second Edition ebook.
Our Decision: Your Domain Name Is Not A Ranking Aspect, However Is Still Important
Now that we’ve developed that domain names are NOT a part of your overall search
engine rankings, SEO professionals can simply forget
them, right? Never. Your choice of a domain can be an important element of your UX and public image. Your domain must typically be the most recognizable element of your company. Often that’s not your service name however a particular brand name or trademark.
You may want to consider subdomains or perhaps separate domains for different homes. If you sell products that resellers carry, this can assist your clients discover you more easily.
Using keywords in your domain doesn’t assist in regards to search ranking; if not done correctly, it could even harm your SEO.
But, if your branding is heavily focused on a particular service or product, consisting of a keyword in the domain might assist users understand what you’re about at a glimpse. A carefully put keyword could likewise assist bring in audiences most likely to convert.
Don’t hesitate to use a keyword if it’s highly relevant or part of your branding.
So, here’s the TL; DR: Your domain does not directly affect your Google ranking but provides chances for savvy web marketers to reflect their brand’s worths and develop more positive user experiences.
For more help picking a domain name, have a look at Roger Montti’s guidance.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel
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