If you are thinking about creating website, the first thing that you will need to think about is the domain name. The domain name is the url that will identify your business’s online presence and is a key component in developing a website that contributes to your commercial success. One of the main reasons behind the importance of a domain name is that it can have a direct relationship with the optimisation of a website’s online presence through raising its profile in search engine results.
Prior to 2012 it was relatively easy to raise a website’s search engine profile by selecting what is known as an exact match domain name (EMD). This is a domain name that contains the key words that an internet search engine user would be likely to type into a search. For example, a business that is selling cheap gold cufflinks could achieve good rankings simply through using the domain name “cheapgoldcufflinks.com”. However, in 2012, Google made an announcement that websites would no longer have prominence in their search results solely by reason of having key search words in their domain name. In fact, domain names that are stuffed with keywords may even be considered to be low quality, spammy sites and consequently relegated by the search engines.
Domain Name SEO
Here are a few factors that you should consider when selecting a domain name.
- The prefix .com is generally considered to be the most authoritative, although, if your targeted audience is limited to one country, you may wish to use the local prefix such as .co.uk or .ca. In either case it may be worth buying domains with both prefixes to avoid competition. Top level domains such as .biz. .info and .ws should be avoided as many web users feel that they are associated with lower quality sites.
- Choose a name that is original, unique, catchy and reflects the branding of your business. It is acceptable if, within this context, you can incorporate a keyword that is reflective of what your business does as long as you avoid keyword “stuffing” and running the risk associated with EMDs.
- If it is possible, the use of hyphens in a domain name should be avoided. This is because hyphens in a domain name are often associated with spammy content. Additionally, hyphens impact adversely on the readability of a domain and are also considered to make it more difficult to memorise the domain name.
- Make your domain name a memorable one. You should try to find a domain name that is short, punchy and simple to both remember and type. It should also be easy to say, so that anyone passing it on to a friend or business colleague can convey the identity of your site quickly and easily. You should avoid domain names that are too lengthy, have unusual characters or are difficult to pronounce. Any of these characteristics will be likely to reduce the effectiveness of word of mouth promotion of your website.
Although the choice of the right domain name cannot guarantee success in the search engines’ ranking of your business, choosing the wrong one can definitely have a negative impact.