- When it comes to your online existence, your domain name is the first thing your audience sees.
- Ultimately, you should choose a domain name that helps you build a trusted brand.
- Make your domain name short & pronounceable, otherwise visitors won’t remember it.
- Your domain name should communicate the purpose of the page to the user. Therefore, the more keyword-rich and well-branded your URL is, the better it will resonate.
This post was written by Alisha Shibli, a contributor from Radix.website
You only get one chance to make a good first impression. When it comes to your online existence, your domain name is the first thing your audience and Google sees. Your primary domain name and other page URLs are the building blocks of an effective site hierarchy, as they direct your users to their desired destination. In fact, your web address is one of the many building blocks of your overall website SEO and sustainable web presence. Which is why it is essential to get your primary domain name right.
When it comes to putting the theory to practice, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are a few easy rules that you can follow to get the domain name that will contribute to your business’ overall success.
Domain names and their impact on SEO
Before we get started on the “hows” of choosing a great domain name, it’s best to address “why” you need that domain name to be striking in the first place.
Not too long ago, Google’s search algorithm would have ranked your website high if your domain name matched the search keywords it wanted to rank for. But then it came to light that “exact match domains” did not necessarily have the most relevant information, and algorithms were changed to move away from this.
For example, if you want to rank for keywords “Chicago florist,” then simply having the domain “www.chicagoflorist.com” won’t help. What you really need is an alignment of hundreds of factors, but the four that stand out are:
- Website content (relevance, quality, recency, authenticity, etc.)
- Credible backlinks (especially on keywords you wish to rank for)
- Anchor text (in tandem with point #2)
- Mobile-compatible design (because more and more people are accessing the Internet on mobile first)
What does this mean for domain names? It means that now you need not go after matching your domain name with your “top SEO keywords”. Instead, you can choose the domain name that helps you build a trusted brand.
In one of its updates, Google also suggested that if two websites have everything identical except their domain names, the search engine would give higher ranking to the one with a shorter domain name. That’s all the more reason to go for brandable domains instead of chasing keywords in a long domain name.
For example, here’s a look at examples of short domain names which are relevant, memorable and descriptive:
In the long run, if your website gets credible backlinks on anchor text matching your domain name, it will give a positive signal to Google’s search engine about the relevance of your website for those keywords!
How to choose a domain name that builds a brand
1. Make your domain name short and pronounceable
Often businesses overlook this factor and create domain names that are long and complicated, thus not adhering to the ‘processing fluency’ rule. Simply put, it is a cognitive bias that people have where they remember things better that they can easily say or think about. This includes pronounceability in their own minds. If your users can easily say your domain name, you’re going to nail processing fluency, memorability, and the many benefits of brandability that you’ve created.
Processing fluency is also the reason behind having a short domain name. The fewer characters in a domain name, the easier it’ll be to say, share, type and most importantly, remember. The shorter, the better.
For example, compare these two examples and decide for yourself which of these two would fare better on processing fluency:
Compared to the former, the latter domain name has a better chance of being remembered because it is short, simple, and easy to remember.
2. Put your keywords in the spotlight
Every element of your website must serve a purpose. From the primary domain name to all the other internal URLs, each page should be there for a reason—be it transactional, informational or administrative.
To ensure that your domains communicate something to your users and search engine crawlers, try to incorporate certain relevant terms and keywords. A good domain name is one that tells the user what the website/page is about before the user gets to the page. The challenge with this is getting the domain name you want on some of the commonly used domain extensions. To combat this challenge, use new and brandable domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .ONLINE, .PRESS, .SITE, or .WEBSITE to get the address you need.
For example, while www.jutebags.com is taken, www.jutebags.site is still available, and the latter makes your domain name look unique and helps it stand out from the competition.
3. Avoid fancy words and unnecessary characters
As mentioned earlier, your domain name should communicate the purpose of the page to the user. Therefore, the more keyword-rich and well-branded your URL is, the better it will resonate with your user. This is why domain extensions are a crucial aspect of the URL. When put after your brand name, these words immediately communicate what the website will be about to its user. And if the users start understanding what the website is about, Google will derive all the meaning it requires too.
Look at one of the top airlines Emirates, for example. They have two URLs (www.emirates.com and www.emirates.store). One directs to their commercial website while the other directs to their merchandise store and looking at the two domain names, it’s not difficult to guess the unique purpose that each of them serves. This is one of the biggest benefits of having branded domain names.
Building a brand online takes effort and a clear strategy. Moreover, when it comes to securing top Google rankings, aspects such as domain name, content quality, relevant backlinks, and the age of the website, come into play. Your domain name is the first point of contact for the user and has a significant impact on your online presence. Getting that right can put you on the successful path of SEO.
About The Author: Alisha Shibli is a Content Marketing Specialist at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .STORE and .TECH. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.