You may have heard the question, “What’s in a name?”. Well, when it comes to websites and where they rank in Google, their name, or to be more precise, their domain name, can mean a lot. This stems firstly from the fact that when Google is placing importance upon where a keyword related to a website is located, at the top of that hierarchy is the domain name. This means if your domain name exactly matches a keyword, it goes a long way to improving your rankings.
Of course, this should not mean that you should drop everything and try to find a domain that exactly matches your main keyword. Why? Well, unless you are lucky or looking for a domain within a very narrow niche, it is more than likely that the domain you are seeking has already been taken. That does not mean they all are, but finding an exact match domain is a lot more difficult than it has ever been.
Whether you can find an exact match domain or not, there are additional ways you can ensure your domain name helps your rankings rather than hinders them. These come from many years of research done by SEO experts and also from some of the advice that Google has published. So, here are seven tips on choosing the optimal domain name.
Do Not Keyword Stuff Your Domain Name: If you cannot get an exact match domain do not try to compensate by stuffing your domain name full of keywords. “loseweightlosepoundsshedfatweightlossdiet.com” screams spam and will win you no ranking favours from Google.
Try To Find Domain Names With Less Than 12 Characters: There is some debate as to what the ideal length of a domain name should be. Some say it should be below 15 characters which should be fine. Ideally, if you can get a domain with less than 12 characters it will be very easy to remember
Select A Domain Name Which Is Also Available On Social Media Sites: Whilst your domain name is what identifies your website, for branding purposes and to have multiple web properties you want a domain name that is also available for use on other platforms, especially social media. Go to ‘knowem.com’ and enter your potential domain name to find out where else it is available.
Use One Of The Top Three Extensions: When you search for domains on a domain registrar it will recommend dozens of different extensions. Unless being recognised in a specific country is important to you, for example, “co.uk” in the United Kingdom, or “.com.au” for Australia, then you should avoid these. Instead go with one of the top three extensions which are “.com”, “.net” and “.org”.
Avoid Using Numbers: This one is quite simple. Numbers might be ok when written but when telling people your domain name they will never know whether it is the numeral or the word. For example, “7” and “seven”.
Do Not Use Hyphens: On a similar theme to numbers, when you tell someone your domain but forgot to include the hyphens they are likely to type in the wrong URL. Plus, hyphens look somewhat spammy in certain niches.
Avoid Ambiguity And Embarrassment: Sticking with the theme of avoiding confusion do not have a domain that seems ambiguous, confusing or has an embarrassing double meaning. Real examples of these include Experts Exchange whose domain is expertsexchange.com and PowerGen in Italy who innocently chose powergenitalia.com. Ciao!