On their own, domain names do not have much impact on SEO. Recent studies have shown that search engines tend to assign the same value to recently registered domains until other factors become an issue. From the beginning, all pages have the potential to achieve a higher ranking. However, SEO comes into play when you are trying to target a specific audience or market. This is where you will want to make sure to exercise some consideration and select the best possible option. Here to help you out with that is a brief article explaining how domain names and domain extensions affect SEO.
Choosing A Second Level Domain
When it comes to choosing a name for your Second Level Domain (SLD), which is the typical domain name sans extension, try to use target keywords and your brand name. If you are unable to add the former in a way that appears natural, the brand name will do just fine. Additionally, keep in mind that shorter domain names tend to be more popular. One or two words should be enough.
Choosing A Top Level Domain
If you have ever looked into extensions, you probably already know that there are more than 500—and even more on the way. So how do you know which one is best for SEO purposes?
First, you need to ascertain your target location: are you specifically targeting areas throughout Australia? If so, an .au extension will serve you better than a .com extension. To this extent, it is always helpful to consider your TLD as essentially geo-specific. Additionally, using .com or .org will tell Google that you are not targeting a specific area.
Second, keep in mind that TLDs give you an opportunity to make your domain industry specific. For example, food blogs and companies can use the .food extension. So before settling on a TLD, do some research and determine if there is one specific to your industry that will suit your brand better than a traditional .com or .org.
It should also be noted that the .com extension is still used by over 75 percent of companies. So if you do not need to engage in geo-specific targeting, it is highly recommended that you stick with a .com extension.
How Does This Affect SEO?
Google’s algorithm utilizes over 200 ranking factors, of which the domain name is only one. As such, it has very little impact on your site’s SEO. However, an effective SLD and TLD can still come in handy in terms of increasing your reputation and page authority, as well as signaling your relevancy as it relates to particular search terms. Additionally, a carefully chosen SLD and TLD will put you directly in front of your target audience.
While Google has recently mentioned that they will continue to rank pages in regards to relevancy rather than by their domain name and extension, it is still ideal to have a domain name that conveys what your brand is all about. So take some time and pick a name that suits you, then optimize it with SEO best practices and a sophisticated content creation strategy.