Domain Names and SEO
There are many factors effecting search engine optimization and ultimately placement in the search engine results pages. One of the most overlooked factors is the domain name. Too many businesses don’t spend the necessary time and resources to research the best possible domain for their business. This is a very important step since the domain name is the identity of the business or company. A website may undergo a number of changes and redesigns over the life of the business but a domain name will stay the same. It should because changing a domain name will impact any SEO gains, at least in the short term, or permanently, if the switch is not done correctly. Here are some factors to keep in mind when choosing a domain name:
1. Age of the domain name
It is a very well known fact that an aged domain name, or a domain name that has been registered for a number of years, will be treated very differently than a brand new freshly registered domain. Due to the fact that so many domains are registered for a year and then dropped, many by squatters and spammers, Google keeps domains that are less than a year old in what is referred to as a “sandbox”. That is, way down in the search results and of low importance. The older the domain name, the more credibility it will have with Google.
The question then is, how do you acquire an aged domain name? There are many options available. You can hire a domain broker to research best possible options for you in the aftermarket. A domain aftermarket is where domain owners put up their registered domains for sale. If you find a domain that would be a perfect fit for your business and it is not being fully utilized (or has a for sale sign), you can reach out to the owner. However, be warned that aftermarket domains are not cheap. Your best option again would be a domain broker to negotiate the best possible deal for you.
2. Length of domain registration
Domains that are registered one year at a time and renewed one year at a time are treated with caution by Google since there is a strong possibility that the domain is registered for short term and may be dropped or forgotten to be renewed. Domains that are registered for multiple years at a time demonstrate that the owners are serious about building a brand around the domain and it will be around for a long period of time. Again, this builds credibility. Any website built on a domain that has a renewal period of 5 years, for example, will be taken more seriously by Google than one that will expire in 1 year.
3. Length of domain name
If you are an established company, then the choice of the domain name is pretty clear: it should match the name of your company. What if there are other companies that have the same name operating in different parts of the country or the world? In this case, you can add ‘inc’, ‘ltd, ‘int’ or ‘group’ or something else that makes sense. You can also look at other extensions such as .net or your country’s extension (i.e. country code).
Another option is to choose a domain the exactly matches the description of your services. For example, if your business name is PV Estates and you sell real estate in Puerto Vallarta but the PVEstates.com domain is taken by a realty in another part of the world. You may opt to acquire PuertoVallartaEstates.com as a descriptive name that would make the perfect choice.
The caution here is to choose as short as possible domain name. Ideal is exact match of your company name or exact match of your services. Do not exceed more than 3 words in the domain.
4. Extension of the domain name
It is clear that .com is still the king of domain extensions. The original three extensions, .com .net and .org, still have the most value in search rankings. If you do business mainly in your country’s area then a country code extension for your country would be on top of your list of options. It is yet unclear how Google will view the new alternative extensions such as .guide, .services, .club, .agency, etc. If you decide to register a domain name with one of the new extensions be sure that the right of the dot matches a word in your company name or description of your business. For example, if your name is Global Ventures, then it makes sense to acquire Global.Ventures as your domain. But GlobalVentures.tips would not make sense. If your business is financial services, then it makes sense to acquire Financial.Services but not FinancialServices.club.
It is important to note that the domain name is only one factor of many. A domain name alone will not guarantee good search engine positioning. It can help however. At the same time, a poorly chosen domain name does not spell poor search engine positioning either if SEO is done very well.
If you are looking for the perfect domain name for your business then Search Ops can research for you the best possible options.