Does a Domain Name Affect SEO Ranking?

Your domain name is a crucial decision when building a new website or brand. While it is important for it to be easy to remember and catchy for marketing reasons, there are also a set of best practices associated with SEO for your domain name. Your choice can negatively or positively affect how you rank in search engine results, based on a few factors.

Let’s take a look at how your domain name can impact your SEO and some best practices you should consider when choosing a new domain name.

How Does Your Domain Impact Your SEO and Rankings?

The goal of your domain name is to let people know what your website is about, whether it is a brand, a service, or informational. On a search results page, your domain name is visible and clickable, so users are likely to notice it. More relevant domain names are more likely to be clicked on by users, which is why many scammers will buy uploads of domain names containing highly searched keywords.

If you decide to use keywords in your domain name, you want to make sure they are relevant and targeted. If you offer dog walking services in Seattle, you may rank well with a domain like seattledogwalker.com or dogwalksforseattle.com. The downside to many of these domains is that they are difficult to obtain and may not rank as well as something more specific, like a brand name.

Branding and Domains

Keywords are not the only relevant factor for your domain name. In addition to including keywords in your domain, search engines also consider branding, especially if your brand is well-known or already being searched for. Choosing a brand domain will help users remember your domain and make it easier to share.

The key to using your brand in your domain name is brand recognition. Google and other search engines rank brand domains higher than keywords domains because it can help users find exactly what they are looking for, rather than something similar. If you have a strong, established brand, there is no need to use keywords to try to help you rank higher.

In general, it is best to use your brand name for your domain name if you have already established a recognizable brand, you’re begun marketing and promotions using that brand name, your brand is unique or uses your own name, and if you want to make sure that your website ranks when people search for your brand name.

How to Optimize Your Domain for SEO

There are a few different best practices that you can select when working to optimize your domain for SEO. Let’s go through a few examples for our Seattle dog walking service, whose brand name is Paws On The Ground.

  1. Brand Domain: PawsOnTheGround.com

We outlined many of the benefits of using a brand domain above, but it really comes down to brand recognition. Users who are searching for your brand will easily be able to find it with this domain. However, it is not helpful for ranking for anything other than your brand name. You will need to work hard to associate your services with your brand through marketing and promotion.

  1. Keyword Domain: LocalDogWalking.com

As we mentioned above, keyword domains can help target specific users that are searching for your service or product but do not know your specific brand. This domain may help you bring in new customers, but it will be very difficult to rank in and many of these domains will already be purchased.

  1. Service Domain: PawsOnTheGroundDogWalking.com

This type of domain is helpful because it lets users know what you offer and still helps establish your brand. However, this domain does limit you if you decide to expand your services to include dog sitting or other animals.

  1. Keyword & Local Domain: SeattleDogWalking.com

This combination allows search engines to target both your specific location and the service you provide, which is ideal for both you and your users. Unfortunately, many of these domains have already been purchased or are expensive to obtain.

Other Things to Consider

A few other things to consider when choosing your domain are to make sure it’s easy to remember, doesn’t look particularly spammy, and is easy to read. Avoid misspelling common words on purpose as this will likely just confuse users.

Contact Capstone Today for Your Marketing Needs!

If you need help selecting the best domain name for your new brand or website, contact our team at Capstone Digital Marketing to set up a consultation today.

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