Among the numerous ranking factors that can make or break your business in the competitive online realm and help you reach the top spot in organic searches, not many business owners stop to consider how their domain name is affecting their ranking. While it is true that you should focus on meticulous website optimization and design, as well as creating compelling, SEO-driven content on a regular basis, and while it is true that you should disseminate that content to drive link juice to your site, it’s also important to keep in mind that your root domain (domain name plus top-level domain) can have a significant impact on your long-term position in the SERPs.
To capitalize on your domain in the long run and maximize your SEO potential, it’s important that you choose your domain name wisely and leverage some of the best practices that the most popular brands are using to rank high in their niche. Let’s take a look at the five key tips you can use to boost SEO using your domain.
Choosing a memorable domain name
Making your domain name short and memorable is important for two key reasons: it boosts word-of-mouth marketing while making it easy for people to reach your site, and it affects your ranking potential with Google and other relevant search engines. If the visitor can remember your domain name, they will be more inclined to come back to your site and link positive emotions with your brand because you’re helping reduce customer effort, which is always good.
On the other hand, this high level of accessibility and user-friendliness will signal Google that your site is relevant to the online audience and will, therefore, improve your ranking in the search results. With that in mind, choose domain names that are short and catchy, and easy to read. Because remember, search engines love URLs with high readability, so make it as simple as possible.
Using keywords strategically
You shouldn’t stuff keywords into your articles or web page content, and you shouldn’t stuff them into your URL. These keyword-targeted domain names used to be popular back in the day, but in recent years they have come under a lot of scrutinies due to the high risk of spam and possible scams, which created a negative bias and has prompted Google to de-prioritize them. Then again, if you can squeeze in a keyword that is relevant to your business and industry while keeping your domain name short and memorable, don’t hesitate to do it – but not at the risk of getting penalized in the long run.
Using a keyword-dense domain name is often associated with low-level websites that people aren’t exactly keen to interact with, which can signal to Google that you’re up to no good, especially if you don’t update your site regularly and keep dishing out top-quality content year-round. Bottom line: use a relevant keyword, but only if it feels natural.
Creating a personalized experience with TLDs
Nowadays, digital marketing and business, in general, are all about personalization. In this day and age of hyper-competitiveness in the online realm, customers value the opportunity to connect with a brand on a more personal level and establish a meaningful relationship. This is how successful businesses drive customer retention forward, and how you can leverage your domain name to create a personalized experience for your online audience.
It’s important that you learn how to personalize your service effectively in numerous key ways to create a comprehensive personalization strategy, and you should start by choosing a top-level domain that facilitates that, such as a .me TLD. Once you get a TLD that personalizes your business, you will be able to create a strong call to action that will incentivize visitors to interact with your website, and memorize your name with ease.
Avoid low-level domains
Speaking of domains, it’s also important to remember and truly appreciate the value of a top-level domain. You should look for those high-ranking, recognizable TLDs that people know about and search engines rank higher to boost your SEO potential and build your brand’s reputation and authority in the competitive field.
Even if your domain name is already taken over at .com, .me, or .net, for example, you should still avoid settling with low-quality TLDs like .biz, .info, or .ws. This is because lesser-known domains are frequently associated with spammy behavior, and therefore tend to receive less traffic.
Don’t use hyphens
Finally, you might think that readability trumps simplicity, but that’s not always the case. For example, you might feel inclined to separate two words in your domain with a hyphen to make it easier to read, but in reality, all you’re doing is making the nameless memorable, and you’re actually decreasing readability – all the while associating your site with the millions of spammy websites out there that use hyphens.
As a general rule, you should avoid using hyphens, but you can get away with it if it’s absolutely necessary. At the end of the day, the cons far outweigh the potential pros of hyphens, even if they help clean up your domain name at first glance.
There are many SEO factors that influence a website’s standing in the competitive online world, and while a domain might not be the most important of the bunch, it can still push your site up the SEO ladder in the long run. Use these tips to optimize your URL and improve your position in the relevant SERPs.