The number of factors that affect the SEO of websites not only increases on a regular basis, they also change frequently. Some are complicated, and others are straightforward. One factor that you might think has little or no impact is the domain name of your website, however, it does play an important part. Here are 7 tips which can help to improve your SEO efforts and your Google ranking when choosing your domain name correctly.
- Keep Your Domain Name Length To 15 Characters Or Less.
If you were to analyse the domain names of the top 100,000 ranked websites on Google, you will find that their average length is 9 characters or less. Shorter domains names are much easier to remember and share in terms of people passing on or recommending your website. For example, compare www thebusinessandinvestmenttoptipswebsite.com to www.biztips.com. and it is clear the latter is far more desirable.
- Check To See If Your Domain Is Available On All Your Social Media Channels.
With the huge and ever-increasing importance of social media, it is no surprise that it plays a role in Google rankings. The authority of sites such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, means that having a presence on them and other social media sites can boost your SEO efforts.
For this reason, you should first check to see if any of the domain names you are considering are also available on social media platforms. A great tool for this is ‘knowem.com’ where you can enter a name and it will check hundreds of social media sites to see if it is still available or not.
- Don’t Pack Your Domain Name With Keywords
The days of having ridiculously long domain names which read more like a list of keywords, with or without hyphens, are long gone. Google frowns upon this activity, and it also looks very spammy when potential customers see it. It’s ok to have one or two keywords, so a domain for a will writing service such as ‘premierwillwriting.com should be ok. However, using something like ‘the-best-and-cheapest-will-writing-and legal-services-company.com, will be penalized, and it looks ridiculous too.
- Try To Get A Top-Level Domain (TLD)
Top level domains are those with .com, .net, or.org. extensions that come after the domain name. These are seen by internet users as the most established and trusted because they have been around for longest. Whilst newer extensions such as .co, .biz, or .ws are used by some successful web businesses, these are in the minority compared to the top-level domain extensions.
- Avoid Using Hyphens
There have been many examples of unscrupulous web owners trying to use hyphens to piggyback off the reputation of an existing business. An example of this might be ‘insta-gram.com’, or ‘trip-advisor.com’. Not only could this practice have the legal representatives of these companies knocking on your door, it will also appear to be spammy to a customer. Google will certainly penalize your ranking if your domain name is full of hyphens.
- Don’t Use Numbers In Your Domain Name
Whilst there are some successful companies which have numbers in their name, using them in a domain brings problems in terms of trying to rank your website. The most obvious is whether the number is used as a numeral such as ‘100’ or as a word, such as ‘onehundred’. Always seek to avoid confusion in relation to your domain name.
- Make Sure Your Domain Name Is Not Ambiguous
Unfortunately, the English language has many words which have two or more meanings, and where possible, you should avoid using those words in your domain name. There are certain combinations of words, which can create very unwanted double meanings. An example is ‘therapistcourse.com’, which may be for a course teaching people to be therapists, however, it can be read as ‘the rapist course’, which is not what you would want people to believe the site is about.