Picking the Right Domain Name - Secrets to SEO Success
Don’t make the mistake of choosing the wrong domain name for your website. Learn the secrets to finding one that will help you build a strong online presence. Whether you are developing a new website or re-branding an existing site, your domain name will have an impact on all your online marketing strategies. Having the right domain name will:
- Make it easier for potential customers to find you
- Improve your SEO
- Help build your brand and your business
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
Before you get started searching for a domain name, it's important to understand the structure of a URL. Simply put, the URL is what someone would type into a web browser address bar to find a website. Some URL components are required, while others are optional.
|Top-level Domain (Extension)||.com||Yes|
|Query & Parameters||?keyword=seo||No|
Protocols are used to identify how information is transmitted from the client (a web user's computer) to the server. The protocols you will see most include:
- Hypertext Transfer Protocol: http://
- Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure: https://
- File Transfer Protocol: ftp://
A domain name has a hierarchical structure and the subdomain is the third level of the domain hierarchy. It’s positioned between the protocol and the second-level domain. The following two URLs provide examples of subdomains.
Second-level Domain (SLD)
The second level of the domain hierarchy is found directly after the subdomain, as shown in the URL illustration. The SLD is chosen by the person registering the domain name.
Top-level Domain (TLD)
The TLD, also referred to as the extension, is found at the top level of the domain hierarchy. Every URL has an extension, the most commonly used extensions are .com, .net, and, .org.
Exact Match Domains (EMD)
In the past, many people registered Exact Match Domains. EMDs were domain names that contained the website's primary keywords. If you had one, search engines would instantly rank your website higher in search engine result pages (SERPs) for those keywords.
For example, if you had wanted to rank higher for fitness clothing, all you need to do was purchase a domain like buyaffordablefitnessclothing.com and your search engine rank would increase for the keywords “fitness clothing.” It was that simple!
Since then, search engines have smartened up and changed their algorithms. Domain names no longer have the impact on search engines as they once did, but they are still very important to SEO. Having the right domain name will improve your on-page and off-page SEO.
Now that you have more knowledge on the URL structure and EMDs, it's time to learn the secrets to finding the right domain name.
Make it brandable
A brandable domain name will help improve your SEO. When choosing one, make sure it's unique and fits your brand. Many successful websites have made up names, so try to be creative and come up with a new word, but make sure it's easy to remember!
Keep it short and memorable
Short domain names tend to be more appealing and memorable than long ones. The goal is to keep it short and simple. If your domain name is too long, people may have a difficult time remembering it. Also, try to avoid using dashes because they are not easy to remember. It’s also a good idea to avoid numbers. People may not know if you are spelling out the number (OneYourSite.com) or using a numeral (1YourSite.com).
If you must use a number, be sure to register the spelled out and numeral versions of the domain name. Once you have registered the different versions, you can set up server redirects to direct all traffic to your primary URL. If someone were to type in the wrong version, they would always reach you.
Include your location
If you have a local business and your objective is to attract people in your area, consider using your city or state in your domain name to make it easier for potential customers to find you.
Use the .com extension
Your domain name is what people will type into a web browser address bar to find you, such as "YourSite.com." The .com extension has become the most commonly used extension today, which is why it's important to find a domain name that has it. But don’t limit yourself to registering just one. It’s a good idea to register multiple domain names to prevent your competitors from purchasing them, and to help further secure your online identity.
For example, if you wanted to register, “YourSite.com,” consider registering:
If you have a domain name that is commonly misspelled, consider registering the misspelled versions as well. If someone were to accidentally type it, they would still find you. Once you have registered all your domain names, a simple redirect can be added to your web server to direct all traffic to your primary website.
Domain names have a significant impact on a website's success. It's important to find one that is brandable and memorable. If you have a local business and your objective is to attract people in your area, consider including your city or state in your domain name; this will make it easier for potential customers to find you. Last but not least, try to register your primary domain name with the .com extension and don't forget to register multiple extensions. By registering multiple extensions, you prevent your competitors from purchasing them and help further secure your online identity.
To register your domain name or get ideas on potential domain names, visit GoDaddy. GoDaddy is one of the most widely used domain registrars.
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