Is Domain Name A Google Ranking Factor?

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Keep in mind the early days of the internet?

You could spend throughout the day talking with your buddies on AOL messenger while you played solitaire on Yahoo games. And after that your mommy got the phone to phone, and you were started the web. Great times.

In those days, if you were doing some shopping, there was a great chance you were doing it on a website with a precise match domain (EMD). For example, if you required a dog collar, you ‘d most likely end up on a site with an address like www.buydogcollars.com.

In those primitive days of seo, it prevailed for companies to put their precise target keyword expression right in their domain URL.

Sadly (or maybe fortunately, depending on how you feel about EMDs), fraudsters and bad actors took advantage of this, snatched up a lot of these domains, and connected them to low-grade sites.

So, what’s true today? Does your domain name have an impact on search results?

Let’s take a more detailed take a look at the debate.

[Download:] The Total Google Ranking Factors Guide

The Claim: Is Domain Call A Ranking Factor?

Having a specific match domain used to be a big offer.

In 2010, CarInsurance.com sold for $49.7 million: still the most pricey domain purchase of all time. So clearly, someone valued domains with that keyword.

It was (and sometimes still is) typical for individuals in the SEO industry to promote for EMDs. The claims around them usually being that they immediately create trustworthiness and generate an one-upmanship.

However keep in mind those bad actors we talked about in the last section? Ultimately, Google got wise to their keyword-stuffing URLs and altered its algorithm to discount them. But that’s not to say your site’s domain does not impact SEO.

The Proof: The Effect Of Domain On SEO

There is a lot of combined details about domain names and their effect on rankings.

There’s no question that domain names contributed in rankings at one point.

In a 2011 Webmaster Hangout, Matt Cutts, a software application engineer on Google’s Browse Quality group, acknowledged the function EMDs played in the tech giant’s search algorithm.

Nevertheless, he also mentioned:

“Therefore, we have actually been thinking about adjusting that mix a bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that offered 2 different domains it would not always assist you as much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords in it.”

And just one year later on, in 2012, Cutts tweeted that low-grade precise match domains would get decreased visibility in search results page.

Finally, in 2020, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller revealed keywords in domain names no longer play a role in identifying search engine results rankings.

Responding to a concern if keywords in domain names impact rankings throughout an Ask Google Webmasters video, he said, “In short, no. You don’t get a special perk like that from having a keyword in your high-level domain.”

However this does not imply that domain names are unimportant. They’re just not direct ranking aspects.

Discover more about Google Ranking Factors in our second Edition ebook.

Our Verdict: Your Domain Name Is Not A Ranking Factor, But Is Still Important

Now that we’ve developed that domain names are NOT a part of your overall search

engine rankings, SEO professionals can just ignore

them, right? Absolutely not. Your choice of a domain can be an important aspect of your UX and public image. Your domain need to generally be the most recognizable aspect of your business. Sometimes that’s not your service name but a specific brand name or trademark.

You might wish to consider subdomains and even different domains for various homes. If you offer items that resellers bring, this can help your customers find you more easily.

Utilizing keywords in your domain does not help in regards to search ranking; if not done properly, it might even hurt your SEO.

But, if your branding is greatly focused on a particular product or service, consisting of a keyword in the domain might help users understand what you’re about at a glimpse. A carefully placed keyword could also help bring in audiences likely to transform.

Don’t hesitate to utilize a keyword if it’s highly pertinent or part of your branding.

So, here’s the TL; DR: Your domain doesn’t straight affect your Google ranking but offers opportunities for smart web online marketers to reflect their brand name’s values and develop more positive user experiences.

For more aid choosing a domain, have a look at Roger Montti’s guidance.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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