Domain is defined as a “domain name” that is used instead of an IP address to reach an Internet site using certain words. It is considered a building block of a website, so you should think carefully while you choose a domain. There are quite the number of tips on the Internet for choosing the perfect domain name, but in a nutshell, it needs to be suitable for your business, easy to find and easy to remember. While you choose a domain, keep in mind that it has an important place when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In addition, the domain you choose also has an important place in indexing and page rankings.
This is why you shouldn’t rush it while you choose a domain. You need to make a decision keeping in mind the criteria that help SEO work be successful.
Now let’s have a look at what those criteria entail…
The suitability of keywords
While you choose a domain, remember that in order to be a step ahead of your competitors, your domain name needs to be compatible with your keyword; even better if the keyword can be integrated into the domain itself. Also, putting the keyword at the beginning of the domain has a positive effect on SEO. For example, if you own a cosmetics business, cosmeticsstore.com is much better for SEO than storeforcosmetics.com.
When your visitors come to your website by typing your domain into their browsers’ address bars instead of through an online search, this also has positive effect on your SEO. When people visit your site directly like this, Google thinks your website is even more valuable and improves its ranking.
This is why while you choose a domain, you shouldn’t forget that in addition to containing keywords, the domain you pick needs to be easy to remember, short (maximum 3 words), and simple enough to type and pronounce.
While registering your domain, try to stay away from hyphens and numbers. You lose your originality when you opt to use a hyphen between words when the domain you actually want isn’t available. More likely, your visitors won’t remember to put in the hyphen and end up on your competitor’s website instead.
Domain name extension
Once you choose a domain, you also need to choose a domain extension. Experts are still discussing the effects of the domain name extension on SEO. Even though the extension isn’t that important as long as you have a keyword compatible, authentic domain, .com is still one of the most popular, most-preferred domain extensions.
As they enter your website, most users don’t pay that much attention to the extension. When they want to come back to your website by typing in the address, 90% of them will automatically type in .com.
If you choose a domain and are able to get the .com extension, you can also purchase alternative extensions (.net, .org, .biz, .info, etc.) and direct those to your website as well. This way, you can be somehow protected from others stealing your business identity.
Below are the frequently used domain name extensions and what kind of businesses use them:
- .com: Commercial businesses
- .net: Internet Companies and Entrepreneurs
- .org: Organizations and Institutions
- .gov: Government Organizations
- .edu: Educational Institutions
- .mil: Military Organizations
- .ac: Academic Institutions
Domain name extensions that represent a country are important from a domain-focused SEO point of view. If you’d like to refine your website’s target audience and narrow it down to the people who are in the country you operate in, you can opt for a country based extension.
We did say you shouldn’t rush to choose a domain name, but the age of your domain is also important. Because the older your domain, the more Google trusts it. This is why websites that have been up and running for a long time get better results when compared to websites that have recently launched.
If you purchase a domain that has been around for a long time (and don’t forget to check if the domain has been disqualified before you purchase it), you can have a stronger place for yourself in the Internet world. To purchase a domain that is already owned by someone else, you can use GoDaddy’s Domain Broker service.
Owning a generic domain
For Google, a generic domain means user experience and trustworthiness, which is measured by Google Trustrank. For domains that are words that exist in a dictionary, the domain name extension isn’t all that important. baby.com, baby.org and baby.net are examples of generic domains.
Because they’re memorable and expensive, Google prioritizes generic domains. For Google, simple domains that have a higher possibility to become brands are of higher importance. For Google to apply this to a website, the website also needs to have quality content.
The Whois information of a website is that website’s ID card; it includes the website’s domain and hosting information. This information shows everyone whether a domain is registered or not, when it was registered, when it will expire, whom it was registered by and their name, last name, phone number; which company they registered it with, the IP address of the website, where it is hosted. In addition for Google to properly rank your website, a domain’s whois information needs to be problem free.
To summarize, even though how you choose a domain isn’t the only factor directly affecting your SEO, it does have an important place in the SEO work that you do. It will help you rank higher if you choose a domain that is unique, has brand potential, that is easy to remember, short and compatible with relevant keywords.
Editor’s note: If you feel you’re ready to choose a domain name and start building a website, we suggest you have a look at the below articles before doing so:
- Business domain names: Who needs one?
- Who hosts this website? Tips and tools for finding IP address, DNS details and more
- How to connect your domain name to your hosting account
- Someone else can snag your expired domain, but not right away
- GoDaddy Domain Appraisals: A new domain valuation tool
- GoDaddy domain name auto renewal: what is it, how does it work…
- How to start a website from A to Z: A 4-step guide
You can check the availability of the domain you want right now: