SEO factors to consider when choosing a domain name
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process which decides and manages the movement of a number of websites or webpages in the search results. In other words, it is the process by which webpages or websites are ranked and displayed after the search. This is done on the basis of various parameters which depend on the search engine used.
Google is the most widely used search engine till date since the time of its inception. Barring a few countries like China, Google is used as a search engine around the world. With the success of Google, advent of technology and the world going digital, everyone today wants to be visible online. This resulted in a flood of websites on the internet. Every business, every activity has to have a website or at least a webpage to be visible.
Now if we want to search for something,say; a restaurant, we type XYZ restaurant in the Google search bar and press enter. Here comes the list of restaurants present in our current locality. Also there are search results which are the websites of whether some restaurants, food related sites or anything related to restaurants or food.
How that happened?
Google optimized our search keyword and displayed results, which, its system or software or algorithm considered most important and relevant to our search. This whole process of sorting out search results is known as Search Engine Optimization.
To prevent malpractices and improve the optimization system, Google from time to time keep on changing its algorithm which ranks the pages in search results. The displayed search results for which someone pays Google are called paid results or inorganic results. Other search results are organic ones.
Our focus here is at the organic results which are displayed on a rotational basis and a cluster of various factors like:
o Technical aspects of a website
o Amount of traffic on a website
o Number of clicks
o Relevance of the webpage or website to the searched keywords
o Domain Name etc.
What are Domains?
A Domain is the address or the name of a particular website or a webpage, by typing which in the address bar, we are directed to the page we wanted to surf. A domain can be anything related to the content on a website. A variety of domain names are available depending upon the need and various platforms are there where domains can be bought.
Apart from various technical factors affecting the SEO process, domain names also have a role to play. Although Google and other search giants claim to change their ranking algorithms from time to prevent biasness in the display of organic results, various factors are still there as far as domain names are concerned which can be focussed upon to get better visibility results. These can be classified into:
- KISS (Keep it short and simple)
This is a well-known principle followed while writing. This same principle applies to the choice of a domain name. If a website wants to market itself through SEO or wants to rank on the top, then its domain name should be easy and simple to memorize and short to type. Internet users type only simple and short keywords while searching and the keywords permitted by the search engine for ranking are also limited depending on the budget of the advertiser. These factors make it increasingly important to use simple, short and crisp domain names which are easy to memorize and type.
- Keyword-Domain Match
Despite the fact that search giants like Google keep on changing their criteria to rank pages, one fact remains intact and that is exact match of the searched keyword and the domain name. If you have a website with the name which is the exact match of the most searched keyword of the same category, then you have hit the bull’s eye. The more deviant the name is from the most searched keyword, the more difficult it will be to rank higher. This certainty in this point stems from the fact if a user is looking specifically for some web address, it should be displayed higher in results.
- Maintain Standard
.com in the end should be preferred in lieu of .pw, .info, .ws etc. because the human tendency, after using the internet for more than two decades now, is to type .com at the end in the address bar. So if one is able to get a domain name ending with .com, it can prove to be a distinguishing factor during page rank process of SEO as users tend to type standard .com more.
- Use of symbols
For example, a website’s name is www.wellknown.com. To make it look good to the eye, the owner decides to change it to www.well-known.com. What she has done is that she introduced a hyphen between the two words and this practice is not recommended at all because symbols in domain names are related to spamming activities. Also, typing symbols along with names becomes a task for the searcher. So, one should stick to names devoid of symbols.
You domain name should communicate the same message about your website as communicated by the content of it. This relevance factor has become an important aspect of ranking of websites. Recently Google has blocked hundreds of websites on which the content was not relevant to their names.
- Brand your Domain Name
Leave behind all the technicalities and advises mentioned above, if you are able to brand yourself and your website name, there is nothing better than that because the search engine will love displaying you at the top because the users or consumers want to see you on the top. If you are not displayed on the top of your category despite being big name, it will affect the credibility of the search engine. So branding can be considered as the most effective tool. The glitch here is that you opted for SEO in the first place to brand yourself to some extent. So it can be said that SEO and branding should go hand in hand for best results.
These are the broad categories which can be looked into if one is looking to get best possible search results based solely on the domain names. Other aspects exist, but having a domain name in synchronization with the SEO process can always be an added advantage in marketing.