Domain Names & SEO

The domain name itself carries little weight in the overall ranking criteria, however... there is a reason that a keyword-rich domain name can help you to (indirectly) improve your search engine ranking.

The reason is because of the way that people will link to you...

Currently, the biggest ranking factor (for Google results) is "off the page" or your inbound links - the quality of those links, the relevancy of those links, and how your pages are linked to.

If someone really likes your website, and decides to link to you... they are most likely to link to you with the Anchor Text (or Link Text) of your domain name. For this site they generally link using text such as "ClickNewz", "Click Newz" or "Lynn Terry".

But if you want people to link to you using your preferred Link Text (to help with your rankings), you have to specifically ask them. As we all know, link exchange requests are getting harder and harder - people simply ignore them for the most part. So your best links are going to come from those who just link to you naturally. By choice.

This is where a keyword rich domain can be helpful!

Lets say that your domain name is "lowerbloodpressure.com" - people will naturally link to you using words like "lower blood pressure" (which contains your keyword phrase). People do that because it's the 'title' of your site, and its easy (ie they dont have to think).

My own domain name is a good (bad) example of this: SelfStartersWeeklyTips. Many people link to it as Self-Starters Weekly Tips or SSWT. My primary keyword phrase is "Learn Internet Marketing" so I have to really work hard to get inbound links using that anchor text - and ask for it specifically. Ideally, links on other people's web pages that are pointing to my site would look like this:

Learn Internet Marketing

The anchor text (or link text) used in linking to your pages is directly related to which terms your pages will rank well for.

So if you name your site - and choose your domain name - around a good solid keyword phrase, you'll be more likely to get a higher number of your inbound links with keyword-rich anchor text that helps your main page to rank better in the major search engines. 😉

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About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn’s unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews…more»

Discussion

  1. Paul Short says:

    The domain name itself carries little weight in the overall ranking criteria,

    Aaron Wall would disagree, based on what he found in his article here 😉

    http://www.seobook.com/archives/001860.shtml

  2. Great link, Paul - thanks! The comments are a good read too, for anyone else checking it out.

  3. Hey Terry:
    Love your website! Are you building it yourself or do you have a third party provider? We are linked through twitter.

    Marilyn

  4. blogmoneymania says:

    Hi Terry,

    I am starting with Niche Blogging - have one blog so far. I always do research with keywords for my domain name.

    I am doing a new blog for my computer repair biz that is more name branded, but still use keywords for.

    Thanks for your great advice!

  5. Aid kits says:

    Lynn, also good idea is to look established domain name with history on the GoDaddy domain auction. Sometimes you can find a good niche domain name just for $5 plus registration fee. Domain will have at least one year of history, and, sometimes PR 1-3. It needs to check page rank for fraud if you buy PR 3-4 domain, checkpagerank.net can help.

  6. Leigh Kostiainen says:

    Thanks for your usually easy to understand and not fluff information. You make learning internet marketing much easy and productive.

    Cheers Leigh

  7. George Dofollow says:

    I think that when a user is looking at search results pages, if he sees the keyword he was looking for in the domain name, he is more likely to press the link.
    The more people click your link on search result pages, the more google loves your your website (as long as the bounce rate is low).
    What do you think ?

  8. Keith Davis says:

    Hi Lynn
    My domain name is pretty good for anchor text - my niche (I'm starting to use your words and phrases) is Public Speaking and my domain name is easypublicspeaking.co.uk so I'm happy with that.
    It also abbreviates nicely to espeaking, which is what I use at the top of my home page.

    Since I'm in the UK, I used .co.uk and not .com.
    Is that something you would agree with?

    • Yes, you should use the top level domain for the area you are targeting. Assuming you are targeting searchers in the UK that are interested in public speaking, .co.uk is the extension to choose.

  9. The competition module of Market Samurai shows numerous examples of sites ranking on the first page of Google with a keyword rich domain name and very little else.

    No domain age, no PR, very few backlinks. If you want to get on the first page, the right domain name makes it ten times easier.

    Rich

  10. My experience has been to always try to keep your main keyword phrase in your domain name if at all possible. There is a hierarchy structure to follow, being main keyword in domain, title, description, keywords, Heading tags and body content.
    I believe this is the basic premise to follow when starting a seo friendly website.

  11. I've had a ton of luck using keyword rich domains backed by good/relevant content get great rankings when the keyword search volume is less then 6K a month. Seems like that is the tipping top when the domain name gets less and less important.

  12. I don't really know if an exact keyword domain name really gives you an edge although many seem to think so. This is because I have a site without the keyword I'm aiming for in the domain name and it is ranking well. But I guess there is no harm having the keyword in your domain either. So, in that sense, why not, right?

  13. I have also heard the pros and cons of using a keyword rich domain name.
    My take is that it always requires more than that to attain high PR.

  14. Lynn,

    Think that you're correct with the idea of how people link to your site naturally ranks the site. I would disagree that the domain name has little benefit, from experience an unrelated domain name is much harder to rank than a domain name that has keywords in it. I would expect a brand new domain with keywords in the name to rank above existing non-optimised domain names as soon as it is indexed, so there must be some benefit - I guess in the same way that people link to your site, your own site internally links and automatically has relevant keywords.
    Great article!

    • Those exact match domains you're referring to DID tend to rank better, but that's no longer the case. So domain name alone carries very little weight - again. 🙂

  15. I agree with the respondents above that the domain name has far more importance than was originally posited. Now, what to do if the absolutely perfect keyword-rich domain name is already taken, and the only option left is to take an extension other than .com -- like .net, for example? I think most searchers would mistakenly put .com and their searches would automatically go to your competitor with the perfect domain name. What to do? I've got to get a domain name up soon, and I just can't find one.

  16. Lynn, you're the best! I've always known it, and I've been all over the place by now.

    Thanks for the advice. So I'm kind of back at the beginning, trying to find a way around the usual conundrum of best-domain-name-taken. The "best" I mentioned that was taken does have the best action word as well. Can't figure out any other action word to use. But I'll get to reading about longer-tail versions as well.

    Oh, and I have to mention I liked how in the recent contest you entered, you said one of your goals was to help people in depressed areas reach business goals. You're one of the very few internet marketers to have a goal like that. More power to you!

  17. Thanks again, Lynn. Far from giving up, I have a shortlist now, thanks to you, and am adding to it by using your domain name guide. This is a straight service business in which a "brand" name wouldn't be as appropriate as something keyword-rich -- or at least would take a tad longer to get off the ground. But the other business I'm starting will center around a brand name I've already chosen.

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