The truth is that domain names by themselves don’t have an inherent impact on the website’s SEO. How do we know it? We asked Dallas based SEO expert Bill Hartzer. According to Bill, two newly registered domain names are given the same weight by search engines when it comes to organic rankings. So, if no other ranking criteria is considered, both have the same potential to rank high in organic search results. Google, in particular, has clearly specified how they treat domain names and new domain extensions on their Google Webmaster Blog. In this post, Google stated, ‘Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.’
On that note, did you know that Google recently purchased ‘business.site’ for its Google My Business program? Any small business that creates a one-page website through this program will get a BUSINESSNAME.business.site sub-domain name automatically.
Coming back to new domain extensions and SEO, it’s important to keep in mind that search engines consider hundreds of ranking factors to place one website over the other in search results. The number of these ranking factors is only going to increase and the their nature is only going to get more complicated with Artificial Intelligence being used in search engine algorithms.
Some key ranking factors for a website
- Backlinks from reputed, credible websites. A recent study from Stone Temple indicates that backlinks have a big role to play in improving SEO ranking. Getting backlinks, not just to your website’s home page but also to various internal pages and blog posts, gives a positive signal to search engines about the quality of your website.
- Along with backlinks, the anchor text (the blue, underlined, clickable text in a hyperlink) also has a significant role to play in improving SEO rankings. The more relevant the anchor text to the page it is linking to, the better it is for the SEO.
- The quality of content on your website also makes a big difference in all this. Fresh and original content is always good news for SEO.
What role does a domain name play in all this then?
A web page, even the ones that look like www.page49-78.html, can rank high in organic search results if they have the above 3 criteria working in their favor (along with various other ranking factors, of course). However, if www.page49-78.html showed up in your searches, would you click on it? The answer is no because you wouldn’t trust the link. A good domain name, like www.mobile.store will encourage people to click on it. A domain name also works to your advantage in the context of anchor text. If the website www.mobile.store is backlinked to anchor text ‘mobile store’, it is a positive indication to the search engines about the quality of the website. So, a keyword-rich domain name can influence a website’s SEO ranking positively.
It is easier to find keyword-rich domain names that are relevant and meaningful on some of the new domain extensions such as .STORE for eCommerce, .TECH for technology, .PRESS for news, .FUN for media and entertainment and .SPACE for creative pursuits.
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