Is Domain Name A Google Ranking Aspect?

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Remember the early days of the internet?

You might spend throughout the day chatting with your friends on AOL messenger while you played solitaire on Yahoo video games. And after that your mother got the phone to telephone, and you were kicked off the web. Good times.

In those days, if you were doing some shopping, there was a good 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 wind up on a site with an address like

In those primitive days of search engine optimization, it was common for companies to put their specific target keyword phrase right in their domain URL.

Unfortunately (or maybe luckily, depending on how you feel about EMDs), scammers and bad actors took advantage of this, took up a number of these domains, and connected them to low-quality websites.

So, what holds true today? Does your domain have an effect on search results?

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

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The Claim: Is Domain Name A Ranking Aspect?

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

In 2010, cost $49.7 million: still the most costly domain name purchase of perpetuity. So plainly, somebody valued domains with that keyword.

It was (and often still is) common for people in the SEO industry to promote for EMDs. The claims around them normally being that they quickly create reliability and create an one-upmanship.

However remember those bad actors we talked about in the last area? Ultimately, Google got smart to their keyword-stuffing URLs and changed its algorithm to discount them. But that’s not to say your site’s domain does not affect SEO.

The Evidence: The Effect Of Domain On SEO

There is a great deal of mixed information about domain names and their impact on rankings.

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

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

Nevertheless, he also specified:

“Therefore, we have been considering changing that mix a bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that provided 2 various domains it would not always help you as much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords in it.”

And just one year later, in 2012, Cutts tweeted that low-grade precise match domains would get reduced exposure in search engine result.

Finally, in 2020, Google Web Designer Trends Analyst John Mueller exposed keywords in domain names no longer contribute in identifying online search engine results rankings.

Addressing a concern if keywords in domain names impact rankings throughout an Ask Google Webmasters video, he stated, “Simply put, no. You don’t get a special reward like that from having a keyword in your top-level domain.”

But this doesn’t suggest that domain names are unimportant. They’re just not direct ranking factors.

Find out more about Google Ranking Factors in our 2nd Edition ebook.

Our Verdict: Your Domain Name Is Not A Ranking Element, But Is Still Essential

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

engine rankings, SEO experts can just ignore

them, right? Absolutely not. Your choice of a domain name can be an essential element of your UX and public image. Your domain need to typically be the most recognizable element of your business. Sometimes that’s not your organization name however a specific brand name or hallmark.

You may want to consider subdomains or even different domains for different properties. If you offer items that resellers carry, this can help your customers find you more easily.

Using keywords in your domain doesn’t help in terms of search ranking; if not done correctly, it could even harm your SEO.

But, if your branding is heavily concentrated on a particular service or product, including a keyword in the domain could assist users comprehend what you’re about at a look. A thoroughly positioned keyword might also help draw in audiences most likely to convert.

Don’t be afraid to utilize a keyword if it’s highly relevant or part of your branding.

So, here’s the TL; DR: Your domain doesn’t directly impact your Google ranking however provides chances for savvy web online marketers to reflect their brand’s worths and produce more positive user experiences.

For more help selecting a domain, check out Roger Montti’s recommendations.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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