In the competitive digital marketing landscape, having a solid SEO strategy is critical for any brand wanting to put itself in front of the right audiences. One of the most important and yet, often underestimated aspects of your SEO strategy is choosing the right domain name. A domain is your website’s ID. It defines it, increases brand awareness and memorability, and helps it rank higher.
Here is how a domain name may impact your online presence.
Improving Brand Exposure
Picking the right domain name and extension is crucial for building a recognizable and authoritative online brand.
First, it makes your website easier to find. Namely, when a searcher wants to inform themselves about your products, they will probably google your brand name. This is why you should consider using your brand name as your domain name. In this case, your website will be the first thing a user sees in the competitive SERPs.
Second, a domain name enhances brand consistency. Using the same name across your website, social channels, and other online platforms, you will make your brand trustworthy and easier to recognize. Just remember that many big brands, including Dropbox and Facebook, changed their initial domain names and have switched to the domains that match their brand name. When choosing a domain name, always make sure no one has already been using it on social networks.
Building a Recognizable Brand
Choosing a unique domain name is a great way to grab users’ attention and make your brand memorable. When starting from scratch, you have a great opportunity to choose a brand name and a domain name that reflects your brand personality and values. A domain name should inform a user about who you are and what you do. It should grab their attention and inspire them to visit your website. It needs to be short and clear so people can easily remember it and come back to your website again and again.
You could play with numerous naming tactics to stand out. For instance, you could use abbreviations (mssg.me), misspell words on purpose (blu-ray.com), add prefixes or suffixes to create CTAs (videofy.me), or even combine letters of several words (pinterest.com).
An important part of choosing a domain name is picking the right domain extension. Sure, .com is the most popular TLD out there, used by 75% of websites. As such, .com builds trust with your target audiences and makes your brand more authoritative. However, it is far from being the only option for brands. Many businesses decide to choose alternative domain names, like .co, .org, .net, or .edu, depending on their industry.
There are many country-code TLDs that have gone global and some of them may help you connect with users on a more personal level.
For instance, if you are wondering how to personalize your service, consider choosing .me. This is a ccTLD for Montenegro, but its major benefit lies in the fact that it has a similar meaning in a bunch of languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, Montenegrin, Serbian, etc. It works well for freelancers or entrepreneurs wanting to build a personal brand (jaytay.me, stefania.me, rafaelmedina.me), as well as creates a powerful call-to-action (see.me, mssg.me, cook.me, sync.me) that entices users to convert.
Boosting your Website’s Presence in the SERPs
Google uses over 200 ranking factors and website domains are one of them. Even though it is today a minor ranking signal, an SEO-friendly domain name may help you appear higher in the organic search. Like I have mentioned above, using the same brand name and domain name makes you easier to find online.
Backlinko emphasizes that keywords in a domain do not give you the boost as they used to, but they still serve as a minor relevancy signal. Their recent research study emphasizes that websites with a domain name that begins with a keyword rank higher than those sites that are not using keywords in their domains.
Still, this does not mean you should spam your domain name with exact-match keywords. While this tactic worked for many sites in the past, today, it could only harm your online presence. Back in 2012, Google rolled out the EMD update in order to minimize the use of exact-match domains. Therefore, when creating a domain name, always put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Choose a name that is informative, attention-grabbing, and unique – something that will inspire them to click on your link to find out more.
When optimizing your website for search engines, you should also keep in mind that creating subdirectories may be more effective for your SEO efforts than creating subdomains. While a subdirectory is a part of your website (www.website.com/subdirectory), a subdomain is treated as an independent site. When using subdirectories, all links go to the same domain.
Finally, remember that the age of your domain does not matter to Google. This is what Matt Cutts emphasized in a video back in 2010. Namely, Google focuses more on the relevancy and quality of your website, while the difference between new and older domains is not that big.
Over to You
A domain name impacts your online presence on multiple levels. It makes your website easier to find and makes your brand consistent across multiple channels. When optimized properly for search engines, a domain name helps your website rank higher in the SERPs. Above all, it reflects your brand values, helping you build stronger relationships with your target audiences and establish an authoritative and user-oriented online presence.
What domain name do you use? What extension did you choose? How do they impact your online presence? We are looking forward to hearing from you!