Is Domain Name A Google Ranking Aspect?

Posted by

Keep in mind the early days of the internet?

You could spend throughout the day chatting with your buddies on AOL messenger while you played solitaire on Yahoo games. And after that your mother picked up the phone to phone, and you were begun the web. Good times.

In those days, if you were doing some shopping, there was a likelihood you were doing it on a website with a specific match domain (EMD). For instance, if you required a pet collar, you ‘d probably wind up on a website with an address like

In those primitive days of seo, it prevailed for companies to put their specific target keyword expression right in their domain URL.

Sadly (or possibly fortunately, depending upon how you feel about EMDs), fraudsters and bad stars took advantage of this, took up much of these domains, and linked them to low-grade websites.

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

Let’s take a better look at the debate.

[Download:] The Total Google Ranking Aspects Guide

The Claim: Is Domain Name A Ranking Factor?

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

In 2010, sold for $49.7 million: still the most pricey domain name purchase of all time. So clearly, somebody valued domains with that keyword.

It was (and sometimes still is) common for people in the SEO industry to advocate for EMDs. The claims around them usually being that they instantly create reliability and create an one-upmanship.

However keep in mind those bad stars we talked about in the last section? Ultimately, Google got smart to their keyword-stuffing URLs and changed its algorithm to discount them. However that’s not to say your website’s domain does not affect SEO.

The Proof: The Effect Of Domain On SEO

There is a lot of blended information about domain and their impact on rankings.

There’s no question that domain 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.

However, he also stated:

“Therefore, we have been thinking about changing that mix a bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that given 2 various domains it wouldn’t necessarily assist you as much to have a domain with a lot of keywords in it.”

And simply one year later, in 2012, Cutts tweeted that low-quality exact match domains would get lowered presence in search results page.

Lastly, in 2020, Google Web Designer Trends Analyst John Mueller exposed keywords in domain no longer contribute in determining search engine results rankings.

Responding to a question if keywords in domain names effect rankings throughout an Ask Google Webmasters video, he said, “In other words, no. You don’t get a special reward like that from having a keyword in your top-level domain.”

However this does not indicate that domain are unimportant. They’re just not direct ranking elements.

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

Our Verdict: Your Domain Name Is Not A Ranking Element, However Is Still Important

Now that we’ve established that domain names are NOT a part of your general search engine rankings, SEO professionals can simply forget about them, right?

Absolutely not.

Your choice of a domain can be an essential aspect of your UX and public image. Your domain name should generally be the most recognizable element of your company. Sometimes that’s not your service name however a particular brand name or trademark.

You might want to consider subdomains or even separate domains for different properties. If you sell items that resellers bring, this can help your customers discover you more easily.

Using keywords in your domain does not assist in terms of search ranking; if not done properly, it could even harm your SEO.

But, if your branding is greatly concentrated on a specific service or product, consisting of a keyword in the domain could help users comprehend what you’re about at a glimpse. A thoroughly put keyword might also help attract audiences most likely to convert.

Do not hesitate to utilize a keyword if it’s extremely relevant or part of your branding.

So, here’s the TL; DR: Your domain name does not straight impact your Google ranking but supplies opportunities for savvy web marketers to reflect their brand’s values and produce more positive user experiences.

For more assistance selecting a domain, have a look at Roger Montti’s recommendations.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel