How to choose a good domain name for your SEO?
Choosing a domain name is an exercise that goes beyond the.mere SEO field. Actually, most of the time, the 'SEOs' intervene way after this choice's been made.
In my humble opinion, the choice of a domain name should not be dictated by SEO professionals. The main concerns must be, among others:
- The length
- Easy to pronounce
- The rate of memorization
- The meaning
- Readability on different media (email, business card, poster...)
It is also important to think internationally. Let's imagine your domain name corresponds to an insult or a dirty word in another language! If your project has (or will have) global ambitions, it is important to prevent this kind of problem.
The brandability is another aspect that should be taken into account. Indeed, a domain name can become a real brand, famous and recognized by users if your website becomes a reference in this field. In order to illustrate my point, here are two examples:
- lillimo.com (available as I am writing this)
You probably got it already, capitalizing on the term 'lillimo' will be way easier than on www.vente-appartement-neuf-lille.com (sale-apartment-new-lille)
Beyond all these considerations, it is legitimate to want to know the impacts of your choice in search engines.
The impact of the domain name on SEO
First of all, you have to know that the impacts of the domain name on SEO are not the same depending on the search engine. This criterion has undeniably evolved over the years. Indeed, the search engines improve their algorithms and adapt to... spammers 🙂
A long domain name can be problematic when submitting in some directories (in addition to the problems of memorization and entries.
If your domain name includes several words, it is recommended to separate them with hyphens (-) so that search engines recognize each word. However, it seems that Google is also capable (in some cases?) of identifying attached words, such as: newapartmentforsaleparis.com
I have to admit that beyond two words, I tend not to use hyphens anymore. Why? Not only will this be easier to understand by the internet users but also to avoid any risk of penalty or filtering. Indeed, what can a search engine think about the following domain name: www.new-apartment-sale-paris?
It is undoubtedly a domain name used first to gain an advantage in search engines. However, we know that this kind of approach is not always appreciated by search engines.
Following the example of anti-spam filters, a significant number of SEOs believe that it is better to avoid the inclusion of some keywords, such as: spam, viagra, casino or even sex.
These words could trigger the activation of filters or specific controls.
Netlinking and domain name
Another advantage of including keywords is the possibility to be able to avoid penalties in case of extensive netlinking operation. To be clear:
Let's take back our two domain names: vente-appartement-neuf-lille.com and lillimo.com.
Let's assume they both are real-estate agency sites specialized in the sale of new apartments in Lille (French city). Their SEO agency popularized their website by setting up many links(backlinks)pointing to these sites. The main targeted query is 'vente appartement neuf lille' and this agency uses this term as an anchor for most of the backlinks.
If the sudden popularity of these domains on the term 'vente appartement neuf lille' begins to arouse Google's curiosity, we can legitmately assume that vente-appartement-neuf-lille.com will be less bothered since it is a domain name. It is normal to refer to a website by using its same, isn't it?And it would be quite unpopular for the relevance of a search engine to not even be able to rank a website number one on its name...
Over the years, the EMD (Exact Match Domain) have lost some of their power but it is still a great help.
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