Is Domain Name A Google Ranking Factor?

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Remember the early days of the internet?

You might spend throughout the day talking with your friends on AOL messenger while you played solitaire on Yahoo video games. And after that your mother picked up the phone to phone, and you were kicked off 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 precise match domain (EMD). For example, if you required a pet dog collar, you ‘d probably end up on a website with an address like

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

Regrettably (or possibly luckily, depending upon how you feel about EMDs), scammers and bad actors benefited from this, took up a lot of these domains, and linked them to low-quality websites.

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

Let’s take a closer take a look at the dispute.

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The Claim: Is Domain Call A Ranking Aspect?

Having an exact match domain used to be a huge offer.

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

It was (and often still is) common for people in the SEO market to promote for EMDs. The claims around them generally being that they instantly create credibility and create an one-upmanship.

But remember those bad actors we discussed in the last area? Ultimately, Google got sensible to their keyword-stuffing URLs and altered its algorithm to discount them. But that’s not to say your site’s domain name does not impact SEO.

The Evidence: The Effect Of Domain Names On SEO

There is a great deal of mixed details about domain and their influence on rankings.

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

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

Nevertheless, he likewise stated:

“And so, we have been thinking about adjusting that mix a little bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that provided 2 different domains it wouldn’t always assist you as much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords in it.”

And just one year later on, in 2012, Cutts tweeted that low-grade specific match domains would get reduced exposure in search results page.

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

Responding to a question if keywords in domain impact rankings during an Ask Google Webmasters video, he said, “Simply put, no. You don’t get an unique reward like that from having a keyword in your high-level domain.”

But this does not suggest that domain names are unimportant. They’re just not direct ranking aspects.

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

Our Decision: Your Domain Call Is Not A Ranking Factor, But Is Still Crucial

Now that we’ve developed that domain names are NOT a part of your general search

engine rankings, SEO specialists can just ignore

them, right? Never. Your choice of a domain name can be an important aspect of your UX and public image. Your domain ought to typically be the most identifiable element of your business. Often that’s not your service name but a specific brand or hallmark.

You might wish to think about subdomains or even different domains for different residential or commercial properties. If you sell products that resellers carry, this can help your clients find you more easily.

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

However, if your branding is heavily concentrated on a particular service or product, consisting of a keyword in the domain could help users comprehend what you’re about at a look. A carefully positioned keyword could also assist bring in audiences likely to convert.

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

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

For more aid selecting a domain name, check out Roger Montti’s guidance.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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