Do Domain Names Affect SEO?

Marketing, SEO

We Know SEO.

When starting a business, re-branding or even creating a fresh new design for your website it’s important to take into account what your domain name says about you. Here at Oak City Technology, a common questions we hear is, “Does my domain affect my SEO?” While many SEO professionals will automatically say no, there are many aspects to domains and their extensions(.com, .org, .io, .tech) that can be accounted for in search result rankings. The answer to this question isn’t quite as black and white as some make it out to be. Seeing as there are over 200 ranking factors today, it’s hard to imagine that your domain name does not factor into that equation at all. Let’s jump in and see what aspects of your domain and its extension can play a role in SEO today.

Domain Age And It’s Role In SEO?

In general most webmasters concur that the age of your domain is “not directly a ranking factor” but even then there is still quite a bit of debate. What webmasters like us here at OCT do agree on is that domains with age to them normally have several positives that newer websites have not earned yet like:

  • High Quality Backlinks
  • Perceived Trust
  • Consistent Indexing
  • Local Relevancy Signals
  • Website Age

All of these aspects are incredibly important for SEO and are what any good webmaster will focus on. The issue here is that unless you are a multimillion dollar corporation, all of these things take time to accumulate. The advantage which an older domain has is that it has had more time to generate these things. While you don’t need an older, more established domain to create these signals, if you are a new domain that is creating high quality content and providing genuine value to online search queries you will gather these over time which will benefit your SEO.

An important thing to note is that the date you register your domain (all public record) and how long you have reserved it for can send certain signals to Google saying that your website and domain are more legitimate than a malicious website intended for spam. Most likely a legitimate business with a long standing domain name is going to register it for years at a time, whereas an illegitimate company with nefarious intentions will not register for more than a year at a time.

Branding & Domains

A fact that people seemingly always overlook is that Google values brands. Google actively tracks and logs all mentions of specific brands across the internet daily. Having a domain that is line with your brand or more specifically the name of your company (providing it’s a great name!) can be invaluable for sustained 1st page search engine rankings. This has to do with what’s called “Navigational Search” which is that most Google searches are done to find a specific company already in mind. We have all done it, you search the name of the company EVEN if you already know the website URL. Branding is important here because it is in Google’s best interest to accurately populate the search results with the company you are intending to find. If your website is lacking in branding, people may have a hard time finding you online. Here are a few tips for picking a brandable domain name:

  • Make it memorable
  • Easy to pronounce and comprehend ( = IT
  • Be relevant
  • Be unique

While the general public sometimes thinks SEO is only about keywords and links, the reality is that Google likes brands. Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt once said Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool. Brand affinity is clearly hard-wired. It is so fundamental to human existence that it’s not going away.” Take your brand seriously, it’s one of the most important tools you have.

Reputation Managment And Perceived Trust

Another important factor for domains names and SEO is reputation management. While many people instinctively think of social media as the main tool for reputation management, your domain name can have a large effect as well. Keeping with your brand name is something you should heavily consider when choosing a domain. You DO NOT want a direct keyword match as a domain name.

For example, if you are an online company that sells cheap coffee, you shouldn’t pick the domain, this is bad.

Odds are a user is more likely to trust clicking on your website if the name of your company and the domain match in some way. This demonstrates to a user who has no experience with your business that you are legitimate and worthy of their business. All this importance is established through the idea of “Perceived Trust.” Perceived trust is the level of trust a user can expect to gain through your web presence (e.g. reading reviews, looking at social media, visiting your website, domain name etc.) If a user can easily identify your website in a search result as a company that looks trustworthy you are much more likely to generate leads and attract users to your website.

Why Choose Oak City Technology

At Oak City Technology we specialize in building these lead generating websites, that draw in the users who are looking for you and convert them to leads, through a simple user experience and answering the users’ basic questions. We pride ourselves in generating business for our clients and making sure you stand out against your local competition. Contact us today to get started generating leads and clients for your firm’s website!

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