The two most searched questions on Google regarding new domain extensions are: ‘Does a domain name affect SEO?’ and ‘Are domain names important for SEO?’ In this post, we will answer each of these questions without any fancy jargon! Read on:
According to Dallas based SEO expert Bill Hartzer, when you compare one newly registered domain name with another newly registered domain name, both are given the same weight by Google when it comes to search engine rankings. If no other search engine ranking factors are applied to a domain name, both domain names have an equal chance of ranking in the search engine results. Google, in particular, has clearly specified how they treat domain names and new domain extensions on their Google Webmaster Blog.
Online marketers and website owners are often worried about how new domain extensions (generic Top Level Domains or gTLDs) affect search ranks and if Google is changing its search algorithm to favor websites with new domain extensions. On its webmaster blog, Google has answered these looming doubts by stating ‘Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.’
Keep in mind that there are literally hundreds of search engine ranking factors, and with AI (Artificial Intelligence) being used as a part of some search engine algorithms, one could argue that there are thousands (or more) actual ranking factors. All domain names aren’t treated the same by the public. It’s important to note that it’s how the public treats domain names that have an impact on search engine rankings.
One major search engine ranking factor is the practice of linking your website to other websites. A recent study from Stone Temple shows that links really do matter in improving SEO ranking. Anchor text (the blue, underlined, clickable text in a hyperlink) is another element that has a significant impact on SEO ranking. SEO best practices state that the anchor text must be relevant to the page you are linking to.
Content quality is also a major factor when it comes to SEO. A relevant domain name, that is keyword-rich, when paired with good quality content on that domain name will get people to click on that web address in the search results. For example, a domain name that reads www.shirts.store is simple, memorable, and crisp as compared to www.wesellshirts.com. Also, the former is more likely to become a brand and garner credibility as an online seller.
Now that we are clear that domain extensions, on their own, don’t affect SEO ranks, let’s move to addressing if domain names are important for SEO in some way. Any web page, even something like page123478–45.html, has a chance to rank well in the search engines. However, that is only if enough people find relevant content on that page, and if there are other websites linked to it. In this case, the domain name is extremely important, because a definitive domain name will encourage more people to click on that domain name’s listing in the search results.
Just recently, Nick Frost, Head of Google Brain Toronto/Canada confirmed that “pogo sticking” is a part of the Google Brain search engine algorithm. Pogo Sticking is where someone clicks on a web page in the search results and they immediately hit the “back” button, going back to the search results. While a domain name can’t exactly prevent pogo sticking (it’s the content on the page that prevents that), it’s difficult to get a click in the first place if you don’t have an intuitive domain name. If your domain name includes keywords relevant to the search query, there’s a good chance that people will click on your search listing, perhaps before they click on other web pages in the search listings.
Thus, a domain name that is unique and descriptive of your competency, has the power to convert a ‘view’ to a ‘click’ as it will attract eyeballs in the search result. Therefore, finding the perfect new domain name is supremely imperative.
So, find a domain name that is creative and relevant to your brand. Some of the new domain extensions include .STORE for eCommerce, .TECH for technology, .PRESS for media and news, .FUN for media and entertainment and .SPACE for creative pursuits. Using a domain extension that is relevant to your industry makes your website name unique, attractive and credible. As is clear from the explanation above, the more relevant the domain name, the higher the chances of it getting clicked, provided the content is relevant too.
A version of this article was originally published on blog.home.pl.