The Complete Guide to Researching and Optimizing Domain Names for Maximum Search Visibility Published: 11 Nov, 2023
Your domain name is one of the most critical investments for your website's SEO success. The right domain can help boost your SERP rankings, lower your cost-per-click, and increase relevant organic traffic and conversion rates. That's why thoroughly researching and optimizing your domain name should be a cornerstone of your overall SEO strategy.
In this comprehensive guide, you'll learn proven tips and techniques for selecting and optimizing a domain name to maximize visibility and performance in search engines like Google.
How to Conduct SEO Research When Selecting a Domain Name
Choosing a new domain name for a website requires careful research and evaluation of several key SEO factors:
Ideally, your primary keywords should be integrated within your domain name. This establishes clear relevancy to your brand, products/services, and website content. For example, an online shoe store could select a domain like www.premium-shoes.com or www.theshoestore.com. This sends signals to Google about your core topic and focus.
Shorter domain names consistently tend to rank better in SERPs than longer domains. Aim for a domain under 15 characters if possible. Long domains are harder for users to type and remember. Going with a concise, brandable domain like www.shoes.com is better than www.johnspremiumshoeshoponline.com.
Your domain also represents your brand identity in the minds of customers. Choose a domain name that is short, memorable, and evokes your brand character. Including your company name or product name in the domain can further improve branding and association.
Hyphens and Numbers
Avoid overusing hyphens, numbers, and special characters in your domain name - these can negatively impact readability and trust. For example, www.awesome-online-shoe-store-123.com is not as clean as www.awesomeshoes.com.
For SEO, popular TLDs like .com, .org or .net are best. Newer extensions like .xyz, .site, .online haven't proven meaningful SEO value yet. .com domains are widely recognized and provide the most credibility.
In general, older established domains with more linking history tend to outperform new domains in SERPs. Try to find an aged domain available for purchase if possible.
Spelling and Typos
Double check your domain for any typos or spelling errors. Test typing your domain name manually before registering it to catch errors. Even small typos can negatively impact clicks and conversions.
By researching domain availability using these key SEO criteria, you can identify and register a domain optimized for driving search visibility and website performance.
Tips for Optimizing an Existing Domain Name
If your website already has a domain name registered, there are still optimization best practices you can follow:
Update Domain to Include Target Keywords
If your current domain does not contain your primary keywords, consider updating it. This would involve registering a new domain with keywords, and 301 redirecting your old domain to the new optimized one.
Improve Branding and Trust
If your domain name contains distracting words, numbers or hyphens, migrating to a cleaner domain name can improve click-through rates by increasing branding and trust. Use 301 redirects to preserve SEO value when migrating.
Fix Typos and Errors
Correcting typos or spelling errors in your domain via domain migration and 301 redirect can lift click-through rates. Even small fixes improve reputation and eliminate user confusion.
Shorten Overly Long Domains
Switching to a shorter, more concise domain benefits usability and memorability. Temporary redirects for the old domain will maintain SEO equity during the transition.
Add www and https
Ensure your domain includes the www subdomain and https protocol. Google recommends this for SEO best practices and proper website configuration.
Remove Unneeded Hyphens
Upgrade Domain Extensions
Migrating from a .net to .com extension generally provides better SEO value long-term.
With strategic optimizations, you can evolve an existing domain into a more search-engine and user-friendly domain name.
Your domain name selection has a major influence on search engine optimization and the success of your overall web presence. Investing significant time upfront researching and picking the ideal domain based on SEO best practices can yield dividends in the form of higher rankings, increased organic traffic, lower PPC costs, and greater website conversion rates over the long-haul. Approach domain name optimization as a core component of your SEO strategy.