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When starting a website, you need to know what domain name you want to register; and that’s one of the most important decisions you have to make at this stage, since it can have profound effects in the future. Not only should the main address be recognisable and preferably easy to remember, but it also affects your site’s search engine optimisation authority – and we know that SEO is one of the crucial elements that can help users to find your website. So, we’ll take a look at the ways in which your domain affects your SEO and give you some tips on how to go about it.
Using an industry keyword
The way search engine algorithms determine what a particular page is about is extremely complex and elaborate, but luckily you don’t have to be familiar with every element of the process. What you should know, though, is that the algorithms focus on the words used on the main parts of a webpage and rank some parts of the page above others. Since the page URL is seen as part of the page, it is seen as one of the crucial elements.
If you use the primary keyword right in the domain name, you’ll get an SEO boost, but you have to take into account that most typical keywords have probably already been taken. So, what can you do?
- If your brand name is already decided, you can forget about using a keyword
- If you’re still undecided about your brand name, try to think of one that includes a relevant keyword
The important thing is to find a balance. Google wants brands to earn, rather than buy rankings, so opt for a name that seems legitimate, and that doesn’t contain too many keywords.
It should be easy to remember
Ideally, your domain name will be easy to remember, and people will find connecting it to your business a breeze. Go for an intuitive name and something they’ll remember the next time they are looking you up online. For example, if your establishment is called “Chef Mario’s Pizza”, you won’t choose a domain such as good-pizza-Brattleboro.com, since that would cause confusion even among your biggest fans.
We all know how efficient long-tail keywords can be when it comes to SEO, but you need to understand the same doesn’t go for domain names. This is where keeping it short, simple and straightforward is the way to go. That will help your clients find you easily and quickly. There is no need for your domain name to be the explanation of what kind of business you are.
Keep your website at one domain
Each domain is evaluated individually, which is why you should avoid splitting your website between multiple domains. Otherwise, you’ll need to invest much more work in earning authority for each of them. So, this is what you need to do:
- Choose one version of your domain name (e.g. www.thisismydomain.com) and stick with it
- Set canonical tags on the others
- Be consistent when it comes to building links to your websites
Knowing how to personalise your service can really help you boost your ranking, so make sure you choose the right domain name from the start and build on it.
Choosing between subfolders and subdomains
It’s important to know the difference between subfolders and subdomains. When you create a subcategory under your root domain for a particular part of your website, you’ve created a subdomain (e.g. blog.yourdomainname.com). Search engines treat those as a separate website for SEO purposes, which can be a problem when trying to build authority for your website. Let’s say your blog is set up as a subdomain. All the backlinks that your blog posts earn will only boost the strength of your blog, while neglecting the rest of your website.
On the other hand, if you create a subfolder for each of the main categories on your website (e.g. thisismydomain.com/blog), it becomes a part of the URL for every page included within it. Subfolders are vital when it comes to building an intuitive website architecture, which helps both visitors and SEO.
That doesn’t mean that you should completely ditch subdomains. They can still be useful from an SEO perspective if a section of your website targets a particular audience, different keywords or geographical area than other parts. Also, it’s used for special parts of your website, such as the forum.
Customising all website URLs
Another thing you should bear in mind is that you need to create a unique and relevant URL for every new webpage you are creating, instead of sticking to the automatically generated HTML. Generally speaking, you should:
- Use the primary keyword you want to page to rank for
- Select a URL which describes what’s on the page
- Keep it short and stick to the words that describe the main idea, rather than going with full sentences
- Don’t use stop words, such as “and”, “but” and “the”, since they add nothing to the meaning, but simply increase the length
A relevant URL for each webpage will help you improve SEO for the page.
As you can see, it’s extremely important to choose the right domain name, but that’s just the first step towards achieving rankings for relevant keywords. Your SEO strategy should be built on the brand name and help you build authority for your website. Finally, make sure you don’t waste too much effort on building authority for several pages, instead of just one. If every action you take is beneficial to all webpages, you’ll be able to reap the best benefits SEO can provide.