Is Domain Name A Google Ranking Element?

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Remember the early days of the internet?

You might spend throughout the day chatting with your pals on AOL messenger while you played solitaire on Yahoo games. And after that your mom got the phone to make a call, and you were started the web. Good times.

In those days, if you were doing some shopping, there was a likelihood you were doing it on a site with an exact match domain (EMD). For instance, if you needed a pet collar, you ‘d most likely wind up on a site with an address like

In those primitive days of seo, it was common for companies to put their precise target keyword expression right in their domain URL.

Unfortunately (or possibly luckily, depending upon how you feel about EMDs), fraudsters and bad actors made the most of this, nabbed up many of these domains, and linked them to low-grade websites.

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

Let’s take a more detailed look at the argument.

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The Claim: Is Domain Call A Ranking Aspect?

Having a specific match domain utilized to be a big deal.

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

It was (and sometimes still is) common for individuals in the SEO industry to advocate for EMDs. The claims around them usually being that they quickly produce reliability and generate an one-upmanship.

But remember those bad actors we talked about in the last area? Ultimately, Google got wise to their keyword-stuffing URLs and changed its algorithm to discount them. But that’s not to state your site’s domain name does not affect SEO.

The Evidence: The Effect Of Domain On SEO

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

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

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

Nevertheless, he likewise specified:

“Therefore, we have been considering changing that mix a little bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that provided 2 various domains it wouldn’t necessarily help 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-quality exact match domains would get minimized exposure in search results page.

Finally, in 2020, Google Web Designer Trends Expert John Mueller exposed keywords in domain names no longer contribute in identifying online search engine results rankings.

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

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

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

Our Verdict: Your Domain Call Is Not A Ranking Factor, But Is Still Important

Now that we’ve established that domain are NOT a part of your general online search engine rankings, SEO experts can simply ignore them, right?

Absolutely not.

Your choice of a domain name can be a crucial aspect of your UX and public image. Your domain must generally be the most identifiable element of your business. In some cases that’s not your service name however a specific brand or hallmark.

You may wish to consider subdomains and even separate domains for different properties. If you sell products that resellers carry, this can help your customers find you more quickly.

Using keywords in your domain does not help in terms of search ranking; if not done correctly, it could even injure your SEO.

But, if your branding is heavily concentrated on a particular product or service, consisting of a keyword in the domain might help users comprehend what you’re about at a look. A thoroughly placed keyword could likewise assist draw in audiences most likely to convert.

Do not be afraid to use a keyword if it’s extremely pertinent or part of your branding.

So, here’s the TL; DR: Your domain name doesn’t directly impact your Google ranking however provides opportunities for savvy web marketers to show their brand name’s values and create more positive user experiences.

For more help picking a domain, take a look at Roger Montti’s advice.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel