Does Your Domain Name Affect Your SEO?
Hi. Tony here, and welcome to today’s podcast where we’re going to be answering the question, “Is my domain name important for SEO?”
Now, this is a question I get asked very, very frequently.
It’s usually preceded by something along the lines of, “I’ve got a colleague at work who said…” or “I’ve got this mate down the pub who says that getting a domain name that has got keywords in it so that it’s good for SEO”.
Now, if you don’t quite understand the question, let me just give you a little bit of background to help you understand it.
Avoid Spammy SEO Techniques
Back in the good, old days, and we’re talking pre-2012 here, there was a practice that had developed where certain members of the SEO community had identified that if you’ve got a domain name that was keyword rich, you could set up a website, put some content on there, buy some backlinks from some external websites, get some directory submissions going, do some dodgy marketing, and hey presto, your website starts appearing at the top of Google.
Well, Google has well and truly kicked all that kind of stuff into the long grass.
Basically they are constantly updating their algorithms. These are the search algorithms and how it determines what goes at the top of their search listings. And basically, Google is building artificial intelligence and that’s what it’s picking up.
What Google Really Wants Nowadays
Google is constantly asking “What is the user looking for?”
And they know that people are looking for a better user experience. One of the ways it determines that is that when they send people to read your content they’re looking to see whether they spend a lot of time on the page, that they read it and consider what’s there.
And that’s what’s more important to Google these days.
Don’t Buy Domains Just for SEO Value
So, in a nutshell, the answer to this question is that I don’t believe that you should be buying domain names purely for SEO value.
And by that, what I mean is, you don’t want to jump through hoops and contort yourself to squeeze loads and loads of keywords into your domain name.
Let’s say for example, that you’re selling garden furniture, something along those lines. You could get a domain name such as lowcostukgardenfurnitureonline.co.uk or something along those lines.
Or you could put hyphens in there as well.
And if you were to do that, I just think that’s the wrong approach to try to manipulate Google. It’s better to stick with your normal company name or your normal domain name.
Sure, if you have the opportunity to naturally fit in your industry or maybe your location, then, by all means, go ahead and do that.
But as I said, don’t try to create some kind of massive 30 or 40 letter domain name that’s full of loads of hyphens, and things like that, to try to squeeze in all the keywords into your domain name.
Focus On Great Content – Not Spammy Domains
So, what should you do? Well, remember Google is focusing on the user experience.
What I would encourage you to do, big time, is to go for content.
So this could be, for example, stuff like definitive guides. Nice, long, definitive guides that show that you’re industry expert, that you are an authority.
Product (or Service) Comparisons
You could do comparison content, you could do something like, for example, in garden furniture, mahogany furniture versus aluminum furniture or something like that.
Or you could compare different brands. You’re helping people to make a decision.
Invite Experts To Contribute
You could also get expert opinion. You could talk to gardeners and recognized landscape gardeners or something like that, and they could talk about their recommendations for the types of furniture you could use.
List Based Content
You could do lists, top 30 pieces of furniture for whatever the season is, for next year, whatever it may be.
Also, do videos. It’s estimated that in a few years time, 80% of all internet traffic is going to be video. Why don’t you jump on the bandwagon there? Create videos about your products or your services as well.
And also, make sure that this appears in your money pages, your sales pages, but also in your general blog pages as well.
Show You Are An Expert
And you can also create things like conversion contents. So, this is stuff like “How to” guides, buyers guides. You can also look at user-generated content, things like case studies or like testimonials.
If you can get customers on video, that’s testimonial haven. So, that type of thing is also really important.
That’s the route that I would encourage you to go down. Don’t think about all these, kind of, cheap, manipulative ways of doing it. Create really good content. You’re an expert. Think of those frequently asked questions that people are always asking you. That’s got to be the basis of your content.
Don’t Forget The Basics – Optimize Your Content
Of course, you shouldn’t forget about the basic things like good on-page SEO like making sure that your meta-tags are optimized. And we’ve got podcasts on this and we’ve got content on our blog that talks about this.
So, this is basically putting your keywords into the page title and the meta-description.
Don’t know what those are?
Well, I bet you’ve seen them thousands and thousands of times. Every time you do a search on Google, that’s what is appearing in front of you: those two or three lines of text there, those are your meta-tags. And then you have those on every single page of your website. So you need to make sure that you optimize them correctly.
Then you’ve got things like headings: H1, H2, H3 headings.
Very simple. Imagine you’re writing a document in Word or in your Google drive, you separate…when you create a document, you use headings to separate the content out, to make it more logical and easy for the reader to understand what’s written down.
That’s exactly what you do with the website. The H1 is the most important. You should only really have one of those on each page, but you should try to include your keywords in there. Again, this is just good SEO practice.
Create Service Specific Pages
Make sure that you’re creating lots of content. So things like you could create service-specific pages.
Don’t just have a page for garden furniture, start breaking it down into tables, chairs, heaters, benches, that type of thing. Also, gazebos or whatever it may be.
So, it’s all sorts of different content. Don’t just list it all on one page. And that’s any business.
If you’re an accountant, don’t just say services that you offer, make sure that you show them all – VAT, annual returns, personal taxation, have a page for each one and optimize them.
Create Longer Pages
Also, make your pages longer. Google seems to like longer pages.
And this is to do with the user experience. People are spending more time on your page reading things. You can make them longer, for example, with frequently asked questions.
Use Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
I absolutely love frequently asked questions.
Just get a list 10 or whatever it may be for each page, each service, each product, bang, you’ve got more content.
You can create 500 words, 700 words, 1000-word long pages.
Think About Links – Internal & External
And also, link between the different pages of your website as well. If you’re creating blog content, link back to your sales pages.
Then there is the off-page stuff. These are backlinks, that type of thing.
Go for the easy, quick wins: your social media accounts.
Go for your local listings, things like Google My Business, Bing Local.
Also, look at places like Yell or Yelp Plus service or industry-specific pages or directories where you can get listed, authority listings where you can get a link back to your website.
Send a testimonial to your suppliers saying what a great service they provide and give them your URL so they can link back to that, that type of thing.
But we’ve got podcasts and lots of blog content on our website that will give you much more detailed information about doing that, okay?
So, in a nutshell, I don’t think you should be going for domain names specifically for SEO purposes.
Of course, if you can fit your industry, accountant or plumber or whatever it may be or your location in the domain name, that’s fine.
But don’t contort yourself, jump through hoops to try to get some domain name that’s really trying to game the system.
Just be cool, get a nice domain name that’s easy for people to remember, and then think about the user experience.
Think about creating better content than your competitors.
And let me tell you a little secret: most of your competitors are lazy. They’re just not going to do this kind of thing.
So, if you just do a half of what I’m advising you to do and you’ll be absolutely fine.
Well, that’s all for today. I hope you found that useful. Any feedback, welcome any questions you’ve got is always welcome.
Thank you very much for your time. Speak soon. All the best, then. Bye-bye.