Your domain name is the online reflection of your brand: the internet equivalent of the sign that hangs over your door.
Just like your sign is meant to draw eyeballs and visitors to your business, you want your online domain to stick out and attract business for your company. In e-commerce terms, sticking out means being in the top search results for relevant search terms.
A strong domain name improves your site’s SEO by allowing for Google to more easily recognize, and index, your site for target terms.
Effective Domain Names Allow Immediate Recognition from Online Audiences
An effective domain name ensures your site at the top results for your target search terms. Online consumers are an impatient group. When they enter a search query with your company’s name or a key branding term, they want the results they see to lead them directly to your site. If your company name does not appear immediately, you are likely to lose that customer.
Domain names do not need to reflect exactly what you sell. However, there needs to be a clear and relevant connection between your domain name and your brand. You don’t want customers to be surprised by your domain name. Instead, you want them to instantly recognize your brand, and in turn, explore your service offerings.
Proof of Domain Name Value: Pink Lily
The value of a high-caliber domain name to a site’s SEO is illustrated in Coalition Technology’s partnership with boutique fashion retailer PinkLily, the details of which are published as a case study as part of Clutch’s recently released Business Guide to SEO Services.
To give a brief rundown of our work with them:
-Pink Lily was originally housed on the domain “ThePinkLilyBoutique.com”. With a domain that long and specific, online audiences essentially had to be already be familiar with Pink Lily brand if they wanted to find them through search.
-To improve their search visibility, Coalition moved them onto a more succinct and clear domain, “PinkLily”. The shorter domain underscores the memorable, and important, part of their brand name: “Pink” and “Lily”, while it drops the more forgettable descriptors “the” and “boutique”.
The shortening of PinkLily’s URL helped increase traffic and conversions for Pink Lily’s site, and achieve a 9:1 ROI on SEO investments.
Keywords in Domain Name? Only if it Makes Sense
Some companies are tempted to correlate their domain name with their associated service and corresponding keywords, since domain names with keywords tend to rank better. However, the connection between the two is most likely a correlation, rather than causal, since stuffing keywords into domain name can actually hurt your SEO.
Take PinkLily as an example. Although a term like “boutique” may be part of a target keyword phrase, the value from a shorter URL outweighs the value of including that term in the domain name.
Ultimately, If a domain is properly promoted and optimized, Google automatically picks up on your service offerings. If your domain name happens to incorporate keywords, all the better. If keywords don’t make sense for your domain name, do not try to unnaturally fit them in there.
Domain Names Are Crucial to Your SEO
Domain names are the digital representation of your brand, thus they should be registered with careful consideration. A short, succinct, and brand-related domain name creates a memorable representation of your company that will draw and customers to your site, and signal to search engines its relevance to key search terms.
Grayson Kemper is a Content Developer for Clutch, a research and reviews firm for B2B tech services based in Washington, DC. He specializes in SEO and IT research.