Is Domain Name A Google Ranking Element?

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Remember the early days of the internet?

You might invest throughout the day chatting with your pals on AOL messenger while you played solitaire on Yahoo games. And after that your mommy picked up the phone to phone, and you were begun the web. Good times.

In those days, if you were doing some shopping, there was a great chance you were doing it on a site with an exact match domain (EMD). For instance, if you needed a dog collar, you ‘d probably end up on a site with an address like

In those primitive days of seo, it was common for business to put their exact target keyword phrase right in their domain URL.

Unfortunately (or possibly luckily, depending upon how you feel about EMDs), scammers and bad stars made the most of this, took up a lot of these domains, and linked them to low-grade websites.

So, what’s true today? Does your domain name have an effect on search engine result?

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

[Download:] The Total Google Ranking Elements Guide

The Claim: Is Domain Call A Ranking Factor?

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

In 2010, cost $49.7 million: still the most pricey domain purchase of all time. So clearly, someone valued domains with that keyword.

It was (and in some cases still is) common for people in the SEO market to advocate for EMDs. The claims around them generally being that they instantly generate trustworthiness and create a competitive edge.

But keep in mind those bad actors we talked about in the last area? Eventually, Google got smart to their keyword-stuffing URLs and changed its algorithm to discount them. But that’s not to state your website’s domain does not impact SEO.

The Evidence: The Impact Of Domain On SEO

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

There’s no concern that domain played a role in rankings at one point.

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

Nevertheless, he likewise stated:

“Therefore, we have actually been considering adjusting that mix a little bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that provided 2 various domains it wouldn’t always assist you as much to have a domain with a lot of keywords in it.”

And just one year later on, in 2012, Cutts tweeted that low-quality specific match domains would get reduced exposure in search results.

Lastly, in 2020, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller exposed keywords in domain names no longer play a role in figuring out online search engine results rankings.

Addressing a question if keywords in domain impact rankings during an Ask Google Webmasters video, he stated, “In other words, no. You don’t get a special perk like that from having a keyword in your top-level domain.”

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

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

Our Verdict: Your Domain Call Is Not A Ranking Element, But Is Still Crucial

Now that we’ve established that domain names are NOT a part of your total online search engine rankings, SEO specialists can just forget them, right?

Absolutely not.

Your option of a domain name can be an essential aspect of your UX and public image. Your domain should generally be the most recognizable aspect of your organization. In some cases that’s not your business name however a particular brand name or trademark.

You might wish to think about subdomains and even separate domains for various residential or commercial properties. If you sell items that resellers carry, this can assist your consumers discover you more easily.

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

However, if your branding is heavily concentrated on a specific product or service, consisting of a keyword in the domain might assist users understand what you’re about at a glance. A carefully placed keyword might also help draw in audiences likely to convert.

Do not hesitate to utilize a keyword if it’s highly appropriate or part of your branding.

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

For more aid choosing a domain, take a look at Roger Montti’s advice.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel