There are over 200 factors Google uses for ranking your website. Your choice of domain name used to have a large effect on your SEO, and still does to some effect. Below we outline how your choice of domain name affects your search engine ranking.
Keywords in Domain Names
Google used to use keywords in your domain name as a ranking factor for SEO. They no longer do this because companies were using keyword-stuffed domain names that looked spammy and were hard to remember. pocket-watches-and-wrist-watches.com is a lot harder to remember than bobswatches.com and looks a lot more like a spam site than a legitimate site.
If a keyword is in your brand name than having that keyword in your domain name won’t negatively hurt your SEO or your branding. For example bobswatches.com still has watches in it, but it is a recognizable and memorable brand name instead of a keyword-stuffed domain name that looks like a blog spam website.
Using Your Brand for Your Domain Name
Google still uses your choice of domain name as a search engine ranking factor, but not the same way the used to. Google now prefers your brand name to be your domain name. If your company name is XYZ Widgets, your ideal domain name for search engine ranking would be xyzwidgets.com (or .net, .co, etc.)
Using your brand name as your domain name not only helps your SEO efforts but it also helps getting clicks on your search engine listing. Ranking in the #1 spot doesn’t do your business any good if no one wants to click the search results. Using your brand name as your domain name builds trust in the eye of the end user, leading to more clicks on your search engine listing. When your search engine listing gets more clicks, your search engine ranking is likely to increase.
Domain Name Extensions and SEO
For a while many people believed that you had to use .com as your domain extension for the best possible search engine ranking. This has turned out to be false. It doesn’t matter if you use .com, .net, .info, or any other of the Top Level Domains (TLDs), as long as you follow the branding advice listed above.
Domain name choice does have a small effect on your SEO efforts, but you should focus on choosing a domain name for branding rather than SEO, and by doing that your search engine ranking will benefit in the long run.