Before understanding how your domain name affects SEO, let’s understand a couple of key terms.
1. Domain Name- The name of your website is the domain name. This is also the address of your website. For example, www.example.com is a domain name.
2. TLD- This is the abbreviation for Top Level Domain and represents .com, .org, .uk, etc. There are two kinds of TLDs- generic and country specific. Generic TLDs are .org, .ac, .org, etc while country specific domains are .us, .in, .uk. etc.
3. SLD- Secondary Level Domains are the central part of your domain. In www.example.com, the word, ’example’ is the Secondary Level Domain.
How do domain names affect your rankings?
First of all, let’s understand that there are no clear cut rules that link domains with SEO rankings. However, we can make certain assumptions after studying the performance of some top domains.
1. TLDs like .com are likely to perform much better than other TLDs like .org, .ac, etc. More than 70 % of all domains use .com; so if you are planning to set up your online store or business, then you should consider having a .com extension. Picking the ideal domain name is extremely crucial for your business.
2. Target your audience- If your target audience lives in a specific geographic area, then you should have an appropriate TLD. For example, if you run an online store that is targeting buyers in India, it makes sense to have an .in extension. Similarly, an NGO website can consider adding .org as its extension. However, let’s be clear- this is only one of the many recommendations that affect your domain rankings.
3. Character limit in your domain- Many SEO experts believe that having 6 characters in your domain name should impact your domain rankings positively. Your customers are more likely to remember you if your name is short but recognizable and has top of mind recall. Google, Amazon, PayPal, etc have an average of 6 characters.
4. Branding over keywords- It is a misconception that placing a keyword in the SLD boosts your rankings. Google bolds your keyword in search results but that does not mean it is ranking your website over others. The keyword is bolded because of the relevancy factor.
However, it makes great sense to put your brand name in the SLD. As the CEO of Google observed a few years back, brands sort out the mess created in the market by similar sounding businesses. That’s the reason why some of the most successful online businesses have brands in their Secondary Level Domains- Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook etc.
5. Relevancy- Your domain name must reflect the nature of your business. In other words, your SLD must convey to your buyers what business are you in. Google and other search engines love those businesses that truthfully convey their businesses to their readers.
Now that you know which all factors affect your SEO, it must be understood that your rankings also depend upon how your data is stored, retrieved, processed and secured. This is where web hosting comes into picture.
If you are a small business, then look for a domain and web hosting provider who can take care of your growing needs. If you are just starting up then shared hosting might be ideal for you. However, as you grow in size and scope, cloud web hosting can be the perfect and trustworthy option.