How Domain Name Keywords Contribute to SEO

Domain name keywords are essentially portions of your domain name which also happens to be one of the keywords you are targeting. What this does is it allows the URL to be catchy and easy to remember and also adds some value to your SEO campaign. Here’s how.

Domain Name Keywords and Keyword Strategy

Domain names used to hold tremendous strategic value when the internet was in its early days. At the time, the algorithms for search ranking were a lot less refined and had to deal with much less data, not to mention the fact that there were a ton of domain names readily available then. Getting a domain name with your keyword in it was rather easy. Even today, there is a significant effect on your SERP rankings if you are able to get a keyword into your domain name or even use the domain name as part of your strategy. This impact is analogous to optimizing the site for relevant keywords like you would have done with standard SEO strategies anyway. Unfortunately, this won’t be an easy task because most domains are taken, and getting the right one is vital. Having an unattractive or unauthoritative URL is the last thing you want, even if you are targeting that particular keyword.

Google could also flag a site like because it hints at over-optimization or keyword-stuffing, and also looks spammy which raises trust issues with visitors. Another important point here is that the domain name isn’t preferable because it isn’t top-level.

Hyphens in Domain Names: Yay or Nay?

As with most SEO techniques, there are no set rules defined for including hyphens in domain names. That said you might want to go a little easy on the hyphenation. One hyphen to separate two distinct portions of your domain name makes sense, especially for longer URLs. However, too many hyphens and also more than 4 keywords is a sure-shot way to get flagged by spam detectors, even if you are using a top-level domain like .com or .org, and it only gets worse if it is a one of the domain options with low rent. It is important for you to understand that even if the content on your page is 100% legitimate and non-spammy, Google will take things like your domain name into consideration to ensure an ironclad user experience for all their users, and most sites with spammy domains end up being just that.

Top Level Domains & SEO

Google officially does not use the TLDs for ranking web pages. However, in reality, there exists a class system, as far as, top level domains are concerned. If your domain is using .org, .com or the appropriate official country code, for instance, if you are based in Australia, if in New Zealand, your website would be regarded as more trustworthy and credible than any site using .net or .tv.


Having looked into some of the determining factors in some depth, it is also worth knowing that it may not be a good idea to buy expired domain traffic for a domain which is established already and then redirecting to your page for the accrued page rank. Evidence indicates that PageRank isn’t something which lasts, and the signals which were relevant a few years ago may not be so today, particularly if the page hasn’t been attracting them for too long. In the end, when it comes to domain keywords, use no more than three words and one hyphen.

Know that there is a pecking order for top-level domains, and .com, .org and for example are trusted more than .net and .biz. Redirections are mostly pointless SEO-wise unless you want to buy out the keyword competition and protect your brand, and finally, having tons of sites up just to link to your primary is a technique called link farming which is against the Webmaster Guidelines from Google and leads to immediate flagging. These few guidelines should be enough to get you going about selecting a good domain name for your business.


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