Is Domain Name A Google Ranking Element?

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Keep in mind the early days of the web?

You might invest throughout the day talking with your good friends on AOL messenger while you played solitaire on Yahoo video games. And after that your mom picked up the phone to telephone, and you were kicked off the web. Good times.

In those days, if you were doing some shopping, there was a likelihood you were doing it on a site with a specific match domain (EMD). For instance, if you required a canine collar, you ‘d probably wind up on a site with an address like

In those primitive days of search engine optimization, it was common for companies to put their exact target keyword phrase right in their domain URL.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending upon how you feel about EMDs), fraudsters and bad actors made the most of this, snatched up many of these domains, and connected them to low-quality websites.

So, what’s true today? Does your domain have an effect on search results page?

Let’s take a closer take a look at the debate.

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The Claim: Is Domain Name A Ranking Factor?

Having an exact match domain used to be a big offer.

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

It was (and often still is) typical for individuals in the SEO industry to advocate for EMDs. The claims around them generally being that they quickly generate credibility and produce an one-upmanship.

But keep in mind those bad stars we talked about in the last area? Ultimately, Google got wise to their keyword-stuffing URLs and altered its algorithm to discount them. However that’s not to state your website’s domain name does not affect SEO.

The Proof: The Effect Of Domain On SEO

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

There’s no question that domain contributed in rankings at one point.

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

However, he likewise mentioned:

“And so, we have actually been thinking about adjusting that mix a little bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that given two different domains it wouldn’t always help you as much to have a domain with a lot of keywords in it.”

And simply one year later, in 2012, Cutts tweeted that low-quality precise match domains would get reduced presence in search engine result.

Finally, in 2020, Google Webmaster Trends Expert John Mueller revealed keywords in domain names no longer play a role in figuring out search engine results rankings.

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

However this doesn’t mean that domain names are unimportant. They’re just not direct ranking factors.

Learn more about Google Ranking Factors in our second Edition ebook.

Our Decision: Your Domain Call Is Not A Ranking Factor, But Is Still Essential

Now that we’ve established that domain names are NOT a part of your total search engine rankings, SEO professionals can simply ignore them, right?


Your choice of a domain name can be a crucial aspect of your UX and public image. Your domain ought to typically be the most identifiable element of your company. Often that’s not your organization name but a particular brand name or hallmark.

You might wish to consider subdomains or perhaps separate domains for different properties. If you sell products that resellers carry, this can assist your consumers discover you more easily.

Using keywords in your domain doesn’t help in terms of search ranking; if not done correctly, it could even harm your SEO.

But, if your branding is greatly concentrated on a specific product or service, including a keyword in the domain might assist users understand what you’re about at a look. A carefully positioned keyword might also help bring in audiences most likely to transform.

Do not be afraid to use a keyword if it’s extremely appropriate or part of your branding.

So, here’s the TL; DR: Your domain does not straight impact your Google ranking however offers chances for smart web online marketers to show their brand name’s values and develop more positive user experiences.

For more assistance picking a domain name, have a look at Roger Montti’s suggestions.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel