Which domain does Google use

Domain for SEO

What role does the domain name play in search engine optimization?

In the early days of search engine optimization, the domain name of a website was very important for search engine ranking. At that time it was still very easy to achieve high rankings with a domain that contained the main keyword. However, this led to a large number of websites with inferior content being represented in the search results, as they only had to have a keyword domain in order to get among the top rankings. This is why Google now attaches significantly less importance to the domain name than before. Nevertheless, this is still relevant today for SEO and online marketing, as it affects, for example, the click rate in search results, trust in a website or branding (more on this in the next section). The selection of a domain name should therefore be carefully considered. Here are a few factors that should be considered.

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SEO factors when choosing the domain

Domain extension

With regard to the domain ending, ccTLDs should, if possible, be used for country-specific content, as these signal to Google that the respective page is particularly relevant for country-specific search queries, which in turn can lead to a higher ranking.

Apart from the country-specific TLDs, the domain ending has no direct influence on the ranking of a website. This also applies to the new regional TLDs such as .berlin or .bayern. However, the domain ending can have an impact on user behavior, as endings such as .info are more likely to be clicked when a user is looking for information. The choice of the domain extension can therefore have an indirect effect on the search engine optimization (SEO) of a website.

Illustration: Domain for SEO - Author: Seobility - License: CC BY-SA 4.0

However, since a domain can only be occupied by one website, it can happen that the desired name for .de, for example, has already been taken. If this is the case, however, the domain may be available for purchase. Before doing this, however, it should be checked for possible past penalties by Google and the age. Because a domain that has already attracted negative attention from Google several times before the purchase is certainly not a good starting point for SEO.

Dashes and numbers

In the past, hyphens were used in domains, especially in German-speaking countries, to separate different words from one another. However, Google is now very good at reading out the individual words of a domain, so the use of hyphens is no longer necessary these days. In addition, too many hyphens can quickly appear dubious, as they are reminiscent of domains in which as many keywords as possible have been strung together and separated from each other by hyphens. With domains that are made up of several words, you should always own the domain with and without hyphens, otherwise there is a risk that one of these versions will be acquired by the competition or a domain broker. This in turn brings with it the risk that activities are carried out on the other version of the domain that can have a negative effect on the image of your own website.

The use of numbers is particularly useful as a supplement if the main keyword alone is no longer available as a domain name. In some cases, their use can also make a positive contribution to branding, as is the case with Check24.de, for example.

Keywords

Basically, it is advisable to include the main keyword of a website in the domain, as this can make a positive contribution to the ranking - albeit not as much as it used to be (e.g. pizza.de). However, keyword stuffing should be avoided in any case, i.e. overcrowding the domain with keywords, e.g. www.favorable-tax-advice-berlin-tax-declaration.de. This not only sees through Google as keyword stuffing, but also has a dubious effect on users and also makes branding more difficult. If you already have a strong brand, you can completely dispense with the use of keywords, as a strong and unique brand already makes a positive contribution to the ranking. For companies that still have to position and establish their brand on the market, the use of the main keyword in the domain name is undoubtedly a good choice.

Meaningful name

For companies that do not yet have a strong brand name, it is also advantageous to choose a meaningful domain name that meets the search intent of the user. Because if the name provides information about what the user expects on the page and if this corresponds to his / her ideas, the page is more likely to be clicked on, i.e. the click-through rate (CTR) in the search results increases.

The disadvantage of such a name, however, is that if the product portfolio is expanded, it may no longer be able to cover its full range. The name should therefore not be chosen too specifically if future expansions cannot be ruled out in advance.

Short domain name

Another important aspect to consider when choosing a domain is its length. The domain name should be as short as possible, otherwise it is not only more difficult to read, but also reduces the ability to remember. For this, website operators can orientate themselves on an approximate optimal length of 8 characters. However, this is of course not a rule of thumb, because the optimal length can be very different depending on the website. Basically, however, it should always be noted that the domain name is primarily not selected for search engines such as Google, but for users and should therefore be as short and simple as possible.

Not too many subdomains

Although subdomains offer a good way of separating certain separate content such as a blog from the actual website, this technology creates several different websites. If this gets too high, the website runs the risk of being classified under subdomain spamming, which is why the number of subdomains should be reduced to a necessary minimum.

Background information: what is a domain?

The term domain is understood in everyday language to mean the Internet address of a website. It represents the translation of the IP address into words and is therefore more memorable and user-friendly than the long string of numbers.

Each existing domain can only be assigned to one website and is therefore unique. However, the domain is not to be confused with the URL, as it is only part of the entire URL.

A domain is made up of the following components: top-level domain (TLD), domain name and subdomain.

Illustration: The components of a domain, author: Seobility

  • Top-level domain: The TLD is also referred to as a domain ending and can be country-specific (ccTLD, e.g. .de, .at, ...) or generic (gTLD, e.g. .com, .net, .info, ...). In addition, so-called new TLDs (nTLD, e.g. .berlin or .photography) have existed for some time, which allow an even more differentiated geographical or thematic classification of a website.
  • Domain name: This is the individual name of the website, e.g. the company name. This can be chosen more or less freely and represents the unique part of a domain. Apart from hyphens, no special characters are allowed, and the domain may not begin or end with a hyphen.
  • Subdomain: Subdomains can be used for specific areas of a website that should be separated from the actual website, such as "mobile" or "blog". The most common subdomain, however, is www, which stands for the World Wide Web. However, this can now also be omitted.

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