Most people think of SEO as an after thoughts when they build a website. They would build a website first then figure out how to make it rank higher by creating more content. What they fail to notice is that content is not the only component in SEO. In fact, SEO should be started as early as when you are choosing a domain name.
Below are a list of ranking factors that will help you better coming up with a good domain SEO strategy.
Does domain age matter?
Google does take that into consideration but not such a big ranking factor. On the other hand, Google does put a brand new domain in a sandbox for several months. Generally speaking, assuming all other factors are the same, domains less than 3 months do not rank as well as domains that are more than 12 months old. Google does not specifically mention about this, but this has been observed by many SEO professionals.
That does not mean old domains are simply better. Depending on how many backlinks and what kind of treatment a domain has gotten (such as Google penalty), buying an old / expired domain does not guarantee the domain will rank better.
This also answers the question about if buying an expired domain is a good idea. It really depends on the quality of the domain.
Does having a target keyword in domain help ranking?
Yes it does but not as much as it used to be. If you are thinking of changing your business name so you can have a target keyword in your domain don’t do it. Google seems to take brand factor above many ranking factors according to a Searchmetrics.com study. In other words even if your domain name does not contain a good keyword, once your business takes off and become a brand, that “brand” factor is a pretty strong ranking factor. Think long term and choose a name you will be proud of rather than just because of a keyword.
EMD was very popular among affiliate marketers because it used to be a pretty strong ranking factor. For example, if your site promotes selling tickets and the keyword “buy event tickets” has high search volume, by naming your site www.buyeventtickets.com would have ranked very well several years ago.
Google took a notice on this and introduced EMD update and pretty much wiped out that advantage.
So the conclusion is no need to kill yourself try finding an EMD because it won’t help that much any more.
Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain
Thus registering your domain for multi-years would help.
Will domain history affect ranking?
Finding expired domains to create private blog network got substantial attention few years ago. As a result some domains you come across with might have very volatile ownership and got harsh treatment by Google. Watch the video to find out how using whosi lookup can help you avoid using such domains.
What are the advantages of Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD)?
If you business is not located in the US, using a ccTLD will boost the local signal to Google. When it comes to international SEO, having a ccTLD is the best practice.
In case if your business is solely US based, you can use Google Search Console to tell Google that your site is targeting US.
Should I buy private registration for my domain?
From SEO perspective, it is better to not have the information hidden. The fact that a domain is hiding information will send a signal to Google that “there is something to hide”. For legitimate businesses or companies, having the information appear on whois is another way to market the business.
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