How to Choose a Domain Name for SEO [Complete Beginners Guide]

How to Choose a Domain Name for SEO [Complete Beginners Guide]


You’re about to learn how to choose a domain name for SEO purposes. You will find out why choosing the right domain name will help you find success in your SEO campaign.

Before we continue, I want to mention that if you’d like to learn SEO right from scratch, please follow the SEO tutorial guide page and move forward from there.

If when you’re through with reading this you feel you’ve learned something new, please post it in the comment box at the end of the post. I’ll reply your comment in 12 – 24 hours. Alternatively you can contact me on the contact us page if you need more help.

What is a Domain?

A domain is of course just the name for a unique place or area on the Internet where a website can be viewed. But how do they affect your SEO?

In your effort to learn how to choose a domain name for SEO purpose, the important distinction to make is that the SEO ‘strength’ of a website domain lies in the history and age of the domain itself, rather than the actual files (content) of the site.

Theoretically, we could take an organization like the BBC, and transfer all the current files and databases on bbc.com over to a freshly created domain called britishnewsandbroadcasting.com. When you visited the new domain, you would see the BBC’s website in front of you – just as you know it now – with all the articles and media associated with it.

However, the website would receive little online visibility via SEO because the domain britishnewsandbroadcasting.com has no history and standing in Google.

The domain you choose to build and showcase a website on is one of the most important decisions you can make for your online venture. This is why you learn how to choose your domain name carefully.

Not only will this domain become your online brand that you’ll publicize and share with people, but it’s the entity that Google identifies with when considering your optimization.

How Domains Contribute to SEO

Bored and tired of plumbing SEO example we used in the previous tutorial (SEO Tutorial 3)? Well you’re about to beg me to bring them back, because for the rest of this post we’re going to talk about couches instead. Interesting huh?

Let’s pretend that we’ve just finished our keyword hunting session, and the primary keyword we’d like to get to the top of Google for is ‘Chesterfield Sofa’. Yes, there’s a real interior design theme going on in this post, and I have no idea why! Anyway, sorry. I digress.

In the Early Days of Google

In the early days of Google, when its ranking algorithm was less advanced and over-optimization was less of a consideration, Google would look at your domain name as a huge indicator of the relevance of your site towards an industry, niche, or set of keywords.

The domain name chesterfield-sofa.com could be registered and you’d have a massive SEO advantage over a competitor for the keyword ‘chesterfield sofa’ simply because the domain is also the target keyword.

If you then mentioned ‘chesterfield sofa’ hundreds of times in the content of the website, and managed to get links coming to it where the words included in that link (the link’s ‘anchor text’) were ‘chesterfield sofa’, then reaching position number No.1 in Google was almost an inevitability.

Those were simpler times. Fast-forward to the present day.

Armies of Google engineers have now spent hundreds of thousands of collective hours developing their ranking algorithms, and they’ve developed a formidable beast. Whereas before an SEO expert just had to lead a kitten to a saucer of milk, we now have to domesticate a 250lb lion.

Google has become brutally adept at uncovering deliberate and unnatural efforts to optimize a website for a given keyword. Anyone caught dabbling in excessively aggressive optimization practices will likely have their domain penalized. And quite rightly so really.

Anyway, back to domains.

All this isn’t to say Google doesn’t look upon a domain name as an indicator to a site’s relevance anymore. It just places far less emphasis on them these days. All things being equal, a site with a domain name including the target keyword will rank higher than one with a domain name that doesn’t.


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12 thoughts on “How to Choose a Domain Name for SEO [Complete Beginners Guide]”

  1. Hi thanks for this post, I just joined affiliate marketing and I’m still on my site, it’s been really difficult for me as a newbie, I think these are the posts I need as guide to help me put up a standard website. I just went through I will apply the little knowledge I got from here to see how successful it will be.

    • Thank you Destiny.

      Let me know if you need further help as you work on your website.

      Many thanks.

  2. This is awesome! I am so happy you took out time to educate interested individuals like me. It came timely because i was planning to launch a website soon and knowing key factors to consider when choosing a domain is definitely one way to attract the right people to one’s site and also to create maximum traffic.
    Thank you so much for this post, i will do a follow up as quickly as possible.

    • Thank you David for following the topics of my blog, especially SEO topics.

      Do let me know if you need help as you launch your website.

      Thank you.

  3. Domain names are important. Not only does it define your site’s focus, but keywords in the domain can help with your SEO. In fact, it can also increase your brand recognition and portray a positive first impression. The more creative the domain name, the better in my opinion.  There are domain name generators that can help with that too. The last point I’d like to mention is to make a domain easy to spell.  

    • That’s right Annette. Thank you for the point you added.

      I appreciate it.

  4. This is a very informative post of domain names for SEO, Lawal. One concern about exact or partial match domain names is the use of trademarked or service branded names. Since I don’t know anything about sofas, I don’t know if Chesterfield is a brand or type of sofa. Using a brand name in a domain name can lead to legal issues with the brand owner. Otherwise, using a domain name linked to a type of product may be too limiting. I agree with you that a completely branded domain name is the safest option. A branded name should be easy to read, recognize, and remember. (the 3 Rs)

    • You’re absolutely right Glen.

      Thank you for your comment. Please visit my blog again soon.

  5. Presently very few people understand what methods google use to rank websites. The use of domain names to rank a website in my opinion might not really be that important anymore. Google might at least have an idea what domain a website is just by their domain name but I don’t really think it is a factor in ranking a website because I know of a lot of sites that don’t have their keywords in their domain names but still rank at the top of google.

    • You’re right Jay. Google doesn’t look upon a domain name as an indicator to a
      site’s relevance anymore. It just places far less emphasis on them
      these days. Nevertheless, a site with a domain name including the target keyword still rank higher than any one with a domain name that doesn’t.

      Thank you for your comment Jay.

  6. Wow, This is quite amazing seeing this wonderful post on SEO and domain registration. Am also among the category of people that are in fear of getting a website with a domain needed to direct traffic to generate revenue. All this steps and hints in this article is all inclusive and I really find it helpful. I am glad I found WA immediately I started my affiliate marketing business who lead me on the need for a unique website for free.
    I will like to recommend Wealth Affiliate also. I love the community and it’s features of which one is best keyword research tool that helps a website Search Engine Optimization (SEO), by connecting visitors to your high-quality content and also of marketing research tool . There are always improvements being made and always having our best interest in mind. Thanks for sharing this helpful information.

    • Thank you for your comment. We look forward to your recommendation of my posts to WA.

      Many thanks.

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