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How Your Domain Name Will Impact SEO & Social Media Marketing

When starting a new website, one of the first and most important decisions you have to make is choosing a domain name. That choice will impact the website’s success in nearly every area, included search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM). Let’s examine how a domain name impacts SEO and SMM and then analyze the factors that make a good domain name.

Should I Choose A Keyword Domain?

For years SEOs and search marketers have often purchased domains that contained their targeted keywords in order to increase CTRs and to help gain higher rankings on Google, Yahoo and other search engines. Let’s examine this strategy to determine if it is still effective.

Many SEO strategists would purchase exact match domains (EMDs), which are domains that exactly match the keyword phrase they are targeting. For example, if they want to rank for “buy green widgets” the person might purchase BuyGreenWidgets.com. EMDs offered two advantages.

  1. The presence of the keyword phrase in the domain was itself a ranking factor.
  2. The presence of the keyword phrase in the domain encouraged other webmasters to include
  3. The keyword phrase in the anchor text when linking to the site.

However, in light of recent Google updates (especially the “EMD update”), EMDs are no longer as helpful as they once were.

  • High Position’s study indicated that the “average EMD ranking went from #13.4 down to #26.6,” and the “average top 10 EMD went from #3.2 down to #11.9.”
  • SEOmoz data shows that EMD correlation with ranking has dropped from 0.34 in 2010 to 0.18 in 2012.

In light of the trend since 2010, many SEOs feel that EMDs and other keyword domains may become even less beneficial in the future. This does not mean that you should necessarily avoid or abandon keyword domains, but it does mean that keywords shouldn’t be the primary factor you consider when choosing a domain.