What Role Do Keywords Play in URLs and Domain Names?

When you’re looking to set up a new website, getting the name right is probably the first task on your must-do list. With businesses today becoming all too aware of the importance of SEO rankings for outmanoeuvring their competitors, it makes sense to pick a name for your website that has a valuable search term built into it. Or does it?

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In fact, some web experts suggest that including a keyword in your domain name or URL is not as crucial as you might think. Including a keyword in a top-level domain or URL actually has little or no effect on SEO rankings, with Google in particular choosing not to favour such web addresses.

Changes to How SEO Rankings Work

In the past, it was common to see long web addresses packed with clickbait key terms. SEO consultants advised this approach, and for a while it was a successful strategy for getting a website noticed online. Now, however, this outdated approach is unlikely to work in your favour, as Google refined its ranking algorithms in 2012 to tune out the deluge of poor-quality websites that flooded their addresses with key terms. Nowadays, such web addresses are likened to spam, with Bing following Google’s lead and penalising these kind of websites.

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Keywords Help, But Not in the Way That You Might Think

A website with the name www.luxurydogfood.com may include the key values that you hope to convey for pet-loving internet browsers ( “luxury” “food” for “dogs”), but unless this was your registered business name, such a domain name would actually work against you.

Instead, it’s important to choose a name for your website that best reflects your brand. Don’t limit potential future development by referring to a single service that you offer. Returning to the hypothetical www.luxurydogfood.com example, this would be a fairly unhelpful name if you decided to start selling discount cat toys! Websites such as https://www.names.co.uk/domain-names can help you find the right name .

Your brand is the most important factor to include in your web address, and whilst a relevant keyword may help inform customers about your organisation (particularly if your business is simply known by your name), it’s the website’s content that is critical. Ultimately, it’s including pertinent key terms in the website itself which will be recognised by the SEO algorithms.

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