Keywords in Domain Names: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

It is the question of the day, do you include keywords in your domain name. It is a multi-faceted question. The answer may vary based on how established your website it. For start-up companies, if you can find a keyword-rich domain name, we say go for it. But what if your business and domain name are established? It is a much more complicated question.

One of the reasons that having keywords in your domain name is valuable is because search engines view domain names as a fixed feature not often manipulated for increased rankings. Because the investment in establishing an internet presence and domain name is so great, it doesn’t make much sense to fiddle with it once it is set. So if you can get a domain name that is keyword rich, grab it and you will be starting a positive relationship with search engines.

Others in favor of keywords in domain names site the fact that it is a great anchor text when other sites use your domain name to link back to your site. Since most links are just the website, you will pick up a useable link with optimized text when your keyword is in the domain name.

Having a keyword in your domain name may also benefit your relationship with the average Joe searching on the web. If the keyword searched shows up in your domain name, the average surfer is likely to identify positively with your site. Since the whole point of SEO is to drive traffic, any time you can come up at the top of the search is a good thing.

Since it is often nearly impossible to get a domain name with your keyword in it, what else can you do? Choosing a domain name that is longer and includes hyphens can get you a unique URL. However, it does make it harder to brand to the average consumer. Selecting a domain name that is in line with your businesses identity and goals will help to increase brand recognition. Shorter, more memorable domain names work well in both the online and bricks and mortar world. Of course, the key to success with any SEO investment is content that is fresh and unique with good quality links.

The bottom line is if you can get a domain name that is keyword rich you are in a good place, but for the rest of us, good solid SEO practices will make up the difference.

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