What is domain?
Domain is a unique name of the website that is used to access the website in the web browser. It represents a specific set of numbers (the IP address) of the website. The domain name consists of a top-level domain (in amazon.com, it is the .com part) and the second-level domain (in our example, it would be amazon).
In our definition of web hosting, we compared it to a piece of land where your house (website) stands. If hosting is the piece of land, then domain is the address of the house.
The domain allows users to access your website through the web browser. All you need to do is to purchase the domain through one of the domain registrators (the registration is most commonly prolonged annually) and connect it to your web hosting.
Every domain name in the world is unique. It means that many attractive domains are already used and the whole process of finding the right domain name became more difficult.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find a great domain name.
How to choose the domain name?
There are certain best practices when it comes to choosing the right domain name.
- The domain name should easy to remember and type into the browser
- It should be as short as possible – besthouserentalslongisland.com is definitely not a good domain name
- Ideally, the domain should not include numbers (unless the number is part of your branding)
- Avoid using hyphens to join the words, it simply doesn’t look and sound good
- If possible, choose a common, well-established top-level domain (.com, .org, .net or country specific TLD if targeting certain country), rather than various “alternative” domains (such as .tech, .top or .xyz)
Domain name and SEO
The domain name and its influence on the rankings is an ongoing topic in the SEO world.
For many years, the domains really ranked better if the domain name matched the search query. It all changed in 2012, when Google updated their algorithm to prevent low-quality websites from ranking well due to an exact match domain (EMD).
Of course, the algorithms are not perfect. Even today, there are many lower-quality websites that obviously rank for certain keywords only because they have an exact match domain.
Does it mean you should stuff your domain with keywords? No. Use the keywords in the domain only if it makes sense from the branding point of view or it improves the UX significantly.
In the long run, the best strategy is to choose the domain name based on your brand (make sure the domain is available when branding your business). The reason is simple – the strong brand is always better that good ranking for one keyword.
And don’t forget that the domain can be optimized without being spammy. If, for example, you run a local business, there is nothing wrong with including the name of the town in the domain.