This is a guest post from Alisha Shibli, a Content Marketing Specialist at Radix.

If you've spent any amount of time on the Internet, you are no stranger to the general idea behind Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

It's the practice of optimizing a website to appear in the top ten results of a search for a specific query. Being on top of Google search results is one of the best ways for customers to find your business.

The mechanics of SEO, however, aren’t that simple. And the deeper you dig, the more complex it gets. Years ago, the domain name you chose could have a significant impact on your website’s search ranking. Now, Google is constantly studying its users’ habits and the basis that informs its algorithm, making it challenging for businesses to keep up.

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Photo by rawpixel / Unsplash

So, the big question is: Do keyword-rich domains help SEO?

The answer is yes - domain names do have an impact on SEO, but the approach isn’t as straightforward as it once used to be. For a website to rank, it needs to host valuable content that is constantly updated to stay relevant and get valuable backlinks. Having a keyword-rich domain name on top of good content is the icing on the cake.

For example, a website with domain name and can rank for the same keywords if both websites are identical. However, the latter will garner more trust and will help the business get more on-topic backlinks for the keyword search of ‘sneaker store’.

Confused? Let us help simplify the concept with the top three ways domain names have an impact on a website’s SEO.

Choosing the right domain extension can help with conversion

Your domain name is your online identity and a branding opportunity. Having a web address that is short, clear, and crisp tends to makes the name memorable. It’s all about getting the most out of people’s navigation habits.

For instance, your domain extension has a significant impact on how your website will be perceived. Some extensions can be seen as spammy, while others will stand out and will be considered as references.

In the above example of and, despite both the websites being relevant, the latter seems more reliable because of the domain extension. New domain extensions such as .store help add character and credibility by explaining what the website has to offer before someone even clicks on it.

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Photo by David Sinclair / Unsplash

Choosing the right domain name can enhance user perception

Domain names are important to people and people are important to Google. The keywords placed before and after the dot have an influence on user perception because they tell the visitor what the website is about. A .tech website would have something to do with technology while a .store would most likely be an eCommerce site.

A web address provides information, relevance, and trust, and that all adds up to more people clicking on them - which in turn helps with search engine ranking.

For example, take a look at the search results for 'lorde merchandise':

Even though is her official website, when searching for her merchandise it is that shows up as the top result because it’s more relevant to the search query.

Choosing the right domain name helps with relevant anchor text

Anchor text are the highlighted words on which a hyperlink appears and can be used as a pillar to boost SEO. When the words highlighted in the anchor text match with the web address, it sends a positive signal to search engines about the authenticity of the website.

The more relevant the anchor text to the page it is linking to, the better it is for the SEO, as in the example of anchor text ‘sneakers store’ being hyperlinked to the website

How to choose the best domain extension

Your domain extension is a great communication opportunity for your business. The reason why a domain name is seen as an ‘internet identity’ is because each one is unique, and it offers the possibility to get creative. Now that you know how they can help with your website’s SEO and overall branding, let's see how to choose one based on your business type:

● If you’re in the technology or IT, you could go with .TECH
● If you’re in retail or eCommerce, .STORE could be a good choice
● If you’re a journalist or publisher, try .PRESS
● If you’re building your personal brand, then you can use .ONLINE

Your domain name is your website’s first point of contact. Having a well-structured website with a short, relevant and good domain name can help benefit your overall SEO efforts and help your business reach the right audience.

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