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Can a Domain Name Influence Google Ranking? 

January 29, 2023
Paul Gordon

Can a Domain Name Influence Google Ranking? 

Knowing what does and doesn't affect Google search results is key to getting better positions.

In addition to knowing how you should layout your blog posts, tag your images and apply keyword usage, you need to know if adding keywords to domain names will boost the rankings. 

Can a keyword domain give you the power for a better Google search result? Let's explore what ranking results you get from a domain name. 

What is an exact domain name - man doing website search

What is an exact domain name?

If you want to know what an exact domain name is – it's one site name that matches keywords—for example, or

These domain names include the keywords you're looking to rank for. 

Whether it's a good idea to have keywords in your domain name is a question we should all know the answer to. Let's take a look at the evidence and facts available to us. 

Keyword research concept for domain names

Does adding keywords to domain names help SEO?

Back in September 2012, Matt Cutts of Google declared that exact match domains are not a ranking factor after the latest algorithm change. You can see the original Twitter post for yourself. 

Now that we know that Google isn't promoting keyworded domains let's look at whether a domain name can influence search results. 

So far, we know what the SEO industry has been telling us: exact match domain names can influence ranking, but Google is not in agreement. So you don't go down the wrong path, read on.

Domain name for sale slogan on computer

The Assertion: Does a domain name affect ranking?

On your internet and YouTube travels, you may have come across somebody who has declared that you get credibility and authority from an exact match domain. They'll say things like 'anything else is a waste of time', 'you'll be head and shoulders above your competition. This person is typically somebody who is offering SEO services or website design.

Those statements were actually factual – at one point in time. For example, a few years back, sold for almost $50 million. It's one of the biggest moneymakers ever in the domain name world.

Those so-called SEO experts would say that keywords in domain names give you a terrific boost in rankings. Many people followed what they were told and changed their domain name to enjoy the free ride that they got from domain names constructed with keywords.

Google searching on smartphone

The Evidence: Domain names as a ranking factor

There's always some online conversation about domain names and their power over rankings. But what evidence do we have that it actually does help? What we want to know is if domain names have any positive effect on ranking. Read on to see what the evidence is.

In 2011, Bill Slawski looked at the exact match domain patent of Google and made some fascinating discoveries.  Bill speculated that there was a chance that keywords may make domains work better – according to the patent. 

However, during that very same year, Matt Cutts of Google discussed domain names during a Webmaster Hangout. He said that Google had decided to turn down the power of keyword domains, so there wasn't so much weight on them. He said it wouldn't necessarily make a difference to have a domain name with keywords compared to another domain name. 

So that comment made it clear and cemented it. Back in 2011, domain names were not what affected ranking results.

Team brand planning in office

The Outcome: Domain Name as a Ranking Signal

When you're considering which domain name to pick for your site, it's vital to consider the following. 

Although there are exceptions, it's a wise person who evaluates what your goals are for your website before you select the domain name. It would help if you constructed your domain name around these goals. Having a domain name constructed with keywords will not do you any favours. 

For example, if somebody is looking for a brand name, they will type it into google, which will help them find it and rank better for that query. 

In summary, you're not going to get much help from adding keywords to your domain name. Go ahead, use whatever words you want in your domain name, and take this out of your mind. If you're going to add a brand name, do that. But if keywords happen to make up the name of your business, then you could do that. 

Get in touch if you need help setting up your domain name. Here at Paul Gordon, I help individuals and businesses get online to get the word out about what you offer, and to make online sales through eCommerce sites. If you need a no-obligation conversation, get in touch. 

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