SEO and beyond: What to consider when choosing a domain name

Keeping up to date with changes to Google rankings and other key considerations can go a long way to determining the success of your business online.

“Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards.” Those were the wise words of Galileo Galilei.

I doubt the 16th Century astronomer and philosopher thought his musings would one day apply to SEO, but, as with many of the great thinkers, their thoughts are just as relevant in the modern day.

Possibly even more important than naming your business, choosing your company’s website domain name is one of the most critical decisions you will make, especially for those with a big focus on online sales channels.

“The essence of things,” as Galileo put it, is in this context Google, and our strategies to make the search engine work to our business’s advantage.

There is plenty more common wisdom flying about in SEO circles as to the advantage of choosing a targeted keyword as your domain name. This type of domain name is known as an EMD (Exact Match Description), and recent research has highlighted that choosing an EMD might not have the SEO value it once did.

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From my perspective, I can honestly say the choice of an EMD domain name for our business has been absolutely vital to our success. So what’s the story?

After a so-called ‘EMD update’ by Google, a number of studies showed the EMD websites’ average ranking had fallen over 10 places.  This caused a tidal wave of badly informed advice, urging online businesses to disregard EMDs as an irrelevance. I can assure you, as both an online business owner, and an SEO enthusiast, that this is far from the truth.

While the SEO power of an EMD domain name might have been reduced, there is no debate that it still a powerful feature of a domain name. In my opinion it will do far more good than harm.

Combined with engaging content on your website, possibly via a blog, an organised linking structure and other SEO-friendly features, an EMD domain name is definitely a positive.

Moving onto online marketing, the other advantage of EMD domain names is their ability to impact on CTRs (click through rates). As somebody whose business has been built through online channels from the ground up, I can say that the ability of the domain name to accurately reflect the needs of our visitors has been crucial.

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The guys at Memorable Domains did an excellent study on this. It essentially shows that a name such as ours which directly references a product (and is a targeted keyword), is likely to provide better CTRs than more generic domain names, say for example .

You will probably find that the premium keyword domains related to your business are horrifically expensive, and for this reason choosing your domain name should be a calculated investment, streamlined in accordance with your overall business outlay.

And like any sound investment, you should spend time researching and identifying which keywords could give the domain name of your online business the SEO effectiveness that will provide a healthy return on investment.

Your domain name decision comes back to making a sound business choice, which is a philosophy I’m sure Galileo would have agreed with. After receiving news in 1608 that Dutchman Hans Lippershey had patented a new visual aid called known as a telescope, Galileo set about building his own improved version and completed it, within one day.

Further reading: Choosing a name while avoiding the blame

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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