23 Feb Google: No SEO Bonus For Keyword-Targeted Domains
Recently, Google’s John Mueller responded to a Reddit inquiry in February 2022, on the ranking benefits of putting keywords in the domain name. Mueller acknowledged that there is no SEO benefit for keywords in the domain and cited reasons why keyword-based domains should not be used.
Mueller provides convincing arguments why keywords in domains do not deliver a ranking boost and why using such names can backfire. However, there are other marketing reasons (ie. non-SEO considerations) why keywords in domains may still be a viable option.
Marketing for B2B and B2C websites differ slightly and it important to find out how to boost rankings for B2B websites as they are often overlooked.
Are There SEO Benefits of Keywords in Domain Name?
There are numerous reasons why some SEOs advise incorporating a keyword in the domain name. According to some, when someone links to you with merely the URL, the keyword acts as anchor text and influences Google’s results.
However, John Mueller has already stated that Google understands the difference between a bare URL and anchor text and that the keywords in a bare URL will not be used.
Others argue that having keywords in the domain helps SEO since they assist Google comprehend what the site is about. However, his subsequent Reddit response disproves that theory.
Google used to rank exact match domains, including parked domains. However, the exact match domain effect was muted many years ago to lessen its effects.
How Would Google Rank Keyword-Based Domains?
The person on Reddit asked how Google would rank various keyword-based domains.
“How would Google rank the following domains: web-design.com, web.design, web-design.net?”
Google’s John Mueller offered his insight into how Google handles keywords in domains.
“No difference. Also no difference if you used sabertoothed-hedgehog.com.”
Pick A Domain Name For The Long Term, Because Short Term Plans Can Backfire
John Mueller then advised that it could be a good idea to choose a domain that can withstand a shift in focus. He suggested choosing a domain name that can withstand changes in the company model and business trends.
He continued his answer:
“Pick a domain name you can build on for the long run.
Maybe you’re doing web-design now, but what will you do in 5, 10 years?
Pick something that lets you grow, or go with a domain name that’s more like a brand which you can build out & which people can find you with directly (that would be my recommendation).”
“[because] Creating separate sites for sub-business-ideas is a hassle, merging sites is a bigger hassle, moving domains is a hassle.
All of these things take a lot of time, some money, and more. Go with something you want to keep for longer, which gives you room.”
Mueller Explains: Keyword Domains Have No SEO Bonus
Mueller next turned to explaining how there is no SEO bonus for using a keyword-based domain name.
“There’s no secret (or public) SEO-bonus for having your keywords in the domain name.
(and for those coming with “but there are keyword domains ranking well” — of course, you can also rank well with a domain that has keywords in it.
But you can rank well with other domain names too, and a domain won’t rank well just because it has keywords in it.)”
Local Singapore Context: Marketing Perspective of Keyword Domains
How does this apply to businesses in Singapore?
Keywords in a domain name might limit the future scope of a domain and narrow the business focus into a single product/service offering.
From a marketing perspective, having relevant keyword(s) in the domain name can strongly signal to a potential visitor that your site has the product or service that they are looking for, even if they have not heard of your brand or company name before.
This reason is not directly related to SEO at this time in 2022.
But this is a valid reason why marketing management and business owners in Singapore may consider a keyword-based domain.
But those kinds of considerations have to be balanced out by the advice that John Mueller shared and the understanding that a keyword-based domain could limit business growth.
Interested To Learn More?
Choosing a domain name can be seemingly straightforward, but getting it right for SEO and marketing benefits can be tricky in Google’s search climate. SEO will play a part in the domain name decision even though it is not the first or only consideration.
Here at MediaPlus Digital, our team of SEO specialists provide personalized SEO strategies and roadmaps to help your website climb Google’s pages. As a leading SEO agency in Singapore, we have run 100s of SEO campaigns for SME clients. Each SEO campaign has been crafted to best benefit the client while staying within their budget. If you are concerned about the cost of SEO, it would be helpful to understand the cost factors that determines the overall cost of a SEO campaign.
At all times, we help Singapore brands to achieve their marketing goals while also delivering transparent data metrics for them. This allows us and our clients to make informed decisions with positive marketing impact. So contact us today!