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Domain Names and Google Ranking

It's no secret that appearing on the first few pages of a Google search engine results page (SERP) is extremely valuable to any kind of online venture. The question is, does your choice of domain name make a difference in how your domains rank?

Google's exact ranking algorithm is kept secret from the public. However, there are some general principles you can follow that have proven to be helpful. Here are some things to consider when it comes to domain names and Google:


Google does not penalize domains which include hyphens. Dogcollars.com should rank as well as Dog-collars.com, all things being equal. However, Dogcollars.com would generally be considered more "credible" by end users, making it more likely that they would link to it.


One of the main factors in Google's ranking algorithm is the anchor text of a link from another website. For example, if you want to rank well for the search term "dog collar," it would help you greatly if other websites link to your site using the text "dog collar" for the link.

In general, people trust brands much more than generic websites. One common technique is to include a brand focused name as well as a keyword in your domain name. For example, "Acmedogcollars.com" functions as both a branded site and keyword rich domain name. If you establish the "Acme" brand, people will link to your site using anchor text that includes dog "collars", helping you rank for that term by default.

Domain Age

The older your domain, the better. Stability and credibility are shown by domains that aren't expired and registered multiple times in their lifespan. If you have any kind of inclination to register a name, do it now; it'll increase in value just on the basis of having it age.

Create Valuable Content

Users link to a website mainly because it has some kind of value. You don't have to register a domain with search engines in mind if you plan to develop a content rich site. This is why brands such as Twitter could thrive on Google SERPs. The name Twitter itself does not naturally convey what the site does but it is short, easy to remember, and most importantly the site built around the domain name is a very useful tool.

At the end of the day, the general idea is this. If you are a domain investor looking to park your domain for profit, choosing a keyword rich domain is necessary. Since you're not going to build a site around it anyways, you probably will not rank well in Google simply because Google gives priority to sites with actual content. Optimize your choice for type-in traffic. If you are going to develop a website around your domain, your choice of domain is not as important as creating a site that is user focused, content rich, and valuable.

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