The SEO community has long been strewn with theories arguing the case for inserting keywords into domain names.
In some quarters, it has been said that, if a website links to your own site by posting a URL pointing to it, this link can act akin to an anchor text and consequently push your website in the right direction in Google’s search rankings.
Another idea is that, as long as the keywords in the domain are relevant to your business, they will provide Google with an insight into the website’s purpose.
However, both of these theories about keyword-rich domains have been discredited by Google’s own John Mueller. This naturally leaves the question of whether you should pack keywords into your site’s URL at all — but, while doing so can possibly work well, certain caveats would apply.
Would keywords in domain names provide any SEO ranking bonus?
Not according to Mueller, who has explained that Google can tell whether a link is a bare URL or anchor text, enabling the search giant to disregard keywords included in the former.
In 2020, Mueller insisted that Google does not even take account of keywords in domain extensions from an SEO standpoint. For example, if you run a job listings website, giving it a .jobs domain extension would not theoretically bestow any extra SEO benefit on that site.
Nonetheless, some ranking factor studies have still indicated that including keywords in a domain name could fuel your website with some SEO juice.
Furthermore, a keyword in the URL of this site could signal to a searcher that it offers what they want or need. For this reason, then, a keyword-based domain could actually give many potential customers of your business sufficient incentive to give it a closer look.
However, keyword-rich domains have notable drawbacks, too
In a recent SEO-related thread on Reddit, Mueller outlined various reasons why he is “not a fan of keyword-keyword domains”, despite acknowledging that “YMMV” (i.e. your mileage may vary).
Mueller pointed out that, when you do use such domains, “everyone thinks you’re a spammer”, while “changing business focus, or even expanding, is harder”.
There is also the issue that, if the URL is simply a string of keywords rather than a brand name, it will be harder for people who visit the website to remember the URL for next time.
Mueller argues that, in this situation, “there’s nothing that people can search for which ‘obviously’ should show your site. You’re always competing, you’re not building value with long-term users.”
What type of domain should you ultimately choose for your website?
A good start would be to build your choice of domain name around a distinctive brand name that can hold your business in good stead even if you change your corporate direction.
While Apple’s main focus in the 1980s might have been desktop computers, the company is now more strongly associated with smartphones. We at Webahead can fetch your website a domain name intended to help keep your business relevant for the long haul.