SEO > The Role of Domains in Search Engine Optimisation
December 14, 2011

When the name Oprah comes up you immediately think- iconic talk show host, just as the name Kardashian immediately makes you think of full figured reality TV stars, while the name Cadbury is instantaneously associated to mouth watering chocolates. Names say a lot in just a short space and span of time- they can incite trust, fear, sweet cravings- they can even define a person, and according to a new study from Microsoft Research, this applies not just to celebrities or products but in capturing clicks and conversions in SERPs as well. Search Engine Marketing resource Search Engine Land recently published an article about Microsoft’s study, saying that the results definitively showed what most SEOs have known for years- that domain names matter. The study however, did not focus on SEO techniques or ranking algorithms, but on observed searcher behaviours. Apparently, searchers are getting smarter about perusing SERPs, looking at URLs with more scrutiny rather than clicking the first result straight away. “They’re demonstrating a clear preference now for credibility and trustworthiness in a domain name over simple ranking on a search result page,” writes Search Engine Land executive editor Chris Sherman.

What This Means for SEO

So what are the implications for SEO given this conclusion? According to Sherman, this means good news for sites with already credible and trusted domain names, and bad news for those who do not. These days, good, credible domain names are extremely hard to come by, as most are already in use or are being reserved. Sherman adds that there are several other factors to consider as well, such as personalisation and Google’s never ending algorithm changes.

Sherman states that this study also implies that rank really doesn’t matter if you’ve got a quality, trustworthy domain name. While this may be true, it still wouldn’t do your site any good if, though you have the most credibly contrived domain name, still end up at the hundredth spot in SERPs. So why not get the best of both?

The Best SEO Companies Give their Take

Search Engine Land editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan outlines some points in an article on how to get the name, trust and ranking that you deserve. If you find it too taxing to switch to or add another domain name or have tried with only mediocre results, then perhaps your next best option is to improve your title tags. Title tags represent your site or company on SERPs as much as any domain name, and are also contributory to how you rank on any major search engine, as most of the best seo companies agree. For instance, a blog or official site of an established person or company would do much better in the ranks if begun with the word “official”, as this signals to both search engines and searchers of its credibility. Including what it is that can be found in your site or company on the title could really help as well, so if it’s a blog, title it as a blog; if you’re selling furniture or a clothing line or what have you, say so on your title. Unless you already have a highly-renowned name that can stand on its own (i.e. Oprah, Cadbury), better label your title aptly. Sullivan adds that the meta description tag should do the same and describe your site properly and truthfully.

So whatever name you’ve got, make the most of it, but don’t forget to apply a little SEO to it, because even the best SEO company in the world would not forgo their practices just for a spectacular domain name.

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