The Importance Of Keywords In Your Domain Name For SEO?

by Klaus on October 6, 2009

in Search Engine Optimization

seoI often wonder exactly how important it is to have keywords in your domain name, so I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

But first, let’s break down what we’re dealing with here, cause mostly you hear about keywords in the URL.

An URL usually consists of two things, the domain name and the filename:

http://techpatio.com/category/tech-news

The blue text is the domain name and the green text is the file name. In this example, I have “tech news” in the URL. If you take a look at the URL for this article you’re reading right now, it will say:

/important-keywords-domain-name-search-engine-optimization-url

These are the keywords I hope to target with this article. Having keywords in the URL is important, no questions about it, everybody recommends it. You can barely read an SEO article without it mentioning you should use “pretty links”, ie. keywords in the URL, rather than an ugly URL without any keywords as all, such as:
/index.php?page=article&id=123
.

In my example above, I have the word “tech” appear twice. In “techpatio.com” and in “/category/tech-news”. Let’s imagine that we have two identical articles at two identical sites with:

  • the exact same content (don’t worry about duplicate content punishment, that doesn’t exist in this thought example)
  • the exact same file name (/category/tech-news)
  • the exact same amount of backlinks (incoming links from other sites)
  • the exact same PageRank

One of the sites use the domain name techpatio.com, the other use my-place-to-hangout.com.

Which of the sites do you think will rank highest when searching for “tech news”?

  1. http://techpatio.com/category/tech-news
    or…
  2. http://my-place-to-hangout.com/category/tech-news

If the answer is site #1, wouldn’t that mean having keywords in the domain name does matter for Search Engine Optimization and so you could gain an edge if you buy a domain such as search-engine-optimization.as against your competitors over at silicon-valley-seo.com (just examples)?

Well, quite a long post to ask a simple question – so let’s sum it up with a poll. Please vote and feel free to leave a comment as well, would love to hear what you think or know, is the case, when it comes to keywords in the domain name.

How important do you think keywords are in the domain name, SEO-wise?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Extreme John October 7, 2009 at 03:18

You know your getting a Very Important vote from me on this one, this is an excellent tip for bloggers looking to take their blog to the next level.

I tested this very same thing on two different domains and the Page Rank as well as search engine results are unreal between the two.
.-= Extreme John´s last blog ..Hit While Pumping Gas =-.

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Rohit October 7, 2009 at 08:00

I think keywords in the URL help in getting your site listed among the Top search results! But to be frank, I also think it also depends on the Authority of the Domain Name which decides the SEO factor.
.-= Rohit´s last blog ..Did your Wordpress Blog ever go Blank? Not yet? But, It can happen with you too, So be prepared for it! =-.

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Matt Hayden October 7, 2009 at 12:04

I’ve never done a thorough test on this question. However I do have a couple of sites with keywords in the domains and they’re doing pretty well SEO-wise considering how old they are. So I’m sure it can’t hurt!

I have read a bit about this subject, and the overall consensus is that it helps a fair bit. I’ll definitely be doing it for all my subsequent domains, although I won’t spend ages doing keyword research to find perfect low competition keywords. As long as they’re appropriate and the domain name sounds okay – and is easy to remember – they’ll do!
.-= Matt Hayden´s last blog ..Suicide notes on Facebook =-.

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Klaus @ TechPatio October 7, 2009 at 23:00

I agree, it certainly doesn’t hurt.

But if it’s important, then why don’t we see lots more .as domains for instance? Or .nu? They have a short TLD, available many places and there’s still many cool domains available with those TLD’s. Of course for branding it’s better to stick with .com etc, but if SEO is the way you intend on getting traffic, .as etc. should be just fine. Don’t you agree?
.-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..Dual Screen Netbook From Kohjinsha =-.

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DiTesco October 8, 2009 at 20:08

You also got a very important vote on this one from me. Not only is it good for SEO, I believe that it is also more user friendly because it can give an idea of what the user can expect, rather than the /index.php?page=article&id=123, which in my view might even be hiding something inappropriate.
.-= DiTesco´s last blog ..How To Become A Better Blogspot User? =-.

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chandan October 26, 2009 at 15:54

It is very much important for using keyword on domail name. Even on google tutorial also say that it is important to use keyword on domain name. When I was new on blogging I did not aware about it, so I did not use keyword on my blog.

Now I have know more about SEO and link building work.
.-= chandan´s last blog ..Tips on pay per click marketing =-.

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Jayce December 28, 2009 at 15:54

Haha…. Nobody is going to search any keyword and find my blog ~ JayceOoi.com
Anyway, I don’t care. 😛
.-= Jayce´s last blog ..How to hack Facebook account profile =-.

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Linda March 15, 2010 at 13:58

According to me it is not that much important to have keyword in the Domain name. But it helps in ranking if we keep keywords in Domain name. Ranking mostly depends on the external links pointing back to our site.
.-= Linda´s last blog ..Signs Your Ex Wants You Back =-.

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Bill September 17, 2010 at 13:45

Does the TLD that is being used make a difference? Would Google give more page rank to an authority domain that is a .edu versus a .net or a .biz?

What are your thoughts?

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Nabil October 29, 2010 at 14:03

Jag anser att det är oerhört viktigt med sökord i sin domän. Har i varje fall fungerat väldigt, väldigt bra för mig.
Nabil recently posted… E-handlare- kontakta mig!

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Rob McCance November 5, 2010 at 03:38

VERY for me.

I’ve seen it matter.

Here’s the unofficial test. Search google for some competitive KW. Scan the first couple of pages and see how many domains contain the KW.

Done.
Rob McCance recently posted… Neighborhood Choices

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Damon Day June 27, 2011 at 04:38

Hey Klaus,
I realize that this post is almost 2 years old now, but it caught my eye in one of your related post links from another article. It seems from what I have been reading lately, google is starting to put less of an importance on key word domain matches.
However, I still think it is a benefit to have a similar or exact match domain when trying to rank for a specific keyword, even if it might not be as important as it once was, it is still a factor.
Damon Day recently posted… Credit Counseling North Carolina

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