Somewhere along the way, website builders started assuming that using a keyword or two in a domain name would help their SEO short- and long-term. Is this legit?  Do you need to create keyword-friendly domain names?

The theory:

The base theory that some people seem to believe is true for online use is that keywords in a domain name is going to automatically bring them a better ranking and, as a result, more theories.  It’s thought that Google and other search engines will give you a few bonus points because you’ve creatively used a ranking keyword in your domain name while still keeping it fresh from everything else out there.  This, however is not the truth.

Based on this theory, many people use this as a key part in picking their unique domain name entirely, forcing them to perhaps limit their options right from the beginning in this arguably creative part of the website creation process.


The reality:

The harsh reality, according to the SEO greats themselves, is that the use of a keyword in the domain name makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to the ranking that you will get. Even if you’re clever and use a few, they make no difference in combination.  They are simple another keyword that you’ve chosen to be part of your domain name and nothing more.


Why don’t keywords make a difference for SEO?

So, why all the hype then?  What doesn’t something as challenging as keyword use in a creative domain name earn you those bonus points?


  • Domain names are for identification not SEO: Similar to a name tag, domain names are authenticated and registered as being unique to you and your company. It’s a focused identifier that helps the customer know who you are in relation to your competition.  They know that people can try to trick the system in showing up on a SERP by using a hot ticket keyword so they make sure that this can’t happen by giving domain name itself no more rankings weight.   Simply put: a domain name is not the place to try to put SEO best practices into use.


  • Domain names are permanent whereas keywords are constantly changing: Since a domain is like a name tag, it’s intended to be permanent. While some may change domains now and again for one reason or another, it generally stays the same. If you have a keyword in your domain that you then want to change for a “better” keyword later, it means you need to change everything. Now imagine doing that every single time you want a new keyword…exactly.


  • The keywords in your content are far more important: Since keywords in your content are the crucial pieces, you’ll want to put that effort on SEO research and integration into your web content instead. This is tended to be flexible and organic, shifting as the trends do and refining to give you better results.


Save your energy for keywords where they’re most needed and most valuable: your content. Your domain is all about standing out from the competition, not ranking higher.