A couple of years ago, websites with an Exact Match Domain (EMD) — that is, websites that used search terms as their domain name — were one of the primary strategies for ranking in search engines. For instance, if you want to search for “cheap shirt suppliers,” there will probably be a website that uses cheapshirtsuppliers.com as its domain name — that is what an EDM is.

Suddenly, Google realised that most of the websites that use EMD are not exactly providing visitors with good content. Even the design looked like it was done using basic HTML codes and Notepad. When Google realised this, they updated their algorithm (the first of many) and decided to rank websites based on the quality of content and design, not just the keywords.

Which is why you would see a lot of SEO articles telling you to make sure your contents are not just keyword optimised, but also relevant and adds value to industry discussion. On top of that, websites should have a fair keyword density and an adaptive and intuitive design. So it is beginning to look like domain names does not affect search engine ranking like they used to.

However, that’s not exactly the case. Here, you will talk about how your domain name can still influence your ranking and support your online marketing efforts.

The importance of a unique domain name
Branding — that is the biggest influence domain name has on your ranking. It is more than just being able to validate your preferred name through a domain check or indeed being able to come up with a unique name. It is about establishing brand credibility and identity, an increase in brand signal, and therefore getting high click-through rates. Using keywords in your domain may just hinder that process.

However, without abusing the use of keywords, you have to make sure that your brandable domain can is still connected to your industry. Here is how you can do it.

Be on the lookout for phrases used in your niche group
Ideally, you should be able to use your business name as your domain. But let us assume for a moment that the name itself is hard to remember. You may use your tagline as your domain name but makes sure the tagline is catchy so that it is distinctively memorable. Think of the famous taglines that you hear today and use that as a starting to guide to create yours. Or you may also utilise phrases that your niche group always uses and start building a name around it.

Keep the domain name short and use a .com extension
To help with retention, make sure that the domain name is short. At the most, you can use up to 3 words, not another word more. Also, consider using a .com extension first before buying other extensions like .net, .org, or location-based extensions like .co.uk, or .au.

The key to getting return visitors to your pages is consistency in branding. This includes the language that you use, the voice, and the content that you are publishing. But if your domain name is out of brand, even if it is just a small part of your web page, it will cause a stir. Always take your time in creating a brandable domain that can strengthen your online presence and identity.