Effect of a Domain Name on SEO

What is the effect of a domain name on SEO?

Over at the High Rankings Forum, where I like to hang out when I have the time, this debate has burst forth (again!).   It began exactly two weeks ago, and Jill Whalen, the forum’s owner, rekindled the spark by choosing it as the thread of the month in her newsletter. 

On the one side, there are people who quite ardently and categorically believe that the domain name has no effect on rankings.  Zero.  Zilch.  No way.

On the other side, there are people who swear that a domain name can make all the difference.  All the way.

And there are of course, those (like me) who think the whole things is fairly non categorical and that domain names play an uncertain role.

Catch the debate here.

My suggestion for an experiment here, if anyone has more time than I to run a real-life test or two.


  1. Well, David. The Domain name DEFINITELY have something to do with SEO.

    Go figure, you won’t create a domain name that have a very long and hideous name, which you cannot even remember by yourself! As a result, a short and remembering domain name’s will be the first priority for most of the webmaster!

  2. In my opinion, the domain name does have an effect on ranking. I have had several sites rank for keywords in the domain but nowhere else on the site. I love High Rankings too, but like you don’t always have the time to get over there!

    Thanks M

  3. I will say for the comment, as I believe the domain name has some effect on ranking. If we use the title of th site as our domain name, definitely, it will have a value in search engine ranking.

  4. Like you, David, I’d say domain names play an uncertain role, but it is sure that is plays some role. One advantages of having keywords in your domain name is that people will use those words in the anchor of the link to your site.

  5. A keyword-rich domain helps, but everything else from page content to title and meta description tags need to reinforce the domain keyword. Every situation is different, but my own experience shows that keyword-rich domain names help more often than not.

    Great blog by the way. It’s refreshing to hear another clear voice in the industry.

  6. Great post. Domain name definitely help in search engine ranking. Its one of the main strategy for seo to use keywords in your domain name.

  7. I’ve seen SEO tests proving that a page can be indexed by Google by having a keyword in the url only so it must have some weight.

  8. I think that I am on the same page you are – it has a role, but it is not the sole determinate the ranking of the page or the site.

  9. I am also convinced that domain names do matter in regards to SEO. I have developed mini sites around a given keyword combination domain name and often I see that site ranking and generating good traffic from people searching for the keywords in one word. Even though I have not targeted the nonspaced keyword I rank well for it because it is the precise match to my domain name.

  10. Time has gone when domain names were given lot of importance, infact SEs have become more causious about ranking sites with keyword in domain.

  11. Connected by the existing Internet, other websites were created, around the world, adding international standards for domain names & the HTML language.

  12. From my experience domain names certainly play a big part of SEO. You also have to look at domain names that can make SEO a lot harder. We know a couple of companies that just picked nice random word to call their business (like potato) not realising that they would then have trouble ranking for their own brand name (due to all the potato sellers, cooking guides, blogs and fan sites for that new band called the angry potatos)