SEO and domains – Some takeaways from the webinar
A few weeks ago, we held a webinar together with the search engine expert Michael Wahlgren, founder of Pineberry, and Domain name Expert Marcus Glaad. The theme was "SEO and domains - How domain names can affect your visibility on Google" and it was really fun to see so much engagement and interest in this subject.
Below we have gathered some of the questions that were addressed and a summary of the answers we received from Michael and Marcus. More detailed answers and more questions can be found in the recorded version of our webinar (in Swedish), which you will find here!
What ranks in the search engines? The domain, the URL, the website ..?
It is the URL that ranks in search engines, i.e. the web page address, that inherits trust from the domain itself. Thus, the domain’s history and the search engine’s assessment of the domain name play a role in what placement you get in the search results.
What should you keep in mind when choosing a domain for your company and/or brand?
Think about the target group you want to reach. Which extensions are primarily used by them? Many markets prefer their domestic top-level domain, although .com is still the most frequently used. Remember that domain names should protect the brand. Also, keep in mind that it benefits from passing the radio test, i.e. it must be “easy to remember, pronounce and easy to spell”. You do not want customers having trouble spelling the name…
What about keyword domains?
Having keywords in the domain name can give a small advantage, but the advantage is not as great nowadays as it used to be. It only benefits from the exact wording. That is, tennisballs.se gives little advantage for tennis balls in particular, but not e.g. tennis rackets.
What applies to Å, Ä, Ö in the domain name?
Domain names with å, ä, ö can give a minimal advantage in Sweden. But, it is desirable to have domain names with both å, ä, ö and a, o to protect your company against various digital intrusions.
Digits in domains?
Based on the “radio test”, digits in the domain name are not always recommended, but there may be value in protecting names with digits from a brand strategic point of view. That is, to protect your brand from attempted fraud through domains similar to your name. We can take dotkeeper.com as an example. We have registered d0tkeeper.com to protect ourselves against third parties using our name for fraudulent purposes.
Choice of Top-level domain
It matters! Google likes the local domains. In Sweden, .se is preferable, but .com can also work. Think about how many times you yourself see a website with e.g. .dk address in the Swedish Google search result? Another aspect that is important to take into account, is the target group, which ones do you want to reach out to? In several countries, the local extension is preferable. Again, depending on the business and brand strategy, it may be worth protecting domains under several different top-level domains, at least for the countries in which you operate or have plans to expand to in the future.
Multiple local domains or a strong main domain, if you operate internationally?
The advantage of a strategy where you use a main domain on all markets is to build a strong domain. Where the goal is that, for example, yourbrand.com should drive more traffic and create trust among users.
But there are also advantages to a strategy where you use standalone websites on different local domains. One is that Google likes local domains, which affects your ranking. Another reason is risk diversification. Namely, you ensure that rankings and search results in other markets are not affected if a country domain, let’s say .no has been “blacklisted” by search engines.
If you are sitting on domains that are not used, can it give SEO advantage to redirect these to your main domain?
To just link a domain without relevant content or history does not provide any SEO benefits, there must be content on the domain that links. On the other hand, there is the aspect of a smooth customer journey and trademark protection, which must not be missed when talking about redirecting domains. As a customer, you expect to end up right if you e.g. type in “yourbrand.se”.
How do you evaluate your domain ownership?
The starting point should be that all domains should contribute with value, i.e. give more than they cost. The domain portfolio must protect your brand, drive traffic and create accessibility.
Via the tool Ahrefs, you can see domain data and information about the linking, as well as make an overall evaluation of its quality.