Does your domain name act as a ranking factor on Google? Or is it just a SEO nerd speculation! Well, after months of research and monitoring with case studies, we found different attributes that point to something. So how does your domain affect your site's Google ranking. The factors below with show you how your domain affects your ranking on Google:
1. Domain Age: In this video, Matt Cutts states that:
“The difference between a domain that’s six months old versus one year old is really not that big at all.”.
In short, as Matt Cutts of Google says from the video, Google does use domain age…but it’s that not so very important.
Also for the people that use Google AdSense, you realize that before your website gets approved for the program one of the requirement to be approved is that your site must be at least six months old.
2. Keywords in Domain Name: There are four key factors in relation to keywords, in domain names. Here is what you need to check out;
a) Keywords Appear in Domain (TLD): This still acts as a relevancy signal though it doesn’t give that much SEO boost like it used to. I bet this will still be used many years to come, to gauge the niche relevancy of a website. Even if you doubt it now, Google and other top search engines still bold out keywords that appear in a Domain Name.
Keywords in the Sub-domain name too may give a boost in Google ranking. For example, Moz’s panel agreed to the fact that keywords appearing in sub-domains can boost search engine ranking.
b) Keyword as First Word in your Domain: Just as the statement suggests, a domain that has its target keyword at the fore has an edge over that which either has the keyword in the middle, end, or does not contain it at all.
c) Exact Match Domain (EMD): EMDs still have an edge in Google and other search engines ranking, BUT ONLY IF the website is of quality. So according to Matt Cutts of Google, if the EDM is deemed as a low-quality website, then such sites are vulnerable to the EMD update by Google.
3. WhoIs Data:
a)Public vs. Private WhoIs: Private WhoIs information may be a sign of “something to hide”. Matt Cutts is quoted as stating at Pubcon 2006:
“…When I checked the whois on them, they all had “whois privacy protection service” on them. That’s relatively unusual. …Having whois privacy turned on isn’t automatically bad, but once you get several of these factors all together, you’re often talking about a very different type of webmaster than the fellow who just has a single site or so.”
b)Domain History: A site with volatile ownership (via whois) or several drops may tell Google to “reset” the site’s history, negating links pointing to the domain.
c)Penalized WhoIs Owner: If Google identifies a particular person as a spammer it makes sense that they would scrutinize other sites owned by that person.
4. Domain Registration Period: With regards to this, one Google patent states that;
“Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain”.
So this may affect your Google ranking, true!
5. Domain Country TLD Extension: Having a Country Code Top Level Domain like .cn, .us, .ca, .in, … helps your site rank for that particular country…but limits the site’s ability to rank globally. It's that simple and straight forward.