Do they matter?
Do top-level domain name keywords matter in search engine optimization?
In reality, they matter for SEO, branding, marketing, content, business, and the list goes on and on.
Your top-level domain, or TLD, is your real estate in search engine optimization. It is your primary domain name. ShawnGossman.com is our Top-Level Domain.
So, a TLD is what identifies your website from the start. You have to have some TLD or a subdomain/directory of a TLD to have a public website.
You want your top-level domain keywords to match what your website will be about.
The keywords used in your top-level domain matter regarding Google ranking factors and search engine optimization.
How do Top-Level Domain Keywords Impact SEO?
The short answer is that your domain name is the subject or brand you’re ultimately trying to rank the best for on Google search.
The long answer…
In the world of SEO, we rank our websites based on competitive keywords for which we create content. In future articles, I will thoroughly break down the keyword research system you will use to live by for content creation.
But make a long story a little shorter; keyword ranking is how people will find the exact type of content that you are serving to your niche or industry.
You’ll title your pages, articles, blog post, and even social media content using keywords that target the type of people you want to expose your content to.
Your top-level domain is your primary website address. As I said, ShawnGossman.com is the top-level domain name for this blog. And your TLD is ultimately what you want people to find during general searches directly relating to your niche.
I want people to find this blog if they’re looking for as many search engine optimization tips as possible. My top-level domain keywords are “Daily SEO Tips,” identifying that I guide SEO daily. My keywords describe my blog precisely as it is.
If your TLD keywords do not relate to your website’s content, how can you rank it in the end? For example, I have the domain name “SouthernIllinoisOutdoors.com.” I could never rank “Southern Illinois Outdoors” for my search engine optimization blog. Would you click a website with that address for SEO? Chances are, you wouldn’t.
It is essential to try to be as exact as possible when deciding on your top-level domain keywords. I recommend finding a domain name and reestablishing TLD keywords if the domain name is unavailable.
That will give you the best result at the end of the day.
How do Top-Level Domain Keywords Impact Marketing?
Like I said above, are you going to click on a website that is southernillinoisoutdoors.com, for SEO tips? If you did, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Your domain name matters for marketing!
It matters for a wide variety of reasons.
Number 1 is that the keywords in the domain name should match what the website is about. That is what people are looking for concerning your topic. Because of the internet’s spam and security problems, many people are looking at top-level domain keywords.
If I saw a domain name that didn’t match what the search results said it was about, I’d be worried about a scam or virus, and I wouldn’t click on it.
Your domain name also impacts your branding. This is why it is vital to decide on what the domain name should be.
Take this blog, for example!
Is it easy to remember “Shawn Gossman” right? So, all you have to do is add a .com to the end, which will get you to this blog.
But if my domain name was “Shawn-Gossman.com” with the hyphens as part of the domain name, that could be difficult to remember, and I could lose traffic in the process. Using hyphens in domain names or numbers, for that matter, isn’t easy to remember unless it is super branded that way.
If you had a website called “1800BuyIt.com”, you could brand the use of the actual numbers mixed in with words and still get a good amount of traffic. But if I had the domain name “ShawnGossman2022.com”, it wouldn’t be straightforward to remember, and branding would be much more complicated.
My general rule of top-level domain keywords is to keep them as short as possible, don’t misspell words, target exact keywords (don’t use “and” or “the” unless it is a part of the brand), and no numbers of hyphens if at all possible.
Sometimes this might even require you to devise a new target keyword. I initially wanted to name this blog “Shawn.com,” but that was taken. So, I researched and decided on “Shawn Gossman” as a great alternative.
When Can You Use Top-Level Domain Keywords for other Niches?
In most cases, you shouldn’t.
However, in some cases, you can.
I have done it myself, and my example is an excellent example of how you can do it.
I have the domain name “ShawnGossman.com,” which is my first and last name.
It currently (and I plan to keep it as is) hosts a blog where I create content for digital marketing, content creation, and social media branding. I’ve used the domain name for different projects over the years before deciding to do what I am doing now.
It was a personal blog before a digital marketing blog.
It was an emergency management publication blog before that because I have a Master of Science in Emergency Management and used to write about the industry.
It has also been a professional employment resume a few different times.
Because it’s my actual name, I can essentially brand it to anything I want as long as I am doing the thing and writing about the something that I am branding it to be about.
So, in that case – it works to use the domain name for different brands or topics if I wish to pivot away from the initial topic of the website.
But other more specific and direct domain names wouldn’t work for this circumstance.
And Google will notice, too!
It can impact your search engine ranking.
In the end, you should make sure your top-level domain keywords match what your website is about.
And that’s the end of this SEO lesson. Use the essential tips above when choosing the domain name you want for your business or brand. It will help you further down the road of your website’s existence. Thank you for reading this article, and follow me on Twitter for exclusive SEO content.
About the Author
Shawn Gossman has created content, blogged, ran online communities, and shared a passion for digital marketing for over twenty years. Shawn believes the best way to help content creators, businesses, brands, and marketers is to give away more than you sell. The same advice is recommended for the readers that follow this blog. Shawn also offers a variety of services for extra help in the area of content creation, blogging, forums, and digital marketing. Learn more about Shawn Gossman by clicking here.