Blog- Search Engine Ranking Factors Part 1 – Domain

Search Engine Ranking Factors Part 1 – Domain

SEO Ajay has come up with quality insight of all the essential factors of Google to rank a website and in the following passage, we are about to discuss one of those important ranking factors. We are going to explain and elaborate the different aspects of domain factors that play significant role in upgrading the current ranking position of a website. Have you read an article on Google’s 200 ranking factors by Brian Dean?

Going through Brian’s ranking factors will let you know the different important factors. There is one popular, Moz search engine ranking factors, it is based on 2011 Google algorithmic changes. But, from a beginner’s point of view, I would like to have some more details in them. What I feel is that the factors need some elaborate discussion in order to offer more clarity to the beginners and to those who are technically not very sound. There is no denying to the fact that 200 factors cannot be discussed elaborately in such a small context. But that doesn’t diminish the importance so, here I’m about to discuss the very first ranking factor of Google and probably the most effective among all of them as well.

Domain Factors:

Before we start discussing the technicalities of a domain name and how those are impactful on the search engine ranking, let’s have an elementary introduction about what domain is. To put it simple, it is the human-readable address of a website on the internet. It is comprised of two other domains such as; root domain and sub domain. The former one is identified with their domain names and consists of extensions such as; .com, .org, .net etc. And the later one is a lower level component of the root domain. In a domain name, root domains are given the foremost priority and generally purchased from registrars. Whereas sub domain is only a part of a larger and top level domain and that can be created under any root domain.

The impact that a domain name can have on the ranking of a website is literally beyond imagination. So many other assisting factors are also included in this domain factors and those need elaborated discussion to possess a better understanding on them.

# Hurray! I’ve got a pre-aged domain:

This is a conventional belief of the common website owners that a pre-aged domain can work more effectively to develop the ranking of the website. Though, in reality, the age of the domain is not very important than of quality contents for your site. In his discussion, Brian has added one of the Google’s webmaster Videos of Mr. Matt Cutts in order to provide a clarification regarding how important is the domain age in determining the ranking of a website on the SERP. Things have been clarified in a simple way and Matt Cutts has also stated that

I wouldn’t obsess about trying to have an old domain the fact is it mostly the quality of your contents and the sort of links that you get has result of the quality of your content that determine how are you going to rank in the search engines

In addition to this, there are lots of ideas and patterns that are followed as effective ranking factors which have no significant relevance in really developing the ranking of your site. To put it simply, the age of your domain is one of the Google’s ranking factors but with less importance and effectiveness.

# Select a memorable domain name:

Among all the other effective concerns regarding the domain name, the recall-ability of the same is not given the deserved priority!! One should always try to pick a domain name which is short, easy to type and easy to remember. Using common words as the domain name has better marketing values.

# Keywords in the Domain name:

There lays contradictory point of views regarding the importance of the presence of keywords in the domain name. Following the Google’s ranking factors; you will find that it is important to place the targeted keyword in the domain name since the “link popularity” and branding of your site is very much associated with the domain name, you’ve chosen. But there is a flip side of the coin too.

If you assume that the presence of the targeted keyword in the domain name is important, you should just take a look at the domains like;,,, etc. none of them are keyword centric domain but all of them are positively ranked on the search engines. It simply refers that the names that creates brand and can be instantly recalled cannot be those keyword linked domain. The extract of the fact is that these domains with keywords have relevancy in offering better ranking but do not contain the same importance as it used to have.

You can go through this video to acquire better knowledge about the same:

# Domain starts with keywords:

In this point, Brian has dragged the context of the relevance of starting the domain name with the targeted keyword. While you will get to hear rumors like; no need to put the targeted keyword in the domain name by putting up the example of Twitter, Google, Yahoo etc. for that matter. As we have discussed in the previous point that the relevance of “having keywords in the domain” has taken the downtrend but that doesn’t mean that it has become an extinct!!

According to the Moz’s search engine ranking factors, the presence of the targeted keyword at the very beginning of the domain name has still got some importance and it is seen that the domain names with keywords right at the beginning get the edge over those domain names that contains the keyword in the middle or at the end of the domain. The benefit of keyword-rich domain is calculated two fold than the domains that are not having keywords (of course, there are exceptional cases). This is because, the domain name itself is a ranking factor that the search engines take into account when calculating the ranking order. More so, it has another advantage, the domain name is the text that will be used by the users as the anchor text for the purpose of linking. As the presence of keywords in the anchor text is a crucial ranking aspect, your domain name will have the advantage on ranking.

# How long the domain is registered for:

It is often asked in various webmaster forums that how important is the registration length of the domain to acquire the desired ranking on the SERP. Which is on other way can be compared with the domain age as well.

Well, a simple logic works behind that and. As we find that established sites consist of older domains, it naturally comes into the mind that old domains depict that the site is well established. In reality they have no correlation with each other. Observing the same, we can jump into the conclusion that….

The age of the website can really have some influence on the ranking factors rather than the age of the domain. This only plays a minor role (one of the factors signaling the ranking relevance) like many other factors. The only fact is that old domains may carry greater weight from the ranking point of view, due to its past records.

# Using hyphens in domain name:

You should always try to keep your domain name away from spammy activities. The point, I’m going to explain right here is less mentioned and given very little importance though it holds some. Your domain may contain two words and you may want to separate the words to offer better reading experience. If you are thinking of using hyphens then give it a second thought. It associates with spammy activities. This is why it is better use domains with single words or two.

# Keywords in sub Domain:

Moz’s expert panel has also approved the presence of the targeted keyword in the sub-domain as well. The fact is that domain and sub domain helps the indexing of your site. When the crawlers find that the keyword is present in both the domain and the sub-domain, it becomes easier for the search engines and for the prospective visitors as well to reach to the website quickly. In turn, the site achieves an improved ranking.

# History of the domain:

Brian has tried to put up the importance of the history of domain as the ranking factor. No denying, it definitely holds some amount of importance as the ranking factor but if you’re relying only on the WhoIs data for that, you need some clarifications on that.

The very first thing you need to be careful about is the WhoIs data and its availability. This is not generally available even if your site is registered. More so another factor is that WhoIs data varies

significantly depending upon the country code and TLD (Top Level Domain) and sometimes, it is available on the website as well.

So, when Google finds that a site is consists of volatile ownership, it asks to reset the site’s history so that the links that are pointing to the domain cannot have influential impact on the ranking.

# Exact Match Domain:

There was an issue with Exact match Domain. The problem was that low quality domains with EMD are ranking in the SERPs. But this update by the Google in 2012 caused dramatic downfall of those EMDs.

Google EMD Update notified in Sept, 2012

So it is very clear that Google (and other search engines for that matter) wants trusted sites to get ranked in its result pages. Attempting to manipulate that game will have the result. But, as Brian mentioned, EMD can still provide your domain the desired edge, only if that is a quality website or else, that is going to be vulnerable for your website.

# Public v/s Private WhoIs:

It has already been discussed above that WhoIs data is generally not available in spite of the registration of your site. There are two types of WhoIs information – Private and Public.

When you register a domain name, some information needs to be provided to the registrar such as; Administrative contact, Registrant contact, Technical contact, Billing contact. These details are known as WhoIs information and anyone can see that. This is where many owners do not feel comfortable with. And they provide false whois information. If you are concerned about the fact that your personal information is being posted on the website and is visible by others, you can simply purchase domain shield from the registrar.

# Penalized WhoIs owner:

You have already become accustomed with the whois information and where and why it is used. It is not unnatural that a person would own more than one site. The ranking of a website depends greatly on these whois information provided by the owner.

This would be a wise decision to keep your whois information public so that potential customers can get in touch with you. But there are countless spammers who are trying to influence the webmaster tools just for the sake of developing the position of their website on the SERP. If you are considering a long run, this won’t help you. If Google finds that the owner of the domain is a spammer, there is no surprise that Google would search other sites too, owned by the same person. On finding foul activities Google has the right to penalize the whois owner. Here is an attractive business opportunity for the entrepreneurs. This has no impressive impacts on developing the ranking of the site.

# Country TLD Extensions:

Well, Brian has mentioned this as the last point in the Domain Factors for achieving quality ranking on Google’s result pages. You must have noticed sites with TLD extensions such as; .cn, .in, .pt, .ca etc. this is to offer more simplified and convenient searching.

Google geo targets the search results based on the two levels, one is the smaller specific version that surround within the specific country and the other one is the international search. The TLD extensions showed results for the mentioned country only and thus a website can achieve positive ranking in its native country quite effectively. But considering the international platform, the ability of the site will get limited. While searching through for international results, such domains with TLD extensions will not appear.

So, if you are targeting to spread your branding to the multiple countries, you need to have a proper monitoring of the ranking of your site from several different places.

Hence, this is how the domain factors can impact the positioning of a website on the Google’s result pages. There are other factors as well and we’ll discuss them accordingly just for the sake of providing a better insight on the subject.