There are a lot of variables that affect your SERPs. Domain names are one of the factors that people don’t place much emphasis on. However, you will want to choose a great domain name that supports your SEO. Here are some things to consider.
Branded domains are likely to play a key role in boosting your SEO rankings in the future. Google Penguin has tried to encourage marketers to focus on branded marketing rather than keywords, so brands may want to make sure that they choose their own company name for domains before future Penguin updates are released.
Richard Baxter of Built Visible has conducted research that shows that domain age can have a profound impact on SEO rankings. If you can find an older domain with a good history, then you should consider purchasing it. It may have a good chance of outranking other websites in your industry.
You should also look at buying a domain that has your target keywords included in it. Many experts have warned that keyword rich domains would actually hurt SEO after the most recent Penguin updates. However, that doesn’t appear to have happened. Dylan Thomas of Search Engine Journal has cited considerable research showing that domains with keywords included still outperform other domains when all other factors are taken into consideration.
The exact reasons that keyword rich domains still work aren’t entirely clear. It could be partially due to the fact that the Google algorithm still directly factors domain keywords into its SERPs. Another possibility is that Google removed this provision, but still bolds keywords that are used in the search. Bolded keywords tend to receive higher click-through rates, which appears to be a factor in the SERPs. Regardless of the reason, it is clear that the keyword rich domains are still outranking others when all other factors are equal.
However, there may be a time when Google improves its algorithm to penalize brands that use domains with excessive keywords. You will need to decide whether to take that risk when registering a domain name.
Are you planning on purchasing an existing domain? Then you will need to find out how many links are placed to it. While Google may discredit some of the existing links, they should still boost your pagerank, thereby helping your SEO value. It may even be worth paying a premium for a domain that has a rich link profile.
Black Hat History
Has the domain you are looking to purchase been used for black hat SEO purposes in the past? Has it been banned for violating the domain registrars terms of service or breaking any laws? If this is the case, then you should definitely steer away from it. The domain is probably compromised and won’t rank well. Don’t even consider registering it even if the keywords are exactly what you are looking for or the site has plenty of backlinks.