One of the myths about domains is that your domain should be part of your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) by using a keyword rich name helps to rank well in Google. It is 100% a myth. Google is not interested in the domain that your website resides on and is only interested in the content of the website in order to determine how to rank your website and for which words / phrases your website should appear in search results.
You can’t trick Google!
Tricking Google to rank a website by using keywords in domain names, page titles, excessive use of words and phrases may have worked many years ago but Google is much smarter now and, as many now correctly say; Content is king!
So what is the best domain for your website?
Simple answer: The best domain is the shortest domain that genuinely represents your business name without any confusion to users.
.com .uk .co.uk .info (etc)?
Irrelevant. As long as the domain represents your business and as long as users are not likely to type in the wrong extension and end up on the wrong website, what extension you use is completely irrelevant. Most people who visit your website will do so after finding a link to your website from a search engine, social media post or advert so the main thing they notice is the actual domain name regardless of the bits after the dot.
That said, I’d recommend if you’re going to use a .uk you should buy the .co.uk too so that someone else doesn’t buy it. Buy all the top level versions of your business name and redirect them to the domain you choose to put your website on. It’s not expensive to do so and it protects your business name.
What is relevant and important?
Simple answer: Content, Security, Usability and Performance (load speed).
As I mentioned earlier, ‘content is king’. Content is what Google uses to determine when people find your website in search results and it’s the content that keeps people on your website and leads them to take action like buying your products or services.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a must. Very few will argue that point because nobody likes to visit a website and get a browser warning that the website is not secure. Visitors who see that will instantly reject the website and return to the search results.
Most modern popular web browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, etc) will not load a website that does not start with https (rather than the non-secure http) without warning the user. The user can bypass the warning but it’s unlikely they will.
Why have SSL (https)?
It shows you care about privacy and it demonstrates professionalism.
That little padlock in the address bar, combined with https (rather than http) at the start of the address, tells the visitor that you take the privacy of their activities on your website (and the privacy of their data when they interact with your business) seriously. Nobody wants to (nor should be expected to) hand over personal details on an insecure website.
It is unlikely anyone would do business on a website with the word INSECURE shown to them at the top of their browser.
Everyone is cautious online because each and every one of us has heard about scams, stolen data, hacked websites and harvested credit card details. Encryption gives people a big chunk of peace of mind when they’re shopping on a website.
Since 2014 Google has given preference to website with secure websites and there is a strong correlation between HTTPS and higher search engine rankings.
Usability (user friendly).
The final thing that matters above so many other aspects of your website is how easy it is for visitors to find the information they want and to efficiently carry out any actions (like buying from you) without jumping through hoops to do so.
So, you see, the domain is a teeny tiny part of the equation.
- Choose a domain that represents your business without tricking anyone by using a domain that pretends the website is something that it isn’t
- Produce great shareable content (put the user first, not the search engines)
- Optimise your website for peak performance (load times)
- Make all user interactions user-friendly (easy) and
- Host it all securely.
Final thought: Does any website visitor stop and study a domain as long as the domain represents the business website they are viewing? Does anyone stop and think “oh, I wonder why the business chose that domain instead of another one?” or “why did they use a .uk instead of a .com or .co.uk?” No.