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Thursday, April 26, 2012

What are Domains? by Smoz


Domain names are the human readable Internet addresses of websites. Root domains, which are identified by their domain names, have extensions such as .com, .org, .net, etc. (Ex. Subdomains are a lower level component a root domain and precede the domain name. (Ex.

Top Tips

  • Word Separators
    Avoid hyphens. Hyphens detract from credibility and can act as a spam indicator.
  • Top-level Domain (TLD)
    Top level domains (like .com) are the extensions associated with domain names. For best ranking results, avoid uncommon top-level domains (TLDs). Like hyphens, TLDs such as .info, .cc, .ws, and .name are spam indicators.
  • Length
    Avoid domain names longer than 15 characters. Short domain names are easier to remember, easier to share and have less of a chance of resulting in typos.

What are Domains?

Root Domains

A root domain is the top level hierarchy of a domain. Root domains are purchased from registrars. The following are examples of root domains:
  • *
  • *
  • *


A subdomain is a "third level" domain name that is part of a larger, top level domain. For example, "" and "" are both subdomains of the "" root domain. Subdomains are free to create under any root domain that a webmaster controls.
The two most common subdomain choices are:
  • (www is the subdomain)
  • (has no subdomain)
These are also the subdomains that commonly result in canonicalization errors.

SEO Best Practice

To maximize search engine referred traffic, it is important to keep each of the following elements in mind:
1. Domain Name Memorability
There are a number of considerations when selecting a domain name. Among them are making the name short, easy to remember, and easy to type. It is also important that the name be easy to type into a browser. This is especially true for word of mouth advertising which forces people to type in domain names into their browser that they might not be familiar with.
2. Keyword Rich Domains
Ideally, webmasters should strike a balance between finding a catchy, unique, brand friendly domain name with having a domain that contains keywords that they are trying to target. The benefit of a keyword rich domain is two-fold. First, the domain name itself is a key ranking factor that the engines consider when calculating ranking order. Second, having relevant keywords in a domain name is beneficial because the domain name is the text that other Internet users will use as anchor text when linking. Since keywords in anchor text are an important ranking factor, having these keywords in a domain name has a significantly positive impact on ranking.
Domain Best Practices
 3. Hyphens
For readability sake, a domain name that is longer than 3 words should be separated with hyphens. That said, use of hyphens also correlate with spamminess so domain names with more than 3 words should be avoided.
4. Non .com Top-Level-Domain (TLDs)
When a webmaster registers a domain name, they will be given the option to buy additional TLDs. In order to maximize the direct traffic to a domain, it is advised that webmasters should only buy a domain if the .com version is available. Additionally, it is not recommend that SEO conscious webmasters purchase low quality TLDs such as .biz, .info, .ws, .name, etc. as a means of increasing traffic.
5. Subdomains or Sub-folders
Since search engines keep different metrics for domains than they do subdomains, it is recommended that webmasters place link worthy content like blogs in subfolders rather than subdomains. (i.e. rather than The notable exception to this is language specific websites. (i.e. for english)
6. Buying & Redirecting Domains
Buying web pages for their links and redirecting them to another site has long been a practice employed by SEOs. Though historically this has been effective, industry leaders (such as Danny Sullivan) post on buying domains suggest that Google largely devalues links from sites once they are expired or when ownership changes.
7. Domain Registration Length
The notion that domain registration length matters as a SEO factor is a myth. When asked about domain registration length Google's Matt Cutts said "To the best of my knowledge, no search engine has ever confirmed that they use length-of-registration as a factor in scoring. If a company is asserting that as a fact, that would be troubling. The primary reason to renew a domain would be if it’s your main domain, you plan to keep it for a while, or you’d prefer the convenience of renewing so that you don’t need to stress about your domain expiring."
8. Moving Domains
If a webmaster needs to move one domain to another, there are several critical factors to consider. It's also important to set up the redirects on a page-to-page basis such that sub-folders and deep content pages are redirected to corresponding sub-folders and deep content pages on the new domain. SEOs should avoid redirecting all pages from one domain to the homepage of another domain. For more information, see Danny Dover's step-by-step guide to How to Properly Move Domains.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Appreciate your information. It is lucid and quite helpful to many of us in understanding domains and for the appropriate manner of registration process even better. I always hope choice of short names for domain would be sound and catchy as well for ease of remember that could appeal to potential beneficiaries (visitors) and also believe that the term we are choosing is supposed to be relevant to what the site is about. Though it is quite hard to grab those relevant terms for our domains, it is typically expected in every domain registration process. And, the hunt for effective domain name with TLD extensions keep persisting, though they are competitive. However, with the service of domain registrar, this hardship has lessened significantly. Because, merely the traditional method is no longer helpful in snatching the desired names these days. There are certain effective approach for obtaining the right domain name available with domain registrars. With the help of those, we hopefully can get what we want. I also chose that track. I just contacted
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