A lot of people will probably tell you that you need to think a lot about SEO when choosing your domain name. Ideally, they’ll say that you need to choose a domain name that includes your target keyword in it.
There’s some truth to this advice, but if you take it too seriously you could end up with a domain something like this: bestsocialanxietytherapistinseattle.net
Unfortunately, such a domain name probably doesn’t present you in the most professional light, even if you are the best social anxiety therapist in Seattle.
But as I said, there’s some truth in this advice above. Within Google’s ranking algorithm, it’s believed that you’ll win some SEO points by having a domain name that includes your target keyword. So based on this theory, the domain name above would actually help you rank in the search results when people search for “best social anxiety therapist in Seattle”.
So, if you truly do have a specialty, such as social anxiety that you want to focus on, it’s not a bad idea to include it in your domain name. You just want to be a little bit more tactful than the example given above. Something like socialanxietyseattle.com, or seattleautism.com might be more appropriate (of course, both of these are already owned).
Don’t Overthink the Importance of Your Domain Name for SEO
Here’s the caveat. You really shouldn’t worry that much about including your keyword in your domain name. It’s good to have, but don’t force it. I’ll explain why.
Let’s go back to the previous example and pretend you want to rank for “best social anxiety therapist” in the Seattle area. In a large metropolitan area like Seattle, there are usually hundreds of therapists who treat social anxiety. In order to rank in the search engines for this phrase, you’re going to need a lot more than a domain name with the keyword phrase in it.
The domain name and URL of a website or webpage is only one factor that Google and other search engines look at. And, it’s far from being the most important. Another factor that Google looks at is the actual content on the website. Having a domain name like “bestsocialanxietytherapistinseattle.com” probably won’t be a silver bullet, especially in a competitive city. Instead you’ll need to actually develop some content and different pages on your site that are relevant to social anxiety. Basically, you need to give indications that you’re an actual expert on Social Anxiety. One way to do that is to write helpful content about social anxiety and make it available for people on your website.
There’s also been reason to believe that Google has over the years decreased the importance of keyword rich domain names. Why did they diminish the importance? Well let’s think about this.
Let’s say you specialize in marriage counseling. Accordingly, you’ve built up a nice website with content or blog posts about various different marriage issues that you discuss with your patients. You’ve taken the time to create content that’s very helpful to people who visit your site, and it’s very informational. Basically, people are getting value from your site.
Meanwhile, another therapist has a site with no content. Just a few simple pages, with a Bio, and services page. But, they have the URL “bestmarriagecounselorever.com”. Should that person stand any chance to rank higher than you in search? Who actually has more indicators of expertise? The first site right?
Rule of Thumb on SEO & Your Domain Name
Here’s the thing with domain names. In a low competition market, having your target keyword phrase like “social anxiety” in your domain name could help you rank for that phrase. However, in most markets this domain name alone won’t do the trick.
Whether or not you have a keyword phrase in your domain name, you’ll still need to develop content and put in your time to rank for valuable keyword phrases. Because the strategy is much the same for either route, I recommend choosing a domain name that’s in alignment with your business, and represents you professionally. If you have to settle for something other than a .com, or are reaching for bizarre domain names like “bestsocialanxietycouseloreverinportland.com” you need to stop right now and reconsider. A simple domain name like “joeschmoecounseling” will serve you much better in the long run, and require much of the same SEO work in order to rank.