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An SEO Audit Must Consider These Eleven Domain Factors

SEO Audit

Written by Jeremy Earle, JD

June 22, 2022

Your website’s domain name might have an indirect effect on your SEO success. Find out the most important domain-related variables and how to properly assess them.

You should choose a domain name that will serve as your online persona for SEO purposes.

It’s a lot like picking a business name: you have to give it a lot of thinking.

It’s important to make sure that your domain name is relevant to your company and relevant to your SEO goals.

In addition, you should make it simple to locate and advertise using internet marketing.

A directory with a character restriction on domain names is one you don’t want to find yourself in.

There are other factors to consider as well.

  • You have the option of targeting wide, targeted, or premium keywords with this domain name.
  • Use this Domain for a local search engine optimization project?
  • Is this Domain intended to be used for a commercial endeavour?
  • Alternatively, maybe you want to host a blog on this Domain?

You may be utilizing the Domain to determine whether or not microsites are something you want to produce, and you want to set up the name to reflect that.

In any case, it is critical to design your Domain in a manner that reflects the nature of your business. That’s when contemplation and thinking come into play.

1. How to Select a Domain Name for SEO

To Make Typing Easier

Domain names should be simple to write and read in print.

A technical domain like daddysfunwebsitetechnicalshopinaspen.com is too lengthy and complicated for a name.

In the end, it won’t do anybody any good, and it will just make things more difficult for your customers.

This takes us to our next topic.

Maintain a Short Domain Name

Ideally, your domain name should be simple to remember, brief, and easy to use across various media.

Make sure your domain name isn’t as long as this one. Don’t use slang terms, either!

To locate you, they need to know what your domain name is and how to get there.

Don’t overcomplicate things for your customers!

Avoid the use of numbers and hyphens in your content.

The use of numbers and hyphens in domain names has been linked to spammy websites. Numbers are cited as spammy statistics in Moz Pro’s domain analysis.

Spammy domains do all they can to distinguish themselves from the main firm site domains, such as adding digits and hyphens.

Hyphens have long been used in SEO to segregate keywords inside a domain name.

While hyphens were acceptable 5 to 10 years ago, they are no longer acceptable in domain names.

Don’t do that unless you’re constructing a low-quality site that has the potential to be linked to spam.

Create a Domain Name That’s Easy to Remember

Make sure your domain name is easy to remember. These aspects contribute to making a domain stick in your mind after typing it in.

Don’t go over the top, but come up with a memorable domain name that looks good, feels good to write, and is easy to remember.

SEO and web marketing come into play at this point.

With Majestic, Ahrefs, and SEMrush, do your homework.

When you acquire a domain, you don’t know whether it was previously used for shady link building, other spammy SEO practises, or as part of a secret blog network.

You never know.

For this reason alone, using Majestic, Ahrefs, and SEMrush to do a thorough research is essential.

If you run your site via SEMrush and discover that it has practically no traffic, no links, or no PPC, you’re probably safe to buy the Domain.

Adding your Domain to Majestic and Ahrefs is also a good idea. Your domain name purchase is safe if it does not tie in any of these programmes.

Plug it into archive.org just to be sure you don’t run into any big complications.

If you’d like, you may see the Domain’s history going back 10 years or more in real-time. You’ll be able to see for yourself how clean your Domain is by doing this.

Do a Google search for your domain name to ensure you don’t have any big problems.

Doing your due diligence in this way has already been stated by Google, and this still holds today:

He said, google the name of the Domain you’re interested in purchasing.

You should be wary if you don’t find anything after searching for “site:” on Google. According to him, this is a terrible indicator if there are no results at all for that name, even if the Domain has material on it. There’s nothing to worry about if the Domain is parked since we aim to remove part domains from the results anyhow.

Bing also allows you to perform a site: search on the domain name to better understand. This is a huge red flag if a site appears on Bing but not Google. However, you can also search Bing and check what results are returned when you include spammy terms.

“All you have to do is type in the domain name or the domain name without the.com or whatever the extension is at the end of it. For this reason, you may frequently learn a little something about the Domain’s reputation.”

Is it possible that individuals were spamming without a domain name? ‘This man was sending me an unsolicited email and making spam comments on my site,’ were they referring to it? He added an excellent approach to get an idea of what’s going on at a location or what it was like in the past. ”

To avoid purchasing a domain and finding out six months later that you have a penalty from the previous owner, perform your research in this way.

You don’t want to find yourself in a scenario like that.

Undertake this due diligence before launching any large website design or SEO strategy.

2. How Can You Tell If Your Domain Is Bad?

Due diligence may not reveal that your Domain is problematic even if you acquire it.

What are some of the characteristics of a terrible domain that you can identify?

You don’t want a lot of links referring to a terrible sight. Check the links in your Domain’s history if it has one.

All of them may be spammy links. Alternatively, they might be useful as a starting point for further research.

As detailed in this section, a link profile audit is the only way to know for sure.

If you use the site: search operator to complete your homework, you’ll get no results for a poor website in Google’s index.

Particularly if the Domain has a backstory and is linked to other sites, this is true.

For example, SEMrush should have previously provided organic search traffic history, but not anymore.

You may want to avoid purchasing the Domain if you can’t locate any results in Google’s search results, as well.

Otherwise, it is assumed that it will not be included in Google’s index if it is a fully blank slate.

To begin an SEO strategy from scratch, you’ll want to get it as soon as possible.

This is why it is important to do thorough research before purchasing a domain name.

SEO tactics may be used to the Domain in this manner to get a sense of how the Domain will perform.

Majestic has links to the Domain.

If your Trust Flow to Citation Flow ratio is suspiciously high (one is much higher than the other), this might indicate that many of your connections originate from a small number of sites. Adding insult to injury, this is also a bad idea.

Check the link profile’s spammy character to evaluate whether you have high-quality backlinks against low-quality ones.

In Ahrefs, there are links to the Domain.

Make sure the links in your profile are of high quality.

For an accurate view of Domain’s backlink profile, it is important to download all of the data from Majestic and Ahrefs at once.

Then, you’ll be able to evaluate each of these connections independently.

3. Age of the Domain

Google’s John Mueller has indicated that domain age does not influence search engine results. When asked on Twitter whether domain age is important, he responded with an emphatic “no.”

Although they say they don’t, this shows that Google utilizes it in some capacity, at the very least.

You may use this inexpensive and easy approach to find out the age of any domain you’re interested in. You may even use a WHOIS bulk checker if you’re feeling very daring.

When and How to Do This

  • Visit godaddy.com/whois to learn more.
  • Enter the domain name.
  • Check the Domain’s age.

A spreadsheet listing the domains you’re looking at for your marketing campaign might benefit.

Bulk Whois Lookup is a useful tool for bulk WHOIS checkers to extract Domain WHOIS and site analytics data.

4. Use of the Keyword as a Domain Name Extension

Have you ever noticed how Google used to highlight domain names that included certain keywords boldly?

The presence of the term in the Domain is not confirmation that it is utilized in ranking, but it makes it logical that it would be a relevant indicator.

Because this is no longer a problem, you don’t have to be concerned about it too much.

Remember this when you buy a domain name. More than anything else, use it as a signal of relevance.

5. The Domain Name should have the keyword as the first word.

Moz’s 2019 Ultimate Guide to SEO discusses how to utilize keywords in a domain and what to look for in a domain’s keyword utilization (link below).

Even though it doesn’t seem to be a major ranking element anymore, it’s worth double-checking before launching a new site.

What to Look For

Use your eyes only. To determine whether the Domain has a keyword as the first word or not, just look at the URL.

It’s unlikely to harm you.

6. The length of a domain name registration

Domain registration durations have been outlined in a patent by Google.

Doorway unlawful domains seldom last more than a year. However, valuable (legitimate) names are sometimes purchased many years in advance.” A domain’s expiration date might thus be used as an indicator of its authenticity,” according to this article.

What to Look For

A simple review of your industry’s competitiveness will help you adapt your SEO approach even though there isn’t evidence that domain registration duration is employed as a ranking factor.

Use GoDaddy’s WHOIS to see how long a domain registration has been in effect.

7. Use of a keyword in the Domain’s subdomain

Using keywords in your subdomains is still recommended by Moz’s Ultimate SEO Guide. In their words:

When appropriate, use broad keywords.”

To maintain your domain name memorable, distinctive, and consistent with your company’s identity, consider including a keyword in your domain name. However, domain names that may be described as “keyword-rich” or “keyword-targeted” should be avoided (such as best-pancake-pans-for-pancakes.com or senior-eldercare-retirement-home-finder.com). In the past, keyword-dense domain names had a significant impact on search engine rankings, but their association with low-quality content implies that searchers (and search engines) may now have a negative bias against them.

Search engines may penalize your site if you include a term in your domain name, so tread cautiously. More recently, Google has deprioritized websites with keyword-rich domain names that aren’t generally of good quality in its search results. The Exact Match Domain Playbook: A Guide and Best Practices for EMDs” is a good source of information on this subject.

The keyword should be checked in the subdomain name, though, to strengthen your Domain’s topicality.

8. History of the Domain

If you acquire the domain name of an unstable website, your SEO efforts may be adversely affected.

Investigate the link profile, prior owners, and previous activity before acquiring a new domain.

To complete this audit, we’ll need a variety of tools:

  • com
  • com
  • And several tools for verifying links (like Ahrefs, Majestic, and SEMrush).

When and How to Do This

  • Who is information may be checked using Whibse.com.
  • In addition to domain ownership history, HosterStats.com allows you to look up domain hosting history, DNS history, and more. You may use this information to get a sense of the Domain’s past performance before purchasing.
  • It’s possible to verify the Domain’s link profile using Ahrefs, Majestic, and SEMrush to ensure it isn’t spammy. Nothing is worse than purchasing a domain and afterwards discovering that you need to undertake extra link cleansing because of this.

Then there’s the issue of domain authority, which has emerged in recent years. However, this isn’t at all what you’d expect.

Domain authority is an essential concept to understand before deciding to acquire one.

9. The domain name must have an exact match.

It used to be a strong ranking determinant to have a domain name that included the precise keyword you wanted to target. However, an EMD update was published in September 2012.

The goal of this algorithm change was to make sure that low-quality sites wouldn’t benefit from better ranks simply because their domain names match their core keyword targets.

This is expected to favour sites with exact match domains that are also better quality.

When and How to Do This

Take a look at the URL. What do you need to do before this?

  • A perfect fit, then?
  • Is the quality of the rest of the site good enough to compensate for the Domain’s exact match nature?

If this is the case, you may probably ignore the Domain. Is it time to consider a domain name change?

10. A Comparison of Public vs. Private WHOIS Information

In an interview with John Mueller of Google, he indicated that private registration would not harm your search results.

When and How to Do This

Using a WHOIS tool like https://www.godaddy.com/ whois is a good place to start. Verify whether or not the WHOIS information is available to the general public.

So it may be a nice check to apply later on to detect spammy links in a poor link profile and determine spammy blog networks.

However, in this case, registering your Domain with public vs. private WHOIS is only a matter of personal taste and should have no impact on your search engine results.

11. A WHOIS Owner Who Is Penalized

You may have been punished in the past by an unethical owner who opted to dump the name if you purchased a domain and didn’t get any advantage from it while employing non-spammy Google practices.

To determine whether any significant algorithm changes have punished you, utilize the Penguin tool as an overlay to your Google Analytics accounts.

When and How to Do This

You may use the Panguin tool to see whether any algorithm adjustments are to blame for your traffic declines in Google Search Console.

Checking Google Analytics to see any connections is an additional benefit. An algorithm change may have affected your Domain, in which case you’ll need to perform further effort to get it back up to speed.

Now What?

This is only the beginning of your SEO audit, including many more criteria.

There will be nine page-level variables to verify and an evaluation of the next.

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