A domain name, or a top-level domain, is the part of the URL that precedes the “www” or “https://”. In other words, a domain name is what you type into the address bar when you are typing in a URL to go to a website. For example, our domain name is “sociummedia.com”.
A domain name is usually comprised of three parts: an extension, a subdomain, and a root domain.
What is a Domain Extension?
The extension part of the domain name is .com, .net, .io, .org, etc., which will identify what type of website it is. The most common extension is .com, but other extension types like .co or .io are becoming increasingly more popular as it has become more difficult to find .com domain names.
While we recommend using the .com extension when possible, this does not mean you can’t rank organically when using other extensions. Other extensions like .org, .co, or .io can also rank just as easily for keywords, the more important part of SEO is the content vs the domain name.
What is a Root Domain?
A root domain is the main domain name of a website, which is always preceded by the dot (.) and it usually ends with .com. For example, www.sociummedia.com is the root domain because it lives after the “www” and before the extension of the address for this site.
The root domain is also where your main website files will be stored. Your domain name is simply the access point to a set of folders that control your website. The root folder contains all the subfolders for your site. So, if you were to add a file to your root folder, you would be able to access it by going to rootdomain.com/filename.extenstiontype.
In terms of SEO, your root domain will typically be the most reputable or authoritative part of your website. We recommend building your website out of your root domain, instead of building subdomains. For example, in our opinion, website.com/blog is superior to blog.website.com because you will be utilizing the existing authority of your website, instead of using a subdomain that would need treated as its own entity and would need to build its own authority.
What Is A Subdomain?
A subdomain goes before the root domain name and it has its own suffix like “blog”, so blog.sociummedia.com would be a subdomain to sociummedia.com. Subdomains are treated as their own entity, so they must build their own authority, separate from the root domain.
Domain Name Best Practices
Keep It Simple
When choosing a domain name for your business, make sure to choose something short that will be easy to remember. Typically, the least amount of characters the better when deciding on a domain name.
Sure, you might be able to snag a domain name that’s readable but if it is using hyphens, it’s probably not worth it. Hyphens could be seen as spammy and the likelihood of a misspelling significantly increases.
Make it Easy to Spell
Don’t create a domain name that is going to make your customers spend time figuring out how they are supposed to spell it. Make sure the domain name you choose has at least two words, but one word might be better if you can manage it.
While it won’t hurt to utilize a keyword in your domain name, it doesn’t help as much as it once did. Your better off going with a memorable domain name than an overly keyword-rich domain name like “bestmarketingblogforseo.com”.
To Sum It All Up
Domain names are a crucial part of your website’s success and utilizing them properly while following best practices will certainly lead you in the right direction. When it comes to domain names, don’t overthink it and just keep it simple. No need to buy 100 domain names and redirect them all to your site like the old days, just focus on 1 domain and make it the best it can be.
Do you have a question that wasn’t answered above? Or would you like to speak with our SEO team about your domain names? Feel free to reach out by filling out a free consultation form.