There are many elements in site optimization that can affect ranking. Title tags, alt tags, h tags and meta-descriptions are some of the first things most people think off when naming elements right off the bat. However, we often forget about the domain name. The domain name, even before the title tag, can greatly impact search engine rankings.
The first step is to have an idea of a good search term that will target your particular audience. For example, if you’re an exotic reptiles business, you may want to look into exoticreptiles.com. Note that even if your desired domain name is taken, there is always the option of inserting hyphens between keywords, so even exotic-reptiles.com will work. Take care in choosing a domain name that’s not too long, or else there is the possibility of being flagged as spam, especially if you go overboard with hyphens. Exotic-reptiles-online-store-extravaganza.com would definitely not cut it. On top of that, your prospects may not even remember the URL.
(Tangent to this discussion, underscores do work in URLs, but hyphens are much better since search engines recognize them as separators between words.)
In any case while building your site, always aim to efficiently use your keywords. If you can’t get your main keyword to be part of the domain name, better work on a strong SEO strategy.
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