Domain SEO: Can including keywords in a domain name improve search ranking?

Products mentioned
Keywords + domains
Archive Product Disclaimer

The GoDaddy product information in this article is outdated and currently under review for accuracy. For the latest up-to-date product information please visit

Most businesses understand the importance of — and the general idea behind — search engine optimization, the practice of getting a website URL to appear at the top of a search results page in order to make it easier for customers to find and use a business. But the deeper into the mechanics of SEO you get, the less clear best practices become. This is especially true of domain SEO keyword practices — using keywords in website domain names in hopes of improving search ranking.

Many businesses share questions about the impact keywords have on a company’s search engine rankings, whether including a keyword in a website domain name is necessary for better rankings, and how to choose a domain name for SEO.

Domain SEO Case Study: HigherVisibility finds majority of top page results include keywords

In response to these questions, HigherVisibility conducted a domain SEO study and found some interesting — and surprising — results. They first hypothesized that the importance of keywords in domain names for SEO differs depending on industry. Then, using WordStream, they identified the top 10 keywords for 10 major industries. From there, a variety of SEO tools were used to analyze the URLs and top page results across industries.

Step 1: Industries and fields of business

The industries the domain SEO study included were business, credit cards, debt, email software, food and beverage, government and trade, hotel, plumbing, software and weight loss. Here’s the breakdown of the results:

Domain SEO Top Sites

As you can see, the research showed that including a keyword in a website domain name has a widespread and positive impact on SEO.

The study found that 63 percent of the top page results were for websites that included keywords in their URLs.

The study also found that when broken down by industry, some fields are more likely than others to include keywords when constructing website domain names. The debt and business fields are most likely to include keywords in their domain names, whereas email software and government and trade are much less likely to do so.

These domain SEO findings can be helpful in determining whether you should be incorporating keywords into your company’s domain name.


If you’re in an industry where most companies are including keywords in domain names, then it’s probably in your best interest to follow suit. Likewise, if you’re in a field like email software, where less than half of companies are using keywords in their domain names, it might not be as important.

Even so, the research still shows that at 63 percent, using keywords in domain names for SEO is practiced by the majority of top page results.

Step 2: Keywords broken down by Industry

The study was broken down by each individual industry to show the most common domain name keywords in the top page results, as well as which websites ranked the best — domain names included. The percentages following the keywords refer to how many of the top businesses used that specific keyword in their URL:

Domain SEO Business URLsThis information is invaluable for your company if you fall within one of the industries that show it’s valuable for your SEO to include keywords in your website domain name.

Instead of relying on trial and error to determine which keyword(s) might be worth including, HigherVisibility has provided extensively researched information that takes the guesswork out of domain name construction for SEO.

Business Page ResultsPut study results into practice to choose a domain name for SEO

Using the list of 10 high-performing keywords provided by the study, all you have to do is figure out which one(s) relate to your website content the best. You can also use the list of top page results to see how other successful companies have gone about incorporating keywords into their domain names.

Start your domain name search here:


Chances are you’ll recognize at least some of the website names as prominent and successful businesses, which further goes to show that keywords do have an impact on a website’s SEO.

Domain SEO Software Industry

Step 3: Conclusion for startups vs. well-established brands

Overall, this study concludes that including keywords in a domain name has at least some influence on SEO, regardless of which industry that business is a part of.
Putting some effort into carefully choosing a domain name in the beginning stages of creating your business will pay off in the long run because it likely will improve your search engine rankings and increase your website traffic.
Keeping domain SEO in mind can also help you establish recognition and compete with the larger, leading brands who don’t need to rely on having keywords in their domain name.
The same goes for your company if you’re part of an industry that doesn’t typically rely as much on keywords for SEO success, such as an email software company. If it isn’t imperative to your company’s success, then there’s no sense in wasting time and energy on incorporating keywords into your domain name.

Domain SEO: Keyword best practices

If you’ve decided that it might be worth it to start including keywords in your website’s domain name, it’s important to keep SEO best practices in mind.

Don’t just try to senselessly fill your domains with as many keywords as possible in the hopes of increasing your ranking. The keywords in your domain name need to accurately describe the content on the page the user will be directed to.

Hubspot suggests following a “” formula to avoid being penalized by Google or other search engines for keyword stuffing.

Your URL should be reader-friendly, make sense to users, and accurately depict the Internet destination where they will end up.


Accessibility and user experience are as much a part of SEO as keywords (in domain names and otherwise), so keep in mind that search engines have the ability to determine which websites are providing the best value for users. Drop the unnecessary words, like the articles ‘a’, ‘an’, and ‘the.’

Follow these basic best practices and you’ll be well on your way to reaping the positive benefit that using keywords in your domain names can have on your SEO.

See what your domain is worth. Try GoDaddy Domain Appraisals so you can make an educated decision about buying, selling, protecting or renewing your domain today.

Start taking back your day.

We built The Hub by GoDaddy Pro to save you time. Lots of time. Our members report saving an average three hours each month for every client website they maintain. Are you ready to take back that kind of time?

Sign up for Free

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it.

As you found this post useful...

... why not share it?