Everything to Know About Domains, Subdomains & SEO-Friendly URLs

Choosing a domain is one of the most important tasks a company faces when launching a corporate website. A properly chosen domain can move your business to a new level, whereas a wrongly picked domain can prevent your site from occupying top positions on SERP. A domain must be selected in such a way that it meets the technical requirements of the domain zone, is convenient for further use, and meets your marketing/ branding strategy. This task is not as simple as it seems. After all, there are different domain zones, and you may not yet know how much the project will grow. Let’s find out the basic concepts of domains, subdomains, and SEO-friendly URLs here.

Choose Domain Name Smartly

Things to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name

The tips below will help you choose the right domain name.

  • The length of the name — Use three-four words and check for the most popular domain extensions — they will help. Sites with a short domain name are easier to remember and find;
  • Keywords — Make sure the words in the domain name reflect the content of your site. Domain names with semantic words help those who visit the resource for the first time to immediately understand what it is. They also increase the likelihood that a site will appear in the search results for related products or services;
  • The location — To attract the target audience of a certain region, you can specify the desired location in the domain name. This will help reduce the number of visitors you are not interested in and refine your target audience;
  • Brand name — Use the brand name to stand out from sites with similar content. Well-known brands with a good reputation are well remembered and attract users. It takes time to develop a brand, but a successful brand can increase the popularity of your site.
  • Top-level domain — The most popular option here is .com, but Google Domains offer many other domains, from .academy to .zone. Such domains allow you to more accurately indicate the theme of your site and introduce it to your audience.

You can have different elements in a domain name, but you should thoroughly consider their use since they may impact its effectiveness. At the same time, you are to know everything about subdomain vs subdirectory to effectively run your project. The following elements can adversely affect the perception of a domain name:

  • Numbers and dashes make it difficult to remember and search a site;
  • Mistakes in spelling words or company names are a typical feature of spamming and phishing sites (Google doesn’t like these);
  • Using a name consonant with the name of a popular brand can lead to complaints of copyright infringement, domain blocking, and even legal action.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you make research before inventing a domain name for your website.

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Marketing Matters

The domain name should be chosen either by the name of the company or by the activity it performs. If the name consists of several words, they can be written together or connected by a dash. If the budget allows, it is better to register a domain name, both with a dash and without, so that your competitors don’t use it against you. Here is what you need to remember when picking a domain name from the marketing perspective:

  • A good domain name should be short. We do not recommend including more than three words in a domain name;
  • A good domain name is easy to pronounce and difficult to spell incorrectly. This is especially important if you plan to use radio advertising or offline marketing to promote your site. In this case, we advise you to pay attention to the .com domain zone;
  • A good domain name is hard to confuse with any other. When choosing a domain, make sure that your competitors do not have a similar name;
  • When picking a domain, make sure that the name does not infringe on the copyrights of third parties. Otherwise, it may require the trademark owner to remove the domain or give it a name.

Choosing a proper domain is part of the trouble. If your budget allows, we recommend that you register similar domain names so that competitors do not do so in the future. Also, you can use different names for different types of advertising, as well as for certain types of products. In the future, all the names can be easily attached to one site or even a section of the site.

What is a Subdomain? How is it Different from Domain?

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If you are going to launch a website and are looking for a domain, then you have most probably heard of a subdomain entity, which is in practice a domain that is part of a higher-level domain. Most often it refers to level 3 or 4 and includes a name of a site that it refers to. Of course, if your project is a part of a large corporation owning its own domain, then there is no other way for you that use a subdomain for the platform you are going to run. Let’s dive deeper into the distinctive features of subdomains.

Possibilities of Using Subdomains

Most of all, large portals are interested in using subdomains. This is often a good practice for online stores, where each of the sections can be considered as a separate project. As a result, each of them is located on a separate subdomain in the search results. Advantages of dividing an online resource into subdomains are as follows:

  • Management of a large site is simplified — It is possible to divide the areas of responsibility among workers and management. Each team is responsible for a specific category of goods;
  • At your disposal, you get a free platform, where you can check the software and engine before creating a subdomain of the main section. By installing a new engine on a subdomain, you can identify all its pros and cons, without interrupting the operation of the main site or causing any inconvenience to its visitors.
  • You can customize the engine to the needs of your site and transfer it to the main domain. Besides, during the transfer, the resource remains operational and continues to bring profit to a business;
  • Separately, you can make a mobile version of the site or separate subsections available in another language;
  • To simplify the promotion of a project that seeks to occupy its niche in different cities.

The fact is that it’s easier to promote 10 sites in different regions than one large project across the country. However, it is equally important to responsibly approach the preparation of the semantic core so that keywords are not repeated. At the same time, you should also pay attention to the URL structure as such.

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SEO-Friendly URL

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One of the main SEO approaches is working with a URL. A good structure of URL facilitates the process of site indexing, but most sites use incorrect and non-optimal URLs. Let’s take look at the various elements of the URL to have an idea of how you can create an optimal structure that will help to raise the rank of the site.

URL Elements

Let’s start by looking at the elements that make up the URL. At first glance, the URL may seem simple, but in reality, it consists of several important blocks of information:

  • Protocol — the most popular protocols are HTTPS, FTP, etc.;
  • The domain name of the website;
  • Subdirectory of the file.

Part #1 — Domain Name

Point 1The domain name is the website address, which starts with www. This is the most noticeable part of the URL; you can often found it in e-mail messages, business cards, advertising booklets, etc. A good domain name is easy to remember. It is best to make as short as possible, preferably in two-four words. This approach will help your visitors remember the address of your site among others. You can use keywords in the domain name.

Part #2 — Domain Extension

Point 2The .com is still the most popular domain name extension. The .net extension is also popular. Does the domain extension affect SEO? No. The domain name extension does not allow determining the quality of the site. There are other factors that affect its quality, such as content and links. However, country-specific domain extensions have some advantages. They help to get a significant flaw in local traffic for the country.

Part #3 — Subdirectories

Point 3When considering subdirectories, one must take into account the depth and width of the directory. Only with such an approach, it is possible to develop a URL structure that Google will like.

Why is this needed?

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URLs are often the first things that Google and visitors see. Creating friendly URLs is an easy way to improve SEO and your site ranking. If you pay attention to this detail, you can improve the visibility of the site in the eyes of a search engine. Besides, SEO-friendly addresses are better perceived by site visitors who are looking for thematic content. Too long links full of prepositions, parameters, and superfluous categories look worse than short addresses that completely convey the essence of the content of the resource. Therefore, creating friendly URLs is becoming strategically important.

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How Does an SEO-Friendly URL Look Like?

SEO-Friendly URLs are links that are well accepted not only by visitors but also by search engines. A well-designed URL plays an important role in an effective SEO tactic. When creating URLs, stick the following recommendations:

  • Ensure easy readability and maximum compliance with the theme of the page/site;
  • Exclude difficult-to-remember/ long names;
  • Follow the consistent approach to creating a URL structure.

Apply the principle of KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) — “make a URL shorter and more understandable to a site visitor.” Google algorithms work for the same logic — the structure of the site URL should be as simple as possible. Therefore, applying the KISS principle is not primitivism but a wise decision. Make URLs logical and easy to read — and you will have more chances to promote your business online.

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Article Published by Souvik

SouvikWeb Developer & SEO Specialist with 10+ years of experience in Open Source Web Development, specialized in Joomla & WordPress development. He is also the moderator of this blog "RS Web Solutions".

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