Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

Domain Names and SEO with Bill Hartzer

What’s the role of your chosen domain name on your future SEO strategy and visibility?

This is one controversial question because it has been changing a lot throughout the years.

To discuss the impact of domain names on SEO, Jim Boykin, CEO of Internet Marketing Ninjas, and Ann Smarty, IMN’s analyst, invited Bill Hartzer, a blogger, SEO, and marketer who started coding HTML websites back in the mid 1990s and has been an SEO expert for more than two decades.

What’s the correlation between SEO and domain names?

Back in the early days of SEO keywords of domain names played a huge role in rankings. Having an exact-match domain meant a huge advantage over your organic competitors.

Then things have changed…

The EMD, or Exact Match Domain update, was a 2012 Google algorithm update that supposedly devalued keywords in domain names in the domain name.

Keywords in domain names are still a very good idea

Yet, keyword-focused domains are still a very good idea, since they still offer an organic advantage of acquiring natural organic backlinks that include those keywords.

In other words, when anyone is linking to your domain name and use your name or your domain name as an anchor text, there will be keywords in that anchor text.

Besides, Bill’s tests show that Google still reads words in the domain name. In his test, a domain with a unique name was able to rank for that name without having any backlinks containing that name.

Keyword-rich top level domains are an opportunity

Another opportunity is registering a domain name on a keyword-focused top level domain (TLD) – like .marketing or .seo – as these are also readable in search snippets and can impact your click-through.

These TLDs may help you acquire backlinks containing that keyword as an anchor text, like “”


While keyword-focused URLs may no longer have a strong direct impact on your organic impacts, it is still a good idea to have keywords in your domain name when possible. This includes both domain and top-level domain names.


Meet The Bloggers

Jim Boykin
Jim Boykin

Founder and CEO

Ann Smarty
Ann Smarty

Community & Branding Manager