Rankings, bias, and domain authority—who knew there was so much drama in a simple look-up? Here’s what no one told you about domain bias in web search.
Shopping for a domain name seems really easy: decide on a company name, search for a matching domain name, and voilà—you have your perfect URL! Right?
Wrong. Unfortunately, while finding the perfect yourbrand.com web address may have been easy ten years ago, now it’s much harder to obtain a coveted .com URL. While it may not matter to you if your website ends in .com, .co, or even .net, it definitely matters to your customer.
Most customers have learned to trust a URL that ends in .com, leading to domain bias in web search. While this bias may not be intentional, it is certainly a real phenomenon that could lose you tons of web traffic.
Want to ensure customers aren’t biased against your site? Here are 3 things you didn’t know about domain bias—and 3 tips to help you pick the best domain for your website.
Psychology Plays a Big Role in a Search Results
Search engines have one job: to deliver relevant results in response to what you searched for. In order to understand your search intent, search engine design algorithms based on human behavior to provide the best possible user experience.
After years of using the internet, people can often look at a search result and determine if a website looks trustworthy, even if they don’t know why they chose it. Websites considered trustworthy often have higher domain authority scores.
You can boost the domain authority of your site to combat domain bias and help your website rank above the competition. That means no matter what domain name you pick, you’ll appear as a credible site on the first page of Google search results for your desired search terms.
Use psychology to your advantage by choosing a domain name that connects with your website’s intent and appears trustworthy.
Domain Bias in Web Search Comes in Many Forms
Usually, when we talk about domain bias, we talk about top-level domains, also known as TLDs. Examples of TLDs are .com, .edu, .net, and .shop, among many others.
However, domain bias goes beyond whether or not users trust the TLD. While some gurus recommend only buying .com domains, you may be better of going for another TLD like .net or .org to maintain keyword relevancy, branding, or simplicity.
Adding dashes, multiple keywords, or confusing branding to your URL can make your domain name look less trustworthy. When choosing your domain name, make your URL easy to remember and to share in person.
Google Doesn’t Prefer Particular Domains
Contrary to popular belief, Google and Bing do not have a defined preference for what domain you should choose. In fact, most domains can get indexed and rank quickly regardless of its TLD or if the domain contains a keyword.
However, search results are based on what customers click on. If you have a competitor with a very similar domain name, your website may end up ranking lower because that website’s domain appears more credible.
While it may seem like Google is intentionally lowering your search results, you’re actually just a victim of your customer’s domain bias.
To avoid this, choose a domain name that can’t be easily confused with a competitor. Using a unique branded domain can help you stand out.
Conquer Domain Bias by Understanding Your Customer
Getting customers to click on your website can seem challenging. However, with high domain authority and a great website, you can combat domain bias in web search.
Follow these tips for choosing the best domain name for your website and you’ll be ranking in no time!