It’s now conventional wisdom that domain names should be as short as possible, preferably 7 letters or less. But have you ever wondered why? It turns out that there is an inverse correlation between domain name length and search traffic volume. In short, the shorter the domain name, the more likely it is to show up on the first page of Google search results.
If you think about some of the most popular domain names in the world - like YouTube.com - it’s clear that there’s something very lucky indeed about the number 7. Here are 7 secrets why domain names less than 7 letters get more traffic.
#1: Short domain names are easier to type on mobile devices
Now that so many searches are being conducted on mobile devices, there’s a real premium placed on domain names that are easy to type on a tiny screen. If given a choice between keying in 10 letters or 7, which option do you think people are going to choose? That just reinforces the SEO value of short domain names. If people are clicking on shorter domain names, that boosts their appeal for Google.
#2: Short domain names appear more authoritative
There is a natural inclination to believe that short, elegant domain names that perfectly capture an idea are more authoritative than those that are long and unwieldy. Thus, all of the most famous Internet companies seem to have 5-6 letters in their domain name, while the latest generation (including Twitter.com) has 7 letters.
#3 Short domain names help to differentiate you from competitors
If you are able to distill what you offer to customers in 7 letters or less, you are more attractive to potential web visitors than if you have a long, complex name. Your domain name reflects who you are as a business. If you have a hard time picking a good domain name, your website copy is also probably in need of an overhaul.
#4: Short domain names have first-mover advantage
Once you realize that there are nearly 300 million domain names worldwide, you can see how hard it is to find a short, elegant domain name. All the really short domain names are gone – like pets.com or cars.com. The conventional wisdom once was that the optimal size of a domain name should be 6 letters. Now, that figure has been ratcheted up to 7. And, soon, it’s not out of the question that experts will claim that 8 letters is the new optimum. The world is just running out of short domain names!
#5: Short domain names reduce the chance for typos
Once you start creating long, convoluted domain names, the chances skyrocket that people will misspell your website name, or create a typo (especially if typing with their thumbs on a mobile device!). So you’re not missing out on potential visitors by people typing in the wrong URL.
#6: Short domain names are easier to remember
Part of the better search traffic phenomenon has to do with the limitations of the human mind. It’s just easier to remember a short domain name of 7 characters or less.
#7: Short domain names are optimized for social media
If you’re using a social media platform like Twitter, you’re penalized for having a long domain name. If you only have 140 characters to tell your story, you don’t want to waste 10 or more of them with your domain name. Shorter names are optimized for your social presence online. They just look better.
Just keep in mind - while 7 characters or less is the new de facto standard for what makes a great domain name, rules are made to be broken. But thinking in terms of 7 characters will help you to focus on a short, memorable and unique domain name that will help to get the word out online about your business.