How Domain Names Impact SEO

By Caitlin McManus

Marketing Account Manager

October 2023

A few months ago we launched a new website—‘Web Design Toowoomba’.

We’ve always known that domain names have an impact on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), but were curious as to what extent. So curious, we thought we’d put it to the test.

For our SEO experiment, we created a whole new website designed only to rank well on Google with a keyword rich domain.

For context, our current website - - is filled to the brim with keywords. Each page heading features keywords for Google to use to index the site and understand how relevant we are to any given search. Yet, no matter how hard we hit the keyword game, we always seemed to come up short against our web design compatriots when it came to SEO.

Tired of always being the bridesmaid, never the bride, we took matters into our own hands and set up an entirely new website.

Knowing that ‘web design Toowoomba’ is the most popular Google search, we purchased the domain name ‘’.

The new site only talks about one thing: web design Toowoomba.

The theory is if someone searches ‘web design Toowoomba’, Google should recognise that our Web Design Toowoomba site is appropriate for that search and list us highly in the results.

So, how has it gone?

Since it launched in April 2023, our Web Design Toowoomba site ranks anywhere between the 5th and 7th spot on Google. 

This means it currently ranks higher than our actual CoBright site.


The other SEO factors

SEO is a fickle beast and there are numerous factors that impact it. Let’s rule some out to ensure it’s just the domain being tested:

  • Page keywords

    Setting up a new site meant that we had to rewrite all new content, otherwise, we’d risk being SEO-penalised for duplicate content.  

    While the page keywords may have a role in the results, the fact that these keywords are also present on our CoBright site suggests that the results are purely thanks to the different domain.

  • Content updates

    To boost SEO on our CoBright website, we continuously load past projects and blogs to give Google something fresh to index and show that it’s an ‘active’ site. This doesn’t occur on the Web Design Toowoomba site.

  • Traffic

    We don’t actively drive traffic to the Web Design Toowoomba website. There is no social media, digital marketing, advertising, or any form of marketing driving traffic to the Web Design Toowoomba site. It doesn’t even have a Google Business listing.

Essentially, the site has no reason to rank well on Google, other than its domain name.

Key Learnings

We’ve reinforced that domain names are a crucial part of SEO and how well your business ranks on Google.

The fact that ranks better on Google than has in half the time suggests to us that, regardless of how keyword-rich your content is, a good domain will get you far. 

Aside from domains, we also learnt that if you have multiple facets and/or solution offerings as part of your business, it may be worthwhile for you to have a website to speak to each one. So, rather than one website that says everything, have a few targeted sites that say only what they need to. 

Not only does this mean you can have a keyword-rich domain, it also enables the site to only speak to one set of keywords. 

As Web Designers, it’s important for us to be able to recommend the best solutions for our clients. We’re still testing and learning from the results, but at this stage, it’s clear to us not to sleep on the importance of your domain. 

And, the final learning: if you haven’t already, buy the ‘.au’ version of your domain, lest some marketing agency buy it to perform an SEO test.

See the site for yourself

Check out Web Design Toowoomba:

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