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I created a brand new site and I'm not sure what happened, but Google Adwords says that the search term which is the exact name of my domain is searched 18,000 times per month. I didn't know this when I bought the domain and built the site. And, yes, I know most people say EMDs don't matter these days, although Rand Fishkin of Moz says that they still carry a little bit of weight, especially when you get URL backlinks with your target search term right there in your URL.

Does anyone on here disagree with Rand Fishkin's statement? Also, this may sound like a stupid question, but will Google penalize you for too many URL backlinks or just too many anchor text optimization backlinks?
#domain #exact #match
  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    I see evidece every day that url links in keyword matchdomain can help.
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    • Profile picture of the author SEOGhost
      I agree. By the way, I checked the search volume for my EMD terms and both Kwfinder and Semrush show that the term is only searched 70 times a month, but Adwords, Moz Keyword Explorer and Spyfu show that the keyword is searched 14,000 to 18,000 times a month. Any idea why there would be that much of a difference between the different SEO tools?
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    Exact or even phrase match in domain names DO help somewhat in getting ranked but not because they hold any algorithmic SEO advantage. Fishkin is right; when you get natural links that simply use your domain name, the anchor text of the links has the keyword phrase in it. That does help a little and there are no penalties when it is your domain name (with Penguin 4.0 there are no algorithmic backlink penalties anymore, anyway). You need far more going for you than an exact match domain link, though.
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    • Profile picture of the author SEOGhost
      "with Penguin 4.0 there are no algorithmic backlink penalties anymore, anyway".

      What do you mean by this? Are you saying there are no more algorithmic penalties for overusing the same anchor text in backlinks?
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      • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
        Originally Posted by SEOGhost View Post

        "with Penguin 4.0 there are no algorithmic backlink penalties anymore, anyway".

        What do you mean by this? Are you saying there are no more algorithmic penalties for overusing the same anchor text in backlinks?
        According to Google, links that were formerly penalized by Penguin are now simply ignored. So, if Penguin was penalizing a site for spammy looking anchor text links, now they just ignore those spammy links (which does nothing to help you rank, but also does nothing to hurt your ranking). That does not mean that there may not be manual penalties sometime down the road.
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        • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
          Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

          According to Google, links that were formerly penalized by Penguin are now simply ignored. So, if Penguin was penalizing a site for spammy looking anchor text links, now they just ignore those spammy links (which does nothing to help you rank, but also does nothing to hurt your ranking). That does not mean that there may not be manual penalties sometime down the road.
          The problem with this is that its technically correct but practically wrong in that it misleads people. The average person hears no penguin penalty for spamming means theres no penalty. You cannot say that it does nothing to hurt because Penguin is not all that is out there being used by Google.

          People need to pay attention to words when Google states things.

          Google Penguin doesn't penalize for bad links - or does it?

          notice where the Google spokesman says "For Penguin specifically there is no need". Thats code word for we have things outside of Penguin. A lot of people are running around trumpeting that Google no longer penalizes when all Google is saying is that PENGUIN does not penalize.

          Theres also some confusion about "manual action". People think of a human being just reviewing the site and figure oh well - whats the chance of that? with million and billions of pages? However a software based company the size of Google has all kinds of automatic tools. It doesn't matter squat when your page disappears from the top ranking that it wasn't Penguin that got it but some other Google tool. You still have been eaten alive.

          The facts are, and Google is surely aware, some link spam still works in some niches. Saying they will no longer fight it through Penguin doesn't matter. If they are going to use tools and crawlers etc outside of "Penguin" then a site can still find itself dinged badly. SO those of us who keep up on this kind of thing need to understand the public in general hears no Penguin penalty as Google no longer penalizes so it can't hurt - and thats just plain wrong.
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          • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
            Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

            The problem with this is that its technically correct but practically wrong in that it misleads people. The average person hears no penguin penalty for spamming means theres no penalty. You cannot say that it does nothing to hurt because Penguin is not all that is out there being used by Google.

            People need to pay attention to words when Google states things.

            Google Penguin doesn't penalize for bad links - or does it?

            notice where the Google spokesman says "For Penguin specifically there is no need". Thats code word for we have things outside of Penguin. A lot of people are running around trumpeting that Google no longer penalizes when all Google is saying is that PENGUIN does not penalize.

            Theres also some confusion about "manual action". People think of a human being just reviewing the site and figure oh well - whats the chance of that? with million and billions of pages? However a software based company the size of Google has all kinds of automatic tools. It doesn't matter squat when your page disappears from the top ranking that it wasn't Penguin that got it but some other Google tool. You still have been eaten alive.

            The facts are, and Google is surely aware, some link spam still works in some niches. Saying they will no longer fight it through Penguin doesn't matter. If they are going to use tools and crawlers etc outside of "Penguin" then a site can still find itself dinged badly. SO those of us who keep up on this kind of thing need to understand the public in general hears no Penguin penalty as Google no longer penalizes so it can't hurt - and thats just plain wrong.
            Well, I guess if they need to pay attention to the words Google uses, they also need to pay attention to the ones I used - especially considering that I clarified it, adding that there could be manual penalty ramifications.

            NOBODY knows exactly how Google decides what sites will be reviewed manually. As I have written on other threads, while Penguin 4.0 may not trigger a "penalty" it may very well trigger red flags, the accumulation of which may very well alert the manual review team.

            Anyway, this has nothing to do with the question at hand, which was the benefit of exact match in a domain name and later, whether those exact match domain name links would be penalized.
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            • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
              Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

              Well, I guess if they need to pay attention to the words Google uses, they also need to pay attention to the ones I used
              Don't need to because you are not Google but then how else could they have said it was technically correct if they hadn't read what you wrote? Its still misleading...no one knows if a penalty is "down the road". All we know is that Penguin doesn't penalize not that tomorrow something else might not red flag and take you down in a heartbeat that isn't Penguin.

              NOBODY knows exactly how Google decides what sites will be reviewed manually. As I have written on other threads, while Penguin 4.0 may not trigger a "penalty" it may very well trigger red flags, the accumulation of which may very well alert the manual review team.
              Paragraphs like that are precisely my point. Totally contradictory. If you don't know then you don't know that there is any accumulation needed. People need to concentrate on building good links that are not spammy not on the fact that Penguin doesn't penalize because there is no evidence that Google has no other automated assisted tools to penalize you.

              Anyway, this has nothing to do with the question at hand,
              Actually it does. Speaking of reading closely - read the OPs second paragraph which has to do with penalties.
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              • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
                Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

                Actually it does. Speaking of reading closely - read the OPs second paragraph which has to do with penalties.
                Which was answered by me, maybe not to your satisfaction. That is, that there are no penalties, algorithmic or otherwise, for branded anchor text.
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                • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
                  Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

                  Which was answered by me, maybe not to your satisfaction. That is, that there are no penalties, algorithmic or otherwise, for branded anchor text.
                  Which gets me back to THE POINT. You do not know squat what they do not penalize for

                  too many URL backlinks or just too many anchor text optimization backlinks?
                  which is in the OP.

                  You wont but at least a few others might see where the misleading nature of some of your posts comes in - in your last post you say nothing about Penguin but make a very blanket statement.

                  I'm not one to believe in a fixed percentage anchor text mix but I sure do not (and neither does any good SEO I know) fire off a hundred thousand exact same anchor text optimized backlinks. Its big red flag for black and grey hat SEO.

                  So yes you answered - but wrongly.
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  • Profile picture of the author sophiebrown
    EMDs have the potential to take a targeted visitor to your website; it can give you the desired results . But it have also the disadvantages
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Disadvantages like? C'mon, finish your thought! You did have one, right?

      Originally Posted by sophiebrown View Post

      EMDs have the potential to take a targeted visitor to your website; it can give you the desired results . But it have also the disadvantages
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  • Profile picture of the author luciesmazanska
    I was doing some research for a client who was trying to decide between an exact-match domain and a branded
    domain and came across this really useful study. I would say Exact Match Domains Still Work The study had some
    pretty compelling arguments for keyword-rich domains.
    - Keyword domains rank on average 11% higher than brandable domains
    - Brandable domains needed 69% higher Domain Authority and 22% higher Page Authority to rank in the Top 10
    - Keyword domains were able to hit #1 with half as much content, and only using the keyword half as frequently.
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  • Profile picture of the author michaelkoehler92
    EMD works great but I would not suggest them as most of the time they will be a crucial part when getting white hat links.
    You are saying that your exact match domain is searched for 18000 times for month but are you ranking for that keyword? and What type of domain is that I mean how many words?
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    • Profile picture of the author SEOGhost
      Hi, Michael. My EMD is two words, so, of course, it will be difficult to rank for compared to an EMD that is long tail (if long tail EMDs even exist since most internet marketers will tell you the shorter your domain name is the better). However, MOZ's Keyword Explorer shoes that my EMD has an easy ranking score of 22 (but is only searched 500 times a month. I was mistaken about Moz's search volume on my EMD in my earlier reply) while Spyfu shows a ranking score of 52 with a search volume of 14.000. Google Adwords Keyword Planner shows the search volume is 18,000, but I'm not sure how accurate that is.

      I looked at the first page of Google for my EMD search term and the websites listed have PA in the 20's, 30's, teens, and one website has a PA of 1. The websites' DA are 50's, 40's, 30's, 20's, and two 90's (Indeed and About.com), which are at the bottom of the page.

      My website has only been live and indexed a little over a month so, if I can rank in the top 3 spots it will definitely take some time. So far, my website isn't even listed anywhere in Google's SERPS for that search term, yet I have other pages showing up in the SERPS for other search terms. Seems kind of odd.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      What does this mean: "EMD works great but I would not suggest them as most of the time they will be a crucial part when getting white hat links. "

      Originally Posted by michaelkoehler92 View Post

      EMD works great but I would not suggest them as most of the time they will be a crucial part when getting white hat links.
      You are saying that your exact match domain is searched for 18000 times for month but are you ranking for that keyword? and What type of domain is that I mean how many words?
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        What does this mean: "EMD works great but I would not suggest them as most of the time they will be a crucial part when getting white hat links. "
        My best guess is that he/she is talking about spammy sounding domains (especially long tail) have a problem when webmasters want to link out (white hat). Beyond that I have no idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author SEOGhost
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by SEOGhost View Post

      Very good questions, DABK. Let's see if the experts can enlighten us. Experts, what do you have to say?
      How can anyone, expert or otherwise, respond to that? It is a sentence that contradicts itself.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    EMDs don't matter for SEO.

    What you're seeing is repetition spread out over multiple indexed internal pages.

    You can easily make any internal page a hierarchy (silo) with the keyword and forget the Home page.


    A system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Originally Posted by luciesmazanska View Post

    I was doing some research for a client who was trying to decide between an exact-match domain and a branded
    domain and came across this really useful study. I would say Exact Match Domains Still Work The study had some
    pretty compelling arguments for keyword-rich domains.
    - Keyword domains rank on average 11% higher than brandable domains
    - Brandable domains needed 69% higher Domain Authority and 22% higher Page Authority to rank in the Top 10
    - Keyword domains were able to hit #1 with half as much content, and only using the keyword half as frequently.
    This is a pretty dumb study. First, DA and PA are not ranking factors used by any search engine, so you can just throw that out the window.

    For the first and third points, the only way you can make those statements with any degree of accuracy is if all other things were equal. If they were just looking around at SERP pages though, not everything is equal. Those sites do not have an equal number or quality of links (external and internal), the pages are not laid out in exactly the same structure, the content is different, etc.

    To just say that domains with a keyword in them rank 11% higher is silly.

    The "study" you read was click bait.
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    • Profile picture of the author SEOGhost
      Thanks, Mike. Do you think EMDs still hold any ranking advantage above non-EMDs?
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
        Originally Posted by SEOGhost View Post

        Thanks, Mike. Do you think EMDs still hold any ranking advantage above non-EMDs?
        Not enough of an advantage that I would waste time worrying about getting one. I think a bigger factor is having the keywords in the URL, not so much the root domain.

        I'd rather have something unique and brandable unless this is a churn and burn project.
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        • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
          Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post


          I'd rather have something unique and brandable unless this is a churn and burn project.

          Honestly the only people I see really still talking EMDs much are affiliate site owners.
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          • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
            Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

            Honestly the only people I see really still talking EMDs much are affiliate site owners.
            For the most part, yes.

            I have seen a couple of real businesses use smaller, catchy domains that have some keywords in them. Like in my town there is a real estate agent using yorkhomes.net.

            But honestly, I would guess that is more for marketing and branding than any perceived SEO value. YorkHomes.net is easier to remember than TheJimPowersTeam.com or something like that.
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            • Profile picture of the author DABK
              And there I went thinking it was something like 99.97%. I stand corrected!

              Originally Posted by yukon View Post

              Fact, 87% of humans don't visually care about URLs.
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            • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
              Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

              For the most part, yes.

              I have seen a couple of real businesses use smaller, catchy domains that have some keywords in them. Like in my town there is a real estate agent using yorkhomes.net.
              Point taken. I tend not to think of locations words as exact match domain but definitely in local there's that for SEO and other "We are one of you " sales reasons.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Good guess. But why do we have to guess? Is it that hard to formulate a clear thought, then type it up?

      Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

      My best guess is that he/she is talking about spammy sounding domains (especially long tail) have a problem when webmasters want to link out (white hat). Beyond that I have no idea.
      Surely, you jest. And I say that despite the fact that my own EMD's behaved, from this point of view, the same as the others. I say it because WarriorForum is full of people saying EMD's still work. And, like my grandma used to say, Who am I to contradict the multitudes? (Well, she didn't say it that way but she did smack me over the head when I was ornery and went against the masses.)

      Yup, that's true. And if you implement, you're ahead. And it's easy to implement. So, start being ahead.

      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      EMDs don't matter for SEO.

      What you're seeing is repetition spread out over multiple indexed internal pages.

      You can easily make any internal page a hierarchy (silo) with the keyword and forget the Home page.
      Quite right. But you're fighting Ye Big Click-n-Bait Factory that's spewing studies faster than you can say click and bait.

      Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

      This is a pretty dumb study. First, DA and PA are not ranking factors used by any search engine, so you can just throw that out the window.

      For the first and third points, the only way you can make those statements with any degree of accuracy is if all other things were equal. If they were just looking around at SERP pages though, not everything is equal. Those sites do not have an equal number or quality of links (external and internal), the pages are not laid out in exactly the same structure, the content is different, etc.

      To just say that domains with a keyword in them rank 11% higher is silly.

      The "study" you read was click bait.
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
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        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        Quite right. But you're fighting Ye Big Click-n-Bait Factory that's spewing studies faster than you can say [I]click and bait.


        Fact, 87% of humans don't visually care about URLs.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post


        Surely, you jest. And I say that despite the fact that my own EMD's behaved, from this point of view, the same as the others. I say it because WarriorForum is full of people saying EMD's still work.
        No..no jest at all. there are many webmasters myself included on my own websites that don't want to link out to mybesttoasterovenreview.com.

        i don't know about EMDs "working". They are definitely not the magic they used to be but I doubt from a programming point of view the keywords in the domain or a naked url link never count towards relevance.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    I suppose if you believe anchor text backlinks that include the domain name can hurt a site, you also believe that Amazon, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Craigslist, MOZ, dictionary.com, etc. would be dominating search engines even more than they already do if it were not for all of those horrible backlinks using their domain name.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      I suppose if you believe anchor text backlinks that include the domain name can hurt a site, you also believe that Amazon, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Craigslist, MOZ, dictionary.com, etc. would be dominating search engines even more than they already do if it were not for all of those horrible backlinks using their domain name.
      Oh I see.....You have no clue what "too many anchor text optimization backlinks" refers to. I can educate you further. Its not a reference to naked urls of brand name but optimizing keywords to rank sites (if you take some time to think about it you can't "optimize" your brand name - it is what it is. If you take a little bit more time to think about it you might realize you can't "optimize" organic links as well - because you can't control the optimization).

      And just so you know - Youtube, Google and Wikipedia all get mad links that are not optimized for a particular keyword and ranking (thats right not even their brand name). Thats the HUGE difference. A marketer optimizing his profile with a 100,0000 anchor text optimized links doesn't have another MILLION other kinds of links that those companies have.

      But hey if you believe that marketers around here that optimize and aim a 100,000 links at their site won't be spotted for link spam then be my guess and tell the newbs what you want. More experienced SEOs won't buy that nonsense though. They realize the scale at which all those big companies have diverse links and don't make the blunder of confusing them with "optimized links" placed by marketers.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    Well Mike Anthony, if it makes you feel better, keep on attacking people here. Your unproven track record of success is indeed impressive.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      Well Mike Anthony, if it makes you feel better, keep on attacking people here. Your unproven track record of success is indeed impressive.
      It should be to you. It extends to more than just trying to leverage for an eternity being a fluff piece on TV, ranking many sites and teaching thousands how to do SEO, and developing real web properties. We were disagreeing on substance. You are the one trying now to make a personal attack because you can't come back with anything of substance.
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  • Profile picture of the author James Clifton
    Exact Match Domain was launched in 2012 to keep low-quality sites from ranking high. Basically, using widely searched keywords as a domain is way better than using general words and phrases. However, it is best not to rely on this practice. If you really want to gain business leverage, focus on developing your site and producing great content.
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