Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

by WarriorForum.com Administrator
20 replies
  • SEO
  • |
A new article on Social Media Today says that exact match domains were valuable for SEO - but asks if that's still true today.



So, are exact match domains still valuable? In the past, they delivered great rankings and traffic, but how does present-day Google treat them, and should you buy one?

Exact match domains (EMDs) precisely match a search query that will likely drive traffic to your website and historically tended to rank well. Many EMDs were purchased by webmasters, domain squatters, and entrepreneurs looking to make money by selling popular domain names that could potentially rank well for the query because the keyword they were trying to rank for was in the domain name.

In 2012, Matt Cutts (then Google's chief spam fighter) announced an algorithm change that was aimed at reducing the amount of low-quality exact match domains in search results. That meant, if you had a low-quality (or spammy) EMD, the game could be up.

That's not the whole story, though. The author believes that Google likes exact match domains so long as they're not spammy. Hotels.com is a good example of that. It's an exact match domain because the domain exactly matches the keyword [hotels], and it continues to dominate the SERPs for hotel searches year after year, making the domain name a great signal of user intent for those searching for hotels. Hotels.com is now over 27 years old and was purchased for about $11 million.

By the end of 2012, Google realized some valuable exact-match domain holders had been penalized simply for having a catchy EMD. The company issued an update to the algorithm that improved the value of such domains and punished the sites that were low-quality EMDs.

The author says most of the best EMDs are already owned. If you have some money in the bank, be prepared to shell out a lot of it to buy a domain that may be up for sale. Getting an exact match domain can satisfy user intent and help your brand because people know what your site should be about before they go to it. Once end-users land on your site, you provide them with great content and a good user experience, so they purchase your products or services, which this site does a good job at.

If you want to find good EMDs, the author recommends:
  • Watching the news or searching Google Trends.
  • Going to a domain registrar.
  • Using social listening to find the latest buzz words and go to see if the domain is registered. If it's not, secure it, create some high-quality content, build links, get some social love, and make it a brand.
#domains #exact #match #work
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    In other words, they don't help your site in the rankings, per se, but they might get clicked on more than non-exact match domains because an uncertain percentage of people look at URLs before they click on them. That, in turn, may or may not help you rank better depending on whether or not you believe that a higher click through rate helps your site rank better.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      I love these articles Warriorforum finds. They are great at saying things with 5 times the words required.



      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      In other words, they don't help your site in the rankings, per se, but they might get clicked on more than non-exact match domains because an uncertain percentage of people look at URLs before they click on them. That, in turn, may or may not help you rank better depending on whether or not you believe that a higher click through rate helps your site rank better.
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  • Profile picture of the author SFuel
    I purchased an EMD back in 2009 on a whim. Does it work? I guess so, It generates around $35k/month in revenue.
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  • Profile picture of the author Pablo Pietropinto
    For google no, for people eyes yes is more catchy.

    Best regards.
    Pablo.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Amazon.com, Etsy.com and Yelp com say, Nope.

      Originally Posted by Pablo Pietropinto View Post

      For google no, for people eyes yes is more catchy.

      Best regards.
      Pablo.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hamid Gull
    according to my experience, Exact Match Domain Get more Ranking than Like brand domain, but Exact match domain has a back draw that You can not cover other topics rather than same category. Site
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  • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
    They still work. Just look in the SERPs.
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by mattlaclear View Post

      They still work. Just look in the SERPs.
      C'mon! Really? Which website do you think has a higher domain authority, more backlinks and tons of traffic and user signals? One that has been around for a couple of decades or one that is brand new? I guarantee you that sites like bowling.com, golf.com, cats.com, etc. have been around for a very long time collecting all of the signals that actually do matter.

      Just because an exact match domain name appears high up in the SERPs doesn't mean that the domain name had any influence on the rankings whatsoever. The point of the EMD update was to take away the artificial boost that exact domain names formerly were receiving. Most did not see a drop at all because they have been around for so long and already had all the signals in place that the artificial small bump didn't really help them. The only sites that saw a drop were ones that had "sort of" exact match domains (e.g. "bow-ling.com") or used obscure TLDs to get the artificial boost and had very weak profiles otherwise.
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  • Profile picture of the author cristy1
    Of course, Google will not help any spammy exact match domain as it is a search engine, and its work is to satisfy search intent.
    The only site with good updated content and with accurate information will win the position.
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  • Profile picture of the author charbrown
    What if the exact match domain is not available? The next best thing (and possibly a better thing) is to use exact match as a a sub heading. A friend showed me a site he had built a few years ago that grouped a number of exact match sub headings that were all related and had a sufficient amount of content under each sub heading. The site's domain name was adequate, but what really pulled traffic was the sub headings.
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by charbrown View Post

      What if the exact match domain is not available? The next best thing (and possibly a better thing) is to use exact match as a a sub heading. A friend showed me a site he had built a few years ago that grouped a number of exact match sub headings that were all related and had a sufficient amount of content under each sub heading. The site's domain name was adequate, but what really pulled traffic was the sub headings.
      Of course that's what happens, although for most phrases, it's going to take much more than a few headings. Your domain name has absolutely nothing to do with rankings. You can name a website absolutelynothingbutcats.com and have it rank for absolutely nothing but dogs.
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      • Profile picture of the author mattlaclear
        Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

        Of course that's what happens, although for most phrases, it's going to take much more than a few headings. Your domain name has absolutely nothing to do with rankings. You can name a website absolutelynothingbutcats.com and have it rank for absolutely nothing but dogs.
        Hi Dave, fancy meeting you here.
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  • Profile picture of the author Devilfish168
    I don't think so? For an example Apple.

    Either people search for Apple a fruit or an Apple product.
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  • Profile picture of the author Saheem
    To Be honestly ... it works till now I tested before 4 months.
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    Saheem is my name and google is my game

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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Miller
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by Daniel Miller View Post

      So our target keyword for the business is

      Edited by Moderator

      and we purchased a domain named (Edited by Moderator ) hoping it would help in seo as its quite similar to the actual keyword. We just started the SEO for this domain. Is there a way to know if the domain name is helping?
      No, there isn't, other than doing everything you can to have it rank well (content, links, optimization, etc.) and then changing the domain name to something else and seeing what happens. Of course, that would be a pretty dumb thing to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author angrybudcom
    Folks, I'm not much into search, but the personal exp: here we have a history rotation now, as the internet started from brands and then we met a dark age when weird TLDs got promoted; we've got a whole flood, by then a loss of trust consequently; While "brands" show the intention, this is a long-term strategy anyway, I think. In my field look at the (howtogroweed420) vs, say, some (leafly)... Search is search, but which one you trust and buy more? Just my two pennies, don't shoot, I do not work on search, but the other approach...
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  • Profile picture of the author Justine2
    This article is interesting and it works so far.
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  • Profile picture of the author Uncle Dimitry
    Wow, 2012... so fresh
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  • Profile picture of the author hqwps hqwps786
    This article is interesting and it still works.
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  • Google likes Exact match domains so long as they are not spammy.
    If domain exactly matches the keyword then it continues to dominate the SERPs for keyword searches year after year .
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