Do Exact Match Domains Still Work Anymore?


Exact match domains (EMDs) have been as soon as extremely beneficial.

EMDs (domains that exactly match a search question that may possible drive visitors to your web site) tended to rank effectively.

When they ranked effectively, they drove tons of visitors.

If it was nonetheless 2012, it might be a no brainer to purchase an EMD.

But what about now? Do actual match domains nonetheless work?

Let’s discover.

What Did Google Do About EMDs?

In 2012, Matt Cutts, then Google’s chief spam fighter, introduced an algorithm change that was geared toward decreasing the quantity of low-quality actual match domains in search outcomes.

What did this imply?

instance of a low-quality (or spammy) EMD would possibly seem like this: buybluejeansnow.com.

The proprietor possible registered this area with the hope of simply rating for the key phrase “blue jeans”, which has an annual search quantity of 26,000, or “blue denim jeans” which is searched about 400 instances per yr.

Blue Jeans Search Volume

What’s the Problem with EMDs?

The drawback with EMDs is the truth that they’ve been abused previously.

A website that could possibly be thought of a EMD could possibly be a spammy web site if its URL precisely matches a search time period and has little else to supply guests.

Let’s return to the instance of buymybluejeans.com.

This website area was registered this yr, in July, and is barely 158 days outdated.

Now some may argue that may be a new area however judging from the area title and stats under, I imagine it was a spammy EMD.

The website solely has 7 backlinks that are coming from 2 referring domains, a DR of 0.2 and a UR score of 4.

Buybluejeans.com EMD example

The website does rank for Four key phrases within the U.S., however these key phrases aren’t that associated to blue denims and none of those key phrases are driving natural visitors as a result of they aren’t within the first web page of Google and are just about invisible within the SERPs.

Irrelevant keywords

Another concern with this website is that it doesn’t have any distinctive content material.

It’s principally a listing of URLs taken from completely different sources with no imagery that hyperlinks out to different websites.

Do Exact Match Domains Still Work Anymore?

Since the EMD replace, Google has actually cleaned up the search engine consequence pages and right here is a superb instance.

A seek for free on-line films solely has high-quality websites which can be rating for the search time period.

Sites like Softonic.com, Cnet.com, and Popcornflix.com all have nice area authority and a good variety of hyperlinks apart from Softonic.com which has solely 5 hyperlinks pointing to that web page that ranks however general the foundation area has tons of hyperlinks.

Site DA Links Age
https://en.softonic.com/solutions/what-are-the-best-websites-to-watch-free-movies-online-without-ads 90 5 13 Years
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/best-free-online-movie-streaming-services/ 92 309 22 Years
https://www.popcornflix.com/pages/discover/d/movies 68 120 14 Years

With the developments in machine studying and Google having a lot finish customers’ information to indicate what’s necessary and resonates with finish customers, and a rolling RankBrain algorithm, Google has gotten superb at understanding intent and giving customers what they wish to see within the search engine outcomes pages (SERPs).

Sites which can be deemed low high quality haven’t any place in Google’s SERPs at the moment, though that doesn’t cease spammers from attempting spammy techniques to make their technique to the highest.

Does Google Like Exact-Match Domains?

In my opinion, Google likes actual match domains that aren’t spammy and a great instance of this could be a website like Hotels.com.

Hotels.com is a website that’s over 24 years outdated and is an actual match area as a result of the area precisely matches the key phrase lodges.

The area lodges.com was bought for about $11 million.

This area title is a superb sign of consumer intent for these looking for lodges.

A consumer would have the ability to discover a resort room and would go to this website to search for a room close to their vacation spot of journey simply because it’s straightforward to recollect, share, and sort in.

The area has greater than 15 million hyperlinks from 40,000+ websites, based on Ahrefs.

Now if the area was on the market and if I had the cash (which I don’t), I’d absolutely purchase it.

Hotels.com Ahrefs

The website additionally has a website authority of 89 due to its content material, hyperlinks, and age. This is an actual authority area.

Hotels.com additionally ranks in Position 1 for the key phrase “hotels”, which is all the time catered towards your location; since Google localizes the outcomes on each cell and desktops.

The firm additionally has the precise technique by ensuring they’re the primary from a model perspective with the paid search listings displaying first and rating within the 1st natural place within the SERPs.

Of course, they’ll’t rank for native listings as a result of they don’t personal the lodges and is barely an OTA.

Hotels SERPs

Google initially had used the EMD replace to manage spam and clear up the SERPs.

By the top of 2012, Google realized some beneficial exact-match area holders had been penalized merely for having a catchy EMD, however they issued an replace to the algorithm that improved the worth of those domains and punished the websites that have been low-quality EMDs.

Should You Buy an EMD?

If you need an actual match area, be ready to do some in depth analysis.

Most of the nice EMDs are already owned.

If you could have some cash within the financial institution, be ready to shell out plenty of it to purchase a website which may be up on the market.

With many different area extensions to purchase (e.g., .enterprise, .firm), you is likely to be tempted to seize these to guard your new funding or model, however I simply don’t see too many websites apart from .com domains rank within the SERPs for aggressive key phrases.

Getting an actual match area can fulfill consumer intent and assist your model as a result of individuals know what your website needs to be about earlier than they go to it.

Once they land in your website it’s best to present them with nice content material and good consumer expertise, in order that they buy your services or products.

Anchor textual content optimization continues to be necessary if it’s combined. But should you get an actual match area and get high-quality hyperlinks from plenty of completely different referring domains, it is going to be pure as a result of it’s your model and so long as you observe search engine marketing greatest practices, you shouldn’t get penalized.

To discover good EMDs, I like to recommend:

  • Watching the information or search Google Trends.
  • Going to a website registrar.
  • Using social listening to seek out the most recent buzz phrases and go to see if the area is registered. If it’s not, safe it, create some high-quality content material, construct hyperlinks, get some social love, and make it a model.

Putting the time, effort, and cash behind your EMD may give you a aggressive benefit of constructing a model (not only a area title) that may maintain many recollections that you would be able to profit from later.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by writer, December 2018

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