An exact match domain (EMD) is a domain name that matches the exact keywords or phrase you’re trying to rank for on Google. For example, if you were a plumbing business in New York City, an exact match domain would be plumbernewyorkcity.com. Let’s find out Exact match domains in detail.
EMDs are also called keyword domains. They were a popular means for SEOs to rank well and fast. The belief is that if you have relevant content on a domain that matches the key phrases contained in the URL, you’d have a better chance of ranking for that phrase.
Creating a compelling website involves careful consideration of its domain name, a crucial aspect that significantly impacts online visibility and user engagement. Among the options available, “exact match domains” (EMDs) are gaining attention in the digital realm. An exact match domain precisely matches the search query that a user enters into a search engine. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of utilizing exact match domains to help you make an informed decision when choosing a domain name for your online presence.
Do exact match domains still work?
Yes, exact match domains can still be effective for SEO. They can still feature prominently for local search terms. However, their effectiveness has decreased in recent years.
Google has introduced countermeasures to ensure that low-quality websites don’t attain a high Page Rank just because they have the relevant search term in the domain name. For example, Hotels.com is an exact match domain that continues to dominate the SERPs for hotel searches.
Exact match domains can still be effective for SEO because they can:
- Significantly boost your SEO ranking on search engines
- Give better clues to what your website is about
- Help users find the information they want
- Have multiple keywords with search volume in the domain name
- Rank higher than other branded term domains
Pros of Exact Match Domains
1. Keyword Relevance and SEO Boost
One of the primary advantages of exact match domains is their direct relevance to the search queries users make. When the domain exactly matches the keywords users are searching for, search engines often perceive the website as highly relevant to those keywords. This relevance can boost the website’s search engine ranking, resulting in increased visibility and more organic traffic.
2. Improved Click-through Rates (CTR)
An exact match domain tends to be more memorable and intuitive for users, especially when it aligns with their search intent. Users are more likely to click on a link that mirrors their search query, leading to higher click-through rates. A clear and relevant domain name enhances user trust and can potentially lead to a higher CTR in search results.
3. Credibility and Authority
A domain that matches the user’s search query precisely can impart a sense of authority and credibility to the website. Users may view the website as a reliable source due to the alignment of the domain name with their specific needs or interests. This perception can positively influence user engagement, trust, and the overall reputation of the website.
4. Easier Marketing and Branding
Exact match domains simplify marketing efforts by conveying the website’s purpose and content directly through the domain name. This simplicity in branding can lead to more effective marketing strategies and reduce the need for elaborate explanations. It enables businesses to focus on promoting their domain while simultaneously promoting relevant keywords.
Cons of Exact Match Domains
1. Potential for Oversaturation
Over time, exact match domains within a specific niche can become oversaturated, making it challenging for new websites to find an available exact match domain that suits their brand. As the popularity of this strategy grows, securing a suitable exact match domain may become increasingly difficult.
2. Limitations on Branding and Flexibility
Exact match domains may limit branding opportunities, as they are often more focused on keywords than on creating a unique brand identity. This could restrict the website’s potential for growth and diversification into broader or related topics. A brand-focused, unique domain allows for more creativity and adaptability in the long run.
3. Susceptibility to Algorithm Changes
Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and what works today might not yield the same results tomorrow. Relying heavily on an exact match domain as an SEO strategy makes the website more vulnerable to changes in search engine algorithms. An algorithm update might decrease the perceived value of exact match domains, affecting the website’s ranking.
4. Perception of Spammy Behavior
Some users and search engines may associate exact match domains with spammy or low-quality websites, especially if these domains are overused or poorly utilized. This perception can hinder the website’s credibility and user trust, potentially resulting in lower traffic and decreased conversions.
When exact match domains are not available?
In that case, once can search for a partial match domain. A partial match domain (PMD) is a domain name that contains part of the keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for. It’s a combination of your primary keyword and some other words that define your business or industry. For example, if you were a plumbing business, a partial match domain could be Bobs-localplumbers.com or Brightside-plumbers.com.
The main difference between partial match domains and exact match domains is that partial match domains also include other words, or include only part of a keyword. For example, some successful brands have used other words with the main keyword such as “hut”, “hub”, “network”, and “market”.
Some examples of partial match domains include:
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