Exact match domains and their SEO value.

Consider exact match domains and their value when performing SEO

Exact match domains (EMDs) are domain names that contain the exact name of a business or an exact keyword for ranking high in search engines.

Because of the value and quality of such premium domains, people started registering exact match domains just to rank high and did not have anything worthwhile to offer.

Google launched an exact match domain algorithm to track such domains down and giving them less weight than those that were actually real websites and not spam.

So, today we will address the question of why companies should consider exact match domains when performing search engine optimization (SEO)?

Types of exact match domains

The factors that contribute to the popularity and value of any domain name, including exact match domains, include the following:

  • its extension such as .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov, .co, .biz, or .info just to name a few
  • number of keywords in the name such as one, two, three or four keyword or keyword phrases
  • hyphened or non-hyphened
  • domain names that include stop words like “and”, “in”, “or”, etc.
  • domain names that include adjectives like “Amazing”, “Top”, “Cheap”, “Best”, etc.

Domain names and their role in SEO

The last category of domain names is known as partial match domains, which are definitely less valuable than exact match domains. 

Hyphened or non-hyphened exact match domains

Exact match domains, as well as domain names in general, that contain one or more dashes are less expensive than others and therefore spammers usually register them because they need such names in bulk.

However, a domain name with a single dash or hyphen is now considered perfectly well because of the ever-growing competition in the online world.

Such domain names rank fine in search engines and therefore SEO experts don’t really consider them bad.

Some people are of the opinion that domain names with a single dash that rank high in search engines are actually old domains that were registered more than ten years ago and this is the reason for their popularity.

Even if your domain does not have a keyword in it but it does not have a hyphen either, then it will rank just fine in top search engines if everything within the context of SEO is handled properly.

Number of keywords matters for exact match domains

But of course domains with keywords have more weight; only you have to be careful with the number of keywords in a single domain.

Usually 2 to 3 keywords are considered fine for .com and .org domains.

More than 4 keywords is a bad idea and are considered a way of spamming by most search engines.

Think again, exact match domains and their extensions matter

The type of extension also improves the quality of a domain. In this context, .com domains are considered the best although new domain name extensions will soon be released.

However, .co, .me, .info, .net and .org domains have also made their mark in the SEO world given they contain a single exact-match keyword or 2 keywords at maximum.

The buck “stops” and starts with exact match domains

Domains with words that are extremely common are not considered as exact match domains.

These words are known as “stop words” in the SEO world.

Search engines are usually designed to return search results quickly and this can be achieved only if the search term is short.

People who are new to internet search do not know to not use stop words include words like “the”, “and”, “or”, etc. in their search queries.

Search engines, on the other hand, are intelligent entities so they ignore these stop words and search only for nouns or important words that appear in the query.

So, be very careful in choosing the number of stop words in your domain name to make it an exact match domain.

It is best to avoid using stop words altogether but if you have no other option, then include just one common word in your domain to make it as close to an EMD as possible.

Exact match domains do help SEO efforts

In closing, exact match domains are definitely valuable for businesses when considering search engine optimization particularly if they want to rank high in major search engines within a short span of time.

If you have an old domain name, then you may want to consider other SEO techniques than registering a type of exact match domain.

Just be sure to consider the above-mentioned guidelines when purchasing or leasing domain names, greatly increasing the domain name odds of ranking well across major search engines.

I would love to hear your exact match domain experience or questions you have in regards to exact match SEO.


Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.