Do exact match domains rank in search engines?
Exact match domains (EMD) is a difficult conversation to have for many website owners, developers and SEO professionals.
Each has their own isolated experiences of success and failure when using exact match domains, both pre and post Google EMD update.
If you don’t know about the Google EMD update, then I suggest you do a little reading on how Google released an exact match domains update.
In short, Google created a filter to remove low/poor quality websites using exact match domains from ranking in search engine results.
Because websites using exact match domains contained the keywords in the domains that users used when searching, they were easily ranked as authoritative websites in search results.
With the intro of the Google EMD update, many website owners and developers were hit hard in loss of rankings, traffic and revenue.
Others were penalized to the point of de-indexed in some cases for their websites using exact match domains, also known as keyword domains.
From sea to shining sea, you’ll read and hear mixed reviews when attempting to find a final resolve for whether you should or should not use exact match domains.
However, my hope is to help you thoroughly understand why and how exact match domains can be used effectively and ineffectively.
Why exact match and partial match domains were so effective
The reality of the Google EMD update was it penalized legitimate businesses.
As with most loopholes pertaining to SEO, exact match domains provided a method to drive exponential traffic in an inexpensive manner.
Think about this for a moment:
Would you pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for paid search marketing when all you had to do was pay for and renew a $10 domain name that would guarantee you to rank in one of the top 3 positions in search engines?
For instance, if you were fortunate enough to own exact match domains for the top costliest keywords, such as insurance, loans, mortgage, and legal to name few, then you were able to rank in the top three positions in search engines without backlinks and in amazingly short periods of time.
For exact match domain owners, their only cost was the annual renewal registration fee of the exact match domains when not using other paid forms of internet marketing.
Before the Google EMD update, you could perform the following steps with exponential success, ranking within weeks, if not days or hours:
- Buy exact match or partial match domains
- Purchase lightning fast and affordable shared hosting or VPS host plans
- Develop countless mini-sites and
- Link wheels of useless information using the same keywords as in the domain
Many website owners, developers and SEO professionals in the know about the exact match and partial match domains loophole were performing this process at mass and for as many websites as humanly possible to create.
And if you didn’t use the exact match domain for your own project, you could make a hefty amount of cash leasing, flipping, or selling exact match domains.
So you can only imagine what the Google EMD update did to website owners, developers and SEO professionals using exact match domains as a way to game the search engines and a source of exponential passive income.
Once the update hit, many of the churn and burn poor quality websites were ushered exit stage left from page one search ranking results as were legitimate websites using exact match domains.
Most of the legitimate websites using exact match domains and sound, practical SEO practices have recouped a little ground since the Google EMD update debuted.
But it goes without saying, those websites lost a tremendous amount of traffic and revenue until the smoke cleared in the great exact match domain divide.
Why partial match and exact match domains are quite effective
Yes, the Google EMD update has transfigured the landscape of search forever. But don’t let the Google EMD update jade your thoughts about using exact match domains. Here’s why…
Personally, I’ve found success using exact match and partial match domains and having each to rank well on page one of Google search results for multiple terms.
In addition, one of the things I think that most people discount or do not think about in regards to exact match domains is type-in traffic.
Owning and using exact match domains in a legitimate manner, not with a primary or sole focus to game search engines for top rankings, can lead you to exponential traffic and bypass search engines all together.
For instance, let’s just say you own a credit repair company.
You identify keywords that are consistently and heavily searched on a monthly basis by potential customers in need of credit repair.
You buy the exact match domains for each credit repair, credit repair services and credit repair resources.
If you did not already have a primary website, then you could develop a website using CreditRepair.com and redirect the type-in traffic of other exact match domains, CreditRepairServices.com and CreditRepairResources.com, to the primary website.
If you have an existing website, then you can forward or redirect the traffic of the exact match domains to your primary website on another domain or even have a high-quality content website developed on each domain.
Exact match domains lend themselves to ranking well in search engines, but also receiving profitable type-in traffic based on the fact that people sometimes type in their search keywords into the web browser and append .com to the end of their search keywords or phrase.
Potential customers bypass search engines and results, and should you be the lucky owner of the exact match domain, then you’ve shut the door on the competition while lowering your internet marketing spend considerably and reliance on search engines.
Exact match domain traffic essentially knocks on your door first and last should your services and customer service be of high quality.
Intent of use will determine your outcome…
In humble my opinion, I’ve found that using exact match domains in an honest manner to not game search engines has landed me business from both search engines and type-in traffic.
Most of the niches I focus upon are ranking in the top position on page one of major search engines, and converting customers.
I stayed the course and focused on creating user-centric websites with high-quality content, effectively using white-hat SEO tactics only.
I have been rewarded quite handsomely not only in search engines, but with users socially sharing my websites with a multitude of people, exponentially increasing each website’s search relevancy.
And because the exact match domains I use are short and use memorable keywords, they provide each business with instant credibility whether listed in search results or mentioned in a conversation or advertising.
And I’m sure you’re wondering what those exact match domains are as well as their niches.
But me telling, as any successful internet marketer knows, would be a cardinal sin and invite a world of competition in to lessen my market share. Sorry, you’ll have to find your own niche, whether global, national or even local.
In mean time, just remember that whether or not you use exact match domains and garner both search engine ranking and financial success comes down to intent of use.
Plain and simple: never attempt to game search engines for the sake of short-term traffic and profits.