Exact Match Domain

Are Exact Match Domains Still Relevant?

Exact Match Domain

Also known as EMDs, Exact Match Domains once had a lot of value attached to them.

So what exactly is an Exact Match Domain? An EMD, or Exact Match Domain, is basically the name given to a domain name that matches a search query absolutely exactly. This helps in driving a great amount of traffic to the website, especially if these were ranked well.

About 5 years ago, buying an Exact Match Domain would have been an absolute no-brainer. But we’re heading into 2019, so the question arises – are they still relevant? Do Exact Match Domains work even now?

Let’s explore this topic in this article.

Did Google do Anything About Exact Match Domains?

Seven years ago, in 2012, Matt Cutts, who was Google’s chief spam fighter back then, made a significant move by announcing that Google will make a noteworthy change to its algorithm to fight low-quality EMDs in search results. He declared that Google will try to reduce the amount of EMDs.

To provide you an example of what this meant, let’s look at the following URL: buybluejeansnow.com.

While this is an assumption, it is still a very fair assumption that the owner probably registered this domain to easily rank for the keyword ‘blue jeans’ or ‘blue denim jeans’ both of which have significant search volume. In fact, ‘blue jeans’ has a search volume of 26000 per annum whereas ‘blue denim jeans’ has an annual search volume of 400.

But, What’s the Problem? Why are EMDs Looked Down Upon?

Actually, the reason behind this is that EMDs have been less used for relevant material and more abused in the past.

More often that not, an EMD website turns out to be a spammy website whenever the URL matches an exact search term but the website doesn’t really offer anything to the visitors.

To explain this further, let’s check out buymybluejeans.com. This website domain was registered only earlier this year. In fact, the website is less than 170 days old. While there’s no dearth of people who would argue that the website is just new, we believe that it is a spammy website. To prove this, let’s look at some facts: the domain name is an EMD, the site has only 7 backlinks, all of which are coming from only 2 referring domains. To make matters worse, it has a DR of 0.2 and a UR rating of 4.

The website does rank for 4 keywords in the US, but they are not that relevant since they are not directly related to blue jeans. Another important factor here is that none of these keywords are generating organic traffic since they are not showcased on the first page of Google, nor are they visible in the SERPs.

Another vary major issue with this website is that the content on this is not original. In fact, all the content shared here is just basically a list of URLs which have all been taken from different sources. No images are used, and the content links out to other websites.

Ever since the update on EMDs, Google has been working really hard to clean up the search engine result pages. This has led to significant results. For instance, when you search for free online movies, you only get results for high-quality websites that are currently ranking for that search term.

Even sites like Cnet.com, Softonic.com and Popcornflix.com have a great amount of domain authority and an apt number of links. Only softnic.com is one site out of these that doesn’t have a lot of links. In fact, the page in question has only give links pointing to it, but the root domain has a lot of links and that pretty much makes up for it.

Google is now equipped with loads and loads of end-user data. All of that coupled with a rolling RankBrain algorithm makes it absolutely great at understanding the users’ intent and providing them only what they really intend to see in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

While Google is trying its absolute best to keep the quality of SERPs totally top-notch, it doesn’t stop spammers who will try and make their way to the top using their spammy tactics, no matter what.

So, What is Google Status on EMDs?

While this is a personal opinion, it has a significant basis – Google likes EMDs as long as they are not spammy. For example, hotels.com – it is 24 years old, it was purchased for about $11 million and the domain name is an exact match for the search term: hotels. For a user, it is great to remember and the website provides just what the names suggest: hotel rooms. The website is very significantly rated with more than 15000 links from over 40000+ sites. It is also ranked no. 1 for the search keyword ‘hotels’

Are You Thinking of Buying an EMD?

Well, be prepared. You need to do a lot of research, and have a decent amount of money to pay for the domain since most EMDs are already owned.

While there are alternative domain extensions like .biz or .company, don’t just get tempted since domains other than .com domains don’t do well where ranking in SERPs is concerned.

But, there is no denying that an EMD can satisfy user intent even before they go to your website, since it provides them the exact knowledge of what your website is about. But once they land on your site, you must have a good user experience and great content to keep them around.

In Order to Find Good EMDs, You Can Follow the Steps Below:

  1. Go to a domain registrar for best results
  2. Do your research and find the latest buzzwords and keywords and check if that domain is registered. If it’s not already taken, buy it and turn it into a brand by creating high-quality content, popularizing it on social media.
  3. Put extensive time and effort and, if required, money into your EMD for a competitive advantage. This will help you build a brand out of a domain name and you can benefit from this later.