An Exact Match Domain or EMD is a URL that consists of the keyword or combination of keywords for which the website in question is supposed to be optimized. This is why some people call this type of domain a “keyword domain”.
For a long time, Exact Match Domains were a popular way for SEO professionals to rank correctly and quickly for a specific keyword.
Other studies have shown thathaving an EMD can drive clicks with PPCas it targets a particular search query.
However, the influence of these keywords on rankings decreased after Google’s EMD update. This has completely changed the game with the Exact Match Domain.
To get a deeper understanding of this concept, I highly recommend you to read this article carefully
Chapter 1: What is an Exact Match Domain?
In this first chapter, we’re going to use the basic concepts to give you a good understanding of the Exact Match Domain notion.
Here are a few points to cover:
- Its definition and history;
- What EMD is;
- The advantages and disadvantages of EMD.
1.1. meaning and history of EMD
To better see, we will talk about the brief history of Exact Match Domain after explaining what this concept means.
1.1.1. Definition of EMD
It is simply a domain name that is identical or almost identical to a search phrase entered in Google.
For example, if you were a plumbing company in Paris, an Exact Match Domain would be plumbingparis.com.
Here is another example:
It should be noted that although in terms of SEO domains consisting of dashes do not usually have as much power, they are considered EMDs
It should also be kept in mind that top-level domains or EMDs with second or third level domain extensions such as .biz or .online. are not to be neglected when talking about EMDs.
Now let’s talk about EMDs according to context and scope:
1.2.1. Exact Match Domain by context
An EMD seems to have many advantages at first sight, because visitors will have an idea of what content is immediately waiting for them when they click on the link
For example, shoesforwomen.com immediately gives you the idea that this is a company that specializes in selling women’s shoes.
As this example shows, an EMD does not have to contain a single individual keyword, but can be a combination of keywords. The domain, however, must match the search query exactly to qualify as an EMD.
Since keywords have long been an important ranking factor, it was obvious that an EMD should get better rankings with the appropriate keyword
For this reason, many domains were traded at very high prices. For example, the domain hanfblätter. from hempleaves.com changed ownership for 2,500.00 EUR according to SEDO
In addition, there are rumors that important keyword domains were sold for six or even seven figures.
1.2.2. Exact Match Domain by scope
In SEO, EMD has long been used to build link networks with satellite sites, thus strengthening a domain with strong backlinks relevant to the content
In addition, many affiliate marketers have used Exact Match Domains, due to their high relevance to specific topics.
Since EMDs were designed to get as much traffic as possible for a specific keyword, this had greatly helped the affiliate strategy in terms of clicks
In effect, visitors are directed to the advertised website via affiliate links to purchase offers.
Another way of using EMDs that has been practiced for a long time is redirection to other domains. Webmasters would buy several domains with search terms matching their own website and then redirected to their home page
Even major portals like Amazon operated with keyword domains that were redirected via a 301 redirect to the main site for a long time
Furthermore, advertising campaigns are another area of application of Exact Match Domains. Many big brands redirect their slogans to their homepage. One example is Nike
If you try to search for justdoit.com on the net, you will land directly on nike.com. This would mean that Nike owns this domain.
1.1.2. History of EMD
The use of Exact Match Domain was one of the best ranking strategies at the time. Until 2010-2011, anyone with a website built on an EMD could enjoy an impressive ranking
This effect was possible even if the site is poorly built to compete.
SEOs with harmful intentions quickly followed the trend and started building their sites on EMDs. This meant that one-page affiliate sites began to outrank quality sites.
Google’s latest EMD update, in september 2012, made a series of changes to provide users with better search results and their experience using the search engine.
This time, Google made the update known as “EMD”, and with which it is intended to free the SERPs from spam or poor quality websites.
Since the update of thealgorithm update EMD algorithm update, Google has changed the advantage of domains with the exact keyword, with the aim of eliminating spam sites from their search results. The goal is to present better results to their users.
1.2 What is the EDM update?
According to Matt Cutts, the EMD update update aims to reduce low quality domains in search results.
Based on what has happened so far, Google does not intend to remove all sites with EMDs, but rather to put an alert on search results about bad experiences its users might have.
This algorithm will be applied more than once, so that sites that were not detected can be removed from search results later.
What Google wants is for its search results to be natural and without tricks. What used to be one of the most powerful SEO tactics could now compromise a website’s chances of ranking well.
There is no estimate of the exact number of websites affected, nor the degree of impact. All that is known is that many have suffered a significant drop in ranking
Some websites that were on the first page of results ended up beyond position 100. There is evidence that not all Exact Domain Match sites were affected by this update.
To differentiate between Exact Domain Match sites with poor quality content and relevant content, Google likely uses trust indicators such as
- Inbound links;
- Content quality;
- Spam score;
- Social signals
1.3. Advantages and disadvantages of EMD?
Today, getting the domain match you want will be expensive, especially if you are looking for a ”com” containing a highly searched keyword. You are better off choosing other extensions, as there are so many more options to consider
However, if you find a domain that fits your budget and your brand exactly, the benefits are enormous.
The advantages of EMDs s can be summarized as follows:
- They are easier to remember;
- They allow you to get traffic with long tail keywords;
- They generate direct visits because visitors can type the domain name directly into the search bar of their browser when they are looking for a product or service (input traffic);
- They allow to get the best anchor text with which it can be linked
- Prevent brand name similarities later on;
- They get social mentions via keywords;
- They are linked to potential niche markets;
- They are effective for generic commercial and local searches.
Add to that the right marketing strategy in an exploding space, can become a regular occurrence for your business.
Just as EMDs have advantages that benefit webmasters well, they also have some disadvantages which are as follows:
They may not be available the EMD domain you want to register may already be registered due to its potential. In this case, there is no other option than to change the strategy or register a similar keyword or phrase
In this case, we find PMD (Partial Match Domain) domains. The disadvantage of this type of domains is that they do not rank as easily as EMD domains, because they do not contain the keyword, but they are also quite powerful.
Similar domains following the previous case, it is likely that over time other similar or even very similar websites will emerge. For example, like the example bootsdefutbol.com, the domain biscuitcreme.com domain may be created
This can steal traffic, leads and confusion. This is the main drawback of many EMDs
Chapter 2: How to adjust your SEO strategy with EMD?
Just because your site has an EMD, you won’t necessarily lose your ranking. If you create quality content and practice good SEO, you have nothing to worry about
The most important way to ensure that your EMD site sees a higher ranking is to adopt great SEO. Here are some rules:
2.1. Improve your content
One of the most notorious mistakes EMDs of the past have made is creating a site with bad content. The idea was that builders didn’t have to put much effort into creating their content, because the site would still rank because of the domain name
Now, this is no longer true. You need to create great content that will satisfy your visitors and that Google will recognize and reward with higher rankings.
2.2. create internal and external links
An incredibly effective way to showcase your site authority is to create internal and and external links. But these links must be relevant and, if they are external links, they must come from respected and legitimate sites.
2.3) Check out Google’s quality guidelines
Google doesn’t give you a step-by-step to-do list explaining how to rank at the top of its SERPs
Take the time to consider what Google’s webmasters are looking for. It will save you a lot of time and trouble if you can create your site with these factors in mind
If your site is already built with an EMD and you are just trying to restructure to get your ranking back, don’t worry
Regain momentum after a setback, as it may seem insurmountable, but Google gives you everything you need to know to do so.
2.4. Tips on choosing an EMD
While EMDs tend to be quite effective compared to domain names domain names, not all are created equal. Some may offer you many ranking advantages, while others may put you at a disadvantage
The following guidelines will help you make a better choice:
- Length of your domain
The length of your domain is critical. Domains with less than 15 characters are considered the most ideal. This rule only partially applies to EMDs
For domains with a .comextension, you should aim for a name that does not exceed three keywords, ideally two. The one that comes with a .net or .org should be kept to two keywords in length if possible.
- The hyphens
The dashes are another factor that influences the ranking potential of EMDs. Ideally, do not include any in your domain. However, EMDs with a single dash such as ”Web-marketing.com” can still be ranked higher than many regular sites.
Avoid by all means domains that have two or more dashes as they are associated with spam.
Not to mention empty words in domains and URLs negatively influence ranking
Chapter 3: Other questions about the Exact Match Domain
3.what is an Exact Match Domain?
Let’s say you purchased the domain ”hotelsalyon.com” or ”hotels-a-lyon.com”. This is a domain that exactly matches the search term “hotels in lyon”
In other words, an exact match domain is a domain that exactly matches a search term that users are likely to use.
3.2. Do Exact Match Domains still work?
Exact Match Domains (EMDs), while not as valuable to Google as they once were, still have a role to play in successful SEO, which includes certain target industries and local searches
3.3. does Google penalize EMD sites?
The answer is yes, but not all EMD sites. Google has rolled out a new algorithm update in which it penalizes low quality EMD sites (EMD penalty). These are mainly sites filled with spam and poor quality content
In short, this new algorithm change will only affect “exact match” domains with low quality content.
3.4. Are Exact Match Domains bad?
This is simply a domain name that is identical (or nearly identical) to a search phrase entered into Google
While EMDs are not inherently bad for SEO, in the past, site builders have taken advantage of them to rank high in Google without putting any effort into content production or site creation.
In all, it is only bad when accompanied by bad intentions.
3.5. How to choose a domain name optimized for SEO?
- Use top-level domain extensions like .com or .fr ;
- Opt for branded domain names;
- Make sure your domain name is short;
- Make sure there are no dashes and numbers in your domain name;
- Make sure it is easy to type and memorable;
- Do not use repeated letters;
- Use domain name generators to find new domain ideas
In short, the use of Exact Match Domains is a very viable strategy that has proven successful to this day, although it no longer has the same impact on SEO since Google’s EMD update.
When used with good intentions and especially the respect of the good practices listed during this guide, the Webmaster will be able to enjoy many of these benefits.
By choosing an Exact Match Domain of about two to three keywords at most, and that is definitely not associated with spam, you can certainly improve your ranking.
If you have any other questions, please let us know in the comments!
See you soon!