Exact Match Domains

Imagine if you could have a domain name that gave you a higher position. You can. It's known as an "Exact Match Domain" or "EMD". This is a technique that has been successfully used in the past, and may still have a role today. However, before you do anything, spend 1 minute going through the following. Discover what it is, and how it is unlikely to be a magic bullet.

An exact match domain is one which exactly matches the phrase that someone is searching with. For example, if I were looking for "teeth whitening Aberdeen", the domain teeth-whitening-aberdeen.co.uk would have a definite advantage over one like fredsmithandpartners.co.uk.

An EMD has an advantage because it explicitly states in its name exactly what someone was looking for. That is why, in the past, some people made use of them. Indeed, that is why some people still try and rely on them. However, although they might have worked up to a point before, they will be much less effective today, and likely to become even less over time.

So why is it that something so obviously a good idea, might not actually be effective? There are at least 2 reasons, and they are related. First, it loses effectiveness a soon as what someone is looking for deviates from the domain name. For example, "where can I have a tooth whitened in Aberdeen?" Although Google is smart enough to detect the similarity, it is no longer an exact match. If all you were relying on was an exact match, then your strategy is unravelling.

The second reason is that the domain name is only one of over 200 factors that Google considers when deciding which results to display for each query. Therefore, if your website says very little, if anything, about teeth whitening in Aberdeen, then it is unlikely to score highly on these other factors, meaning that it probably won't rank highly on the results page.

Finally, as an aside to this, if you use an exact match domain to target one particular product or service, it might put people off who are looking for other products and services that you provide. They may think that you don't do other things, or they may even consider your highlighted product or service to be something with which they don't wish to be associated. Although this doesn't have a direct SEO impact, it is a powerful consideration for the commercialisation of your website.

If you don't use an exact match domain, then the above is just an explanation of why you probably shouldn't (at least not in isolation). But what if you do? If you don't care about your website marketing, then it's not really an issue. However, you wouldn't have read this far, would you?

Usually I would suggest that you first contact whomever looks after your website. However, website design and website marketing are two different skill sets. That is why web designers pass clients to us. Get in touch and I can tell you how we could help you.

By Kenneth Mackay, 3rd March, 2015

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

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