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  1. #1
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    Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

    I was doing some research for a client who was trying to decide between an exact-match domain and a branded domain and came across this really useful study. It's from the end of 2014 but I would say it's still accurate (not that much has changed from a year and a half ago). The study had some pretty compelling arguments for keyword-rich domains.

    • Keyword domains rank on average 11% higher than brandable domains
    • Brandable domains needed an average of 40,000 more links to hit #1, and 35,000 more links to reach the Top 10
    • Brandable domains needed 69% higher Domain Authority and 22% higher Page Authority to rank in the Top 10
    • Keyword domains were able to hit #1 with half as much content, and only using the keyword half as frequently
    • Looking at all Ranking Factors, itís clear that keyword domains rank more easily due to higher Website Relevancy and Website Ext Relevancy scores

  2. #2
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    Re: Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

    Wow, thanks for sharing Joy. That's definitely a good case to go with a branded domain. On the other hand, I know it can be harder to earn links, get recognition, and stay memorable if you have a generic name. What do you think about using a domain name that's different from the brand name, but still keeping the brand name trustworthy and memorable? For a local business owner, I suppose that might mean having 'portlandselfstorage.com' but all the NAP info and website content would of course reflect the real business name. Is that what you're considering? And if you did that, would you 301 a branded domain as well for business cards and so on (not to mention branded email addresses)?

  3. #3
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    Re: Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

    Thanks for providing the hard ans fast facts. Our clients ask us all the time if EMDs still have value and that answer is a resounding "yes." Now we have some numbers to show them to back up our experience.
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    Re: Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

    I like to point out "Bellevue Dentist" when someone asks about EMDs.
    Half the domains on page one (organic) are PMDs with city + Dental or Dentistry.

    So one bad thing is they all tend to blend in. Could cause confusion with pts.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

    geez, what an ugly search result to dish out. I hope Google nerfs business names at least as a search factor sometime sooner than later, but for the time being it's at least good to know what works.

  6. #6
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    Re: Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

    If I was opening a new business, I would absolutely get a keyword-rich domain. I think Andrew Shotland was genius for naming his company Local SEO Guide and grabbing "Apple Maps Marketing" before Apple Maps is a huge deal (I'm sure it will be in the future).

  7. #7
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    Re: Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

    I think it's less about the domain, and more about what you do with it. If you're building micro-sites out of EMD's, but not promoting them effectively then it will do about as well as a branded domain with the same level of effort. It all depends what you put into it. I've played with EMDs for obscure queries with low search volume, and I didn't see immediate gains from the domain alone. I can see EMDs working if they're short, since they would be easy to remember. Their example of "Tahoe Lodging" is a good example, especially because the company is called "Lake Tahoe Lodging Company." As long as your branding is consistent everywhere, then it can work.

    Like Linda also mentioned, if you follow the competition with EMDs you might blend in too much. I'd rather find a good brand to use over an EMD.

    Another issue with I see with EMDs is they could pigeon-hole you. If you do a specific EMD geared towards a product or service you offer, it would be tough to expand your offering. You're better off creating a memorable brand and market it right.
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  8. #8
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    Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

    I love emd's and pmd's. In fact I just purchased 7 this week. All for local businesses, specifically dental offices and ortho offices. I paid between $2,400 to $3,400 each. They were all exact match service + geo. The creation dates on Whois date back to 1999 on the .coms and 2004 on the .cas

    It's not just keyword matching. I buy those domains because they are seasoned, meaning the creation dates in Whois date back 10 to 15 yrs. And when I place them with a 30 yr dental practice something magical happens.

    This is from my old school bag of tricks dudes. Consider yourself blessed if you're reading this.
    Last edited by CodyBaird; 05-12-2016 at 10:21 AM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

    So are you 301'ing them into another domain or using them as the primary?
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  10. #10
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    Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

    Using as primary and 301 the current website to emd

    Same thing goes if a business closes. I probably want that old, seasoned URL.

    But what if it had a penalty? Don't care. Still want it if it was created in the early 2000's or 90s.

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