Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?

cdawg2610

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Jul 2, 2013
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Linda - I was wondering the same thing. I have yet to see any of these types of domains rank for any competitive local terms but I think it's because they are just too new. We'll probably start seeing them in years from now. They've only been around a short period of time and I think Cody is correct that age is a really big factor.
At least in the automotive vertical, there's some people pushing them claiming that the exact match will rank over the .com and a whole range of fluff that makes my head hurt.

Yes, an exact match for a keyword no one is searching on will cause a .cars domain to rank for that term.
 
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Jul 16, 2014
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I would say that it depends on the industry and customer audience. If you're a tech company startup, using one of the new GTLD domain names has many benefits. It is affordable, could allow you to mix an EMD with a branded domain and it is trusted by a young internet savvy audience.

However, if you're a nursing home, perhaps a law firm or a business that deals with older clientele where high trust is necessary, a .com domain is likely the best bet.

A study was just published on this... Interesting to see some results on Google Adwords and Organic speculation:

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/moving-new-gtld-domain-name-help-rankings/163098/
 

cdawg2610

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I would say that it depends on the industry and customer audience. If you're a tech company startup, using one of the new GTLD domain names has many benefits. It is affordable, could allow you to mix an EMD with a branded domain and it is trusted by a young internet savvy audience.

However, if you're a nursing home, perhaps a law firm or a business that deals with older clientele where high trust is necessary, a .com domain is likely the best bet.

A study was just published on this... Interesting to see some results on Google Adwords and Organic speculation:

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/moving-new-gtld-domain-name-help-rankings/163098/
SOO many things wrong with that .cars study. This is so much more a study on proper 301 re-directs when moving to a new domain, not the .cars domain. The evidence that the new domain didn't hurt has nothing to do with the extension and everything to do with 301 properly.

In the keywords aspect of the cars model, you can manipulate keyword data to prove any point. I find it interesting the "study" doesn't say which ones, which makes me think it's fluff and not attached to any sort of intent.

I could keep going on LOL...
 

JoyHawkins

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Well there is no shortage of opinions on this topic. Just read a new one:

"Exact match domains with a location qualifier - Arguably the most old-hat technique in this post is the use of exact match domains with location qualifier.

These are website URLs which use a combination of service–keyword + location in them, as opposed to the business name or brand.

A typical example of this is www.electricianboston.com

These types of domains reek of manipulative search engine practices. They were very common a few years back, in the pre-Panda and pre-Pigeon era, but even today Google’s index is still awash with businesses using this approach [...]

Using a brand-led domain is better. It’s more favourable in the eyes of Google and it conveys more user trust and will make your link-outreach and promotion efforts far easier."


https://www.brightlocal.com/2016/05/18/5-local-seo-tactics-you-need-to-stop-doing-today/
 

Eric Rohrback

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It's kind of funny how long it took me to come around to this way of thinking, but I'm definitely in the same camp Cody's in. Just because someone on some blog said it doesn't work anymore, doesn't make it true. The only real way to know if it will work in your CURRENT SCENARIO is to try it out. There are so many variables at play for every single business, there's no telling what will work and what won't. The only way to go is to form a scientific approach, and test the theory. The more documentation and stats you have, the better the next attempt will be (and easier).

As long as you're not duplicating copy, creating crappy links, or doing something else bad to these domains, what's the argument why they couldn't do well like Cody's pointed out? I think some great points have been made for trying this, but I haven't exactly seen awesome rebuttals.

I can't even agree with this:
"Using a brand-led domain is better. It’s more favourable in the eyes of Google and it conveys more user trust and will make your link-outreach and promotion efforts far easier."

Although I like Brand domains for long term play (expansion), if all you care about is being known as a general electrician in Boston then electricianboston.com sounds great. Also how does anyone know brand-name domain vs EMD does better for link outreach/Google favors brand name more? That seems like pure speculation to me.
 

Tony Wang

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Oct 13, 2014
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Great discussion, Cody - special thanks for the epic info. Any chance you can give us a list of cities you're in? I'm going to make sure I stay far away:D
 

CodyBaird

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Tony,
You bet. Hopefully you can start testing those concepts.

Don't stay away. Come compete and make us better.
 

Tim Colling

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This entire thread is very enlightening and thought-provoking.

Cody, do you buy these emds on behalf of your clients and register them in your clients' names, or do you purchase them for your own inventory and then "rent" them to clients, or do you do this some other way?

Thanks!
 

CodyBaird

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Tim
I am part of the free data movement. I register them into my clients names.
I'm not cool with agencies keeping GMB pages or other digital profiles. Or registrar info. Or anything like it.

Those tactics feel like the mafia shaking down the Brooklyn street merchant 100 years ago.

I have clients that have been with me for 5 years now. Paying 3 to 9k per month. I've never had a contract. They stay because I add value month in and out. Things like emd's.

PS
Whois.com is a very very important citation. You want it to match your NAP.
 

Tim Colling

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...I am part of the free data movement. I register them into my clients names. I'm not cool with agencies keeping GMB pages or other digital profiles. Or registrar info. Or anything like it. Those tactics feel like the mafia shaking down the Brooklyn street merchant 100 years ago...
I agree with that philosophy, I just wondered what your approach was.

I see a lot of trickery in my industry niche, with companies misleading clients on this sort of thing, selling them on the ideas of "listings" in proprietary directories that the vendors disguise as being just like websites.


...PS Whois.com is a very very important citation. You want it to match your NAP.
Thanks. Was that directed at me in particular? Do you see an issue on my site? If so, I'd love to know about it. Thanks!
 

CodyBaird

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Not directed at anything other than if the registrar is in the agency name instead of the business name - the NAP profile will be compromised.
 
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Howdy, LSF Members.

Let me first thank Eric Rohrback (#2) for redirecting me to this thread. I have read every post... and appreciate the intelligent and down-to-earth experiential comments that have been shared!

Thank you to Linda Buquet for starting this forum. I have been a Warror Forum member since 2003... and have read many of her posts... however I'd like to say that this is one of the best forum posts I have read so far.

Thank you to Cody Baird for many posts sharing actual details to smart strategies and his awesome, fearless attitude!

Thank you to Joy Hawkins (#1) particularly for the Keyword Domain study STATS provided, which I will incorporate into my geo domain sales pages.


Now here's my question:

Does anyone have a STUDY based on Google SERP results as impacted by Trade + City Domain websites similar to the Keyword Domain study above?


Looking forward to contributing some meaningful value to this forum and thread as well.


Positively,

~ Alan

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Joined
Nov 15, 2014
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Howdy, Members:



Here's another (2) questions:


1. Domain Registrars?
Does anyone have experience with Frank Schilling's Uniregistry vs. Moniker ?


2. Registrars for Domain/Website sales $10K or less?
Are there any real benefits to using one reputable registrar over another of domain sale transactions $10K or less?



Thank you in advance for your comments.


Positively,

~ Alan

Linkedin Profile
 

CodyBaird

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Jan 4, 2013
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So a hears that I buy domains and sends me an email with some of his domains for sell and my response:

Hi Cody,

I read somewhere that you also see the high value in GEO domains. I have a package for sale.

MaineTeeth.com
LasVegasStripTours.com
OklahomaUrology.com
TennesseeUrology.com
FloridaUrologist.com
IdahoUrology.com
MassachusettsUrology.com

I would transfer them to you via Escrow.com for $15,500. Should I send you the Escrow request?

Sincerely,
Domain Veggies

And my response:

Domain Veggies,

I spent $15K for immigrationcanada.com a couple months back. Because it was registered in 1999 and that keyword set has hundreds of thousands of searches each month. I also bought edmontondentist.com for around $3k because also registered in 1999 and it has around couple thousand related monthly searches.

For future reference you should focus on city names instead of state in my opinion. You should also know that your domains are not seasoned. You registered them a year ago.

I go looking for domains when I have a specific client need. I don't buy them for expensive prices to sit on the domain and hope that I can find a client after the fact.

Good luck and thanks for reaching out to me.

The most important lesson to learn here is that the age of the domain is EQUALLY/POSSIBLY MORE important as exact match status. And I suspect that as time passes it leans more towards age than exact match. When you see and exact match killing it in the search results you should also visit Whois.com - Domain Names & Identity for Everyone and get the age of the domain FIRST before assuming Google dropped the ball on the EMD algo update.

The second lesson is if you didn't get into the domain buying and squatting game back in the 90s or early 2000's - you are wasting you time (hundreds of hours searching variations) and money paying $5 - $10 mo. while the dudes from the 90's are paying $1 or less for the really good ones already.

The 3rd lesson that few consider are the possible improvements to clickthrough and conversion with the domain naming convention. Some exact match sound and look well, clunky as f&^k. Others EMD's make you look like the dude WAY ahead of the curve. Like the dude that was IN BUSINESS and WINNING ONLINE for a long time. An early adopter. Someone with more time mastering a skill set, regardless of that skillset.

I'm not just considering exact match. I'm considering keyword volumes as well as LSI subcategories below that keyword that can benefit. For example: I hate a general dentist to use city+cosmeticdentist.com even if cosmetic is one of the categories of services that he sells. I want a cosmetic shop to use that domain.

I'm considering if I were the target buyer, how would that domain affect my opinion of the business with it. If I am having some penis issues ; ) and in need of a Urologist and I live in Nashville. I'm looking for a Urologist in Nashville not somewhere in Tennessee. And that holds true for most people in most cities.
 

gulliver

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Mar 13, 2015
Messages
15
Tim

PS
Whois.com is a very very important citation. You want it to match your NAP.
Not that I disagree with this, but thoughts on .tel domains?

P.S. I almost always agree with you on everything you wrote here. Have some domains. Interested? :)
 

bhartzer

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Oct 15, 2013
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guliver, all TLDs have the same ability to rank in the Google search results. There are no preferences given to any particular TLD by Google.

But, if you have a keyword rich domain name (your preferred keywords that you want to rank for), it's easier to get links with your preferred anchor text than get your brand domain linked with your preferred anchor text. That's going to have some influence in rankings.
 

Chris_Gregory

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Jul 21, 2012
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I know this is an old thread but it recently was brought up again in the forums and this is my first time reading it.

One point that I didn't see talked about is the effect EMD's have on link building. A natural backlink profile has a good amount of www.your-domain.com anchor texts pointing to the home page. If your URL is an EMD then you will have a much higher penalty tolerance for EMD anchors to your website, as this is part of a natural footprint. With branded domains you really have to watch your EMD anchor text to avoid looking too spammy. You won't have this issue as much with an EMD URL.

This is somethign I have seen multiple times when breaking down competitive websites. The amount of EMD Anchor Text that an EMD domain can generate is tough to compete with for those specific keywords.
 
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That's a good point, Chris. You do get the benefit of keyword anchors with EMDs.

Another benefit I noticed last night is click-through. I'm researching painting companies that specialize in exterior painting on old homes. Even I, who is seasoned in SEO, was drawn to sites with exterior in their domain. When looking at many other businesses that just don't seem to be expert at the specific service we need, seeing the word "exterior" in the domain is definitely enticing and encourages me to click through. It tells me that this company is particularly focused on exterior painting. As an SEO I am always skeptical that an EMD might just be a lame leadgen site, but I'll still certainly click to check it out, and someone not in the industry wouldn't think twice about it.

A higher CTR will definitely boost your rankings.
 
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