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Open Web Authors: Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Carmen Gonzalez, Mark R. Hinkle

Related Topics: Web 2.0, Search, Open Web

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Should Exact Match Domain Names Rank So Well In 2009?

An exact match domain name is a web address with the same EXACT words in it that make up a popular search

An exact match domain name is a web address with the same EXACT words in it that make up a popular search. As an example, I have these two (at the moment, I use for nothing more than testing)

OK – you can forgive search engines for thinking a 100% relevant web address might be indication of a site’s relevance to the term – or well I did in 2005. I honestly thought the top search engines would have got smarter when it came to exact match domains.

I’m looking at some results in Google, Yahoo and Bing that are frankly shocking – a bit of an embarassment to the search engines. Exact match domains with no authority ranking above much better sites. Even spammy sites ranking with exact match domains, and it got WORSE with the recent Google UK SERP update a lot of people where complaining about.

If you are lucky enough to have an exact match domain for your website, well done. All you seem to need is a lot of crap links (linkbuilding to an exact match domain is so easy), some relevant copy, and you’ll get into the top ten in every major search engine within a year. (And from what I see in some places, that’s some seo companies entire ranking strategy just unveiled, and for clients too! :p )

I can’t believe I am writing that in 2009.

An exact match domain name with low quality spammy links and keyword stuffed text will outrank a real site with thousands of natural links for that term. That is a fact.

OK – so what if you are a normal company with an actual brand that’s not a desired keyword or phrase? Well, that’s us too actually. I have no intention changing my domain name.

Having an exact match domain is no substitute for having a brand in my opinion, and while an exact match domain might help you rank for that term, if you want thousands of visitors a day, you need a breadth of keywords to keep a business running, not just one keyphrase and a few variants – in the end, it still comes down to content, and the quality of it, how much traffic you get these days.

Just get used to seeing exact match domains in every sector – no search engine seems to be able to deal with them appropriately enough.

What do you think? Exact match keyword urls work as they should or do the search engines love them too much?

(Aaron Wall does a good job explaining exact match domains and their value to Google and searchers)

More Stories By Shaun Anderson

Shaun is the lead SEO at Hobo web, a Scottish SEO and web development company. "We’re a crazy-passionate professional full service marketing company in Scotland, specialising in graphic design, print planning and buying, standards based website design and online marketing including Google Adwords PPC management and expert search engine optimisation." Our website is visited by over 40,000 people every month - and we’ve never spent a penny promoting it.

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