Until recently exact match domains were all the rage because of the SEO boost that they gave to websites. Some people believed that exact match domains brought huge benefit – other people didn’t.
When Google performed the exact match domain (EMD) update recently a lot of websites relying on an EMD fell through the search results at an incredible rate.
It was fairly obvious therefore that EMDs were afforded some special treatment by Google – but the special treatment has now been toned down considerably.
What is an EMD?
If you have just read the opening paragraph and you’re a little lost because you don’t really know what an EMD is, here’s a very quick definition: An EMD is basically a domain name that’s an exact match for the keyword that you’re targeting.
If you’re going after the keyword “loans” and you got the domain “loans.com”, you’d have an exact match domain name. It’s actually pretty simple.
Remember most EMD were registered a long time ago – so unless a new phrase is coined or a new trend emerges it can be very hard to pick up EMDs without going through a broker or domainer who is likely to charge a premium.
Are EMDs worth bothering with anymore?
Even though EMDs are now a lot less likely to rank for the keywords contained in them, they’re definitely worth bothering with. The first reason why they’re worth bothering with is because they’re recognisable and generic.
If someone hits your site and sees the domain is a generic domain related to their search, they’re likely to revisit at a later date. It’s so simple it’s silly really.
Another reason why you should still bother with EMDs is because they do still hold some SEO value – just not as much as they did before.
There are definitely ranking benefits to be gained from using EMDs – don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
It remains to be seen whether or not EMDs will be completely devalued in terms of SEO, but it’s hard to see a reason why they would be.
The last update from Google took out a lot of sites that didn’t deserve their rankings whilst keeping those that did deserve their rankings where they were.
All in all exact match domains are definitely worth bothering with if you can possibly get your hands on one. Just remember that the bulk of them will have been registered a long time ago, so it could be worth looking for a short, brandable domain name instead.
Of course you won’t get the SEO benefit that comes with a generic EMD, but you with good on-page SEO and some strong back links, there’s no reason why any domain can’t beat an EMD in the search engine results.
Now’s not the time to panic and sell your complete collections of EMDs – the recent update was just a bump in the road and they are likely to remain valuable for a long time to come.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!