18 Nov Are Exact Match Domains a Good Idea for SEO in 2023?
Exact Match Domains (EMDs) refer to the domain names featuring the exact keywords for which one makes all possible attempts to rank in search engines.
A decade ago, in 2012, there was a Google update on the exact match domain, which was meant to level the pitch for websites featuring none or part of their focused keywords in the domain name.
On the web, mixed views are available regarding the impact of exact match domains on SEO and their importance as a crucial ranking factor. Still, for successful SEO in 2023, it is essential to assess the contribution of EMDs and their impact on Google search ranks. Keeping this in mind, this post aims to go through the history of using such domains and conclude whether they still help in boosting a website’s search result rank.
Overview of EMDs
EMDs are domain names using the exact keyword for which a website should rank. Some examples of these names are hotels.com, painters.com, carpenters.com, and exoticfruits.com. Mostly, having a business name as per the search term for which you want to rank benefits your website in the search engine results.
It is true that search engines, including Google agree with the declining importance of EMDs. However, these domain names seem to be still valuable when it comes to boosting the rank of a website.
Overview of Partial Match Domain Names
These domains tend to feature a part of the keyword for which a website should rank higher on the SERPs. Referring to the example that we gave for painters while introducing the EMDs, some examples of partial match domains corresponding to it are Jacob-localpainters.com, CA-painters.com, and glasspainters.com.
It is clear that these domains unambiguously reveal the services on offer. Unlike the aforementioned EMD example related to painting, these names seem to be noticeably more natural. Using these partial match names can boost your SEO rankings and give details to the probable customers about the kind of service or types of goods your business can provide to them.
These domains are a good option for publicizing your business via good SEO and different platforms. It is unwise to underrate the relevancy of these domains.
History of EMDs for SEO
In the early 2000s, several online business owners recognized that using the desired keywords in their domain names would help them reach their website to the top of the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Per se, there was a sudden rise in the number of domain name registrations.
Until the half of 2010s, EMDs had a significant role to play in SEO. During this time, the web community observed these domains as a quick way to reach the top of the SERPs. Nevertheless, this affected the quality of search results, due to which Google overruled it by introducing the EMD algorithm update.
Despite the search giant’s effort to remove low-quality domains that are achieving high rankings by using the exact match domains, the results still show the websites continuing this practice.
Still today, one of the most common questions our clients tend to ask is whether buying a domain name related to their industry would give them a competitive edge or not. This is obvious after observing how businesses using EMDs still tend to dominate search engine results.
In other words, several new businesses are still considering using these domains to maximize their visibility. Our suggestion to them: Good and fair SEO practices will always outshine EMDs.
Probably, the most common misleading EMD belief is that these domain names do not affect search engine rankings. However, ask any experienced and currently working SEO consultant, and the professional is likely to inform you that these domains still feature significantly for local keywords.
Still, do not be surprised to see many SEO adherents sharing on Twitter that these domains will not have any impact on your website rankings. As an SEO agency with the experience of how much time goes in waiting for the rankings to boost for keywords having low or mid competition, we can confidently say that EMDs still have a substantial role to play in making a local business rank well.
Google’s View on EMDs
According to Gary Illyes, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, “There is no inherent problem with EMDs. The problem is when it’s combined with other spam tactics.” This was posted on Twitter in 2016.
This means that Google neither ignores nor rewards websites that implement EMDs. In several instances, it could be simply that the website with content and links of high quality seems to have an EMD. After all, several websites with exact match domains are those that have been there for over a decade and have been targeting SEO since a long time. From this perspective, if a business was fortunate enough to have a relevant domain name, the probability is high for it to be focused on digital marketing over several years.
So, Should You Use or Avoid EMDs in 2023?
Well, our opinion or suggestion is the same as revealed above. It is not mandatory to use an EMD for your new digital startup. No matter how you look at EMDs, it is better to choose a business name that indicates what you have on offer or are planning to offer. Nevertheless, it is not mandatory to have an EMD for ranking higher in the chosen niche.
For example, having a local agency in New Jersey named SEO agency NJ may maximize its chance to rank higher for local searches in NJ but would reduce its probability to rank well on a national level. Thus, it is wise to focus on your comprehensive, long-term scenario instead of taking advantage of a name that is likely to give only short-term benefits.
Consider all the other ways for marketing your business over the years. Think this way: If you wish to invest in print marketing, such as brochures and flyers, would you prefer your brand name to be an EMD?
Are you still confused regarding whether to use EMDs or not for your business? We strongly advise you to select a domain name that you can meaningfully use on all marketing media. Although EMDs may appear to be an easy way to deceive the SEO algorithms, we feel that their domination will diminish soon, as Google is working hard to remove any website of low quality.