Exact match domain names... Good or bad?

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Exact match domain names... Good or bad?

For those Estate Agents that don’t know what exact match domain names are, it is a type of strategy that some SEO’s take into consideration when trying to rank highly within Google. They do this by simply making the domain name exactly what you want to be optimised for (e.g. Estate Agents in Camden would be www.estateagentsincamden.co.uk).

Search Engines for a while now seem to have been giving exact match domain names a heavier increase in weight allowing some websites to rank better then they really should.

Although lately there have been suggestions that Google may be looking into changing this...

Should you use exact match domain names?

Every SEO would probably give you a different answer to this so here are the benefits and disadvantages of Exact match domains.

The benefits of using this strategy –

  • It may help you target one specific keyword or phrase.
  • Your link text and domain name match up naturally.
  • The URL will be highlighted in Google’s search results, making the listing more visible.
  • There could be ranking advantages... depending on who you’re asking...

Disadvantages of using this strategy –

  • It only helps you target one keyword – limits optimisation.
  • It may be too specific – if you want to change or add something to your business in the future optimising may be complicated (e.g. www.estateagentsincamden.co.uk will make it difficult if you branch out to Islington).
  • They are over-rated and only really show a benefit for medium to low search volumes.
  • It is debatable how much weight it carries in terms of SEO (as Google keeps pushing brand). Also many websites that rank number one aren’t exact match!

Why there may be a problem with exact match domain in the future...

The problem with exact match domain names may be that they are more likely to be connected with spam, low value content and sites that are trying to trick the system by building a simple site and linking it back to their main domain (which is becoming more and more common). All this adds up to what Google hates and that’s poor quality websites.

This may or may not be the case but if it is that may be good reason for Google to take a closer look into exact match domains and how much weight they really should carry.

If you do own an exact match domain you don’t necessarily have to worry. If you keep it clean, with good interesting content and regularly changing content you don’t need to get worried about being penalised by Google. The worst that can happen is your ranking may drop a little but if you have a strong, trusting website already you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.


SEO Consultant