Exact Match Domain is when a domain name is created for the sole purpose of matching words or terms used in a search query. Let’s say you wanted to target the search term Broken Cell Phones, creating the domain name www.brokencellphones.com would be an Exact Match Domain.
Matching a Domain Name based on search terms is a trick that SEO companies have been using for years, and for a while did actually yield results. In doing research for this article we saw the following on a forum where the subject was Does Your Domain Name Matter When It Comes To SEO?
The response was:
Of course domain names matter in terms of SEO…. it’s one of the reasons we’re so successful at what we do…
The problem here in lies that a lot of SEO companies relied solely on this technique to obtain instant results, and did not focus on making sure their clients websites were properly developed. A lot of websites that used the EMD technique, had a sole purpose of collecting information from visitors, such as sign up forms, or multi-level marketing scams. They did not provide value to their visitors or contribute value to the internet.
September 28th, 2012 Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google, annoucned via his official twitter feed the following:
Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.
SEO “Experts” thought their techniques would last, were future proofed, and that they could could provide quality products to their customers using short cut methods.
The fact of the matter is, companies that actually spend time updating their technical skills, following industry best practices, and provided quality over quantity not only saw this coming, but didn’t have to worry, because the sites they developed actually had a purpose beyond ranking high in the search engines for data mining and multi-level marketing.
EMD’s still provide value. The fact is, they do not. Not only do they not provide value, but they are being penalized. Google and other search companies are cracking down on spam, including data mining for the sole purpose of collecting someones contact information, such as all of those OPT IN low quality websites that have sprung up like a fungus on the internet.
Yes, using your companies brand name, or corporate name, will not penalize you. It is still a recommended best practice. Search engine algorithms are being updated all the time in an effort to cut down on spam, and they are smart enough to distinguish between brand names, company names, and EMD’s for the sole purpose of ranking high.
Remember, as long as your website is created for your visitors, has something unique to offer, and serves a purpose for the greater community, you have nothing to worry about. If you have a site that is only intended for opt in email forms, multi-level marketing type schemes, or designed to get instant results for one or two terms; if you haven’t been penalized yet, you will.
Tomorrow in part 3 of our 10 part series, SEO, the TRUTH, The Myth and The Lies, we will be looking at the content management system WordPress and discussing how Tags in the blog section can be detrimental to your SEO campaign, and look at some recommended industry best practices.