Do Exact Match Domains Matter?

Sometime last year I talked about how choose a domain name and one of the points addressed the exact match domain.Exact Match Domains

Exact Match Domains

If you are not familiar with this SEO and webmaster related term, an exact match domain refers to a domain name (the URL) which is comprised of your keyword. The major question which comes attached to them is do exact match domains matter from an SEO point of view; will it help you rank better for that keyword?

I’d be a hypocrite if I came out and said that it’s the most important thing in the world considering my domain name is “” and this website largely discusses SEO and online marketing with copywriting taking backseat much of the time. That and “converting copy” isn’t a keyword which gets any kind of search volume.

The truth is I started this website with designs in copywriting consulting and thought the name had an alliterative ring to it. I didn’t perform any keyword research prior to choosing the domain name; that wasn’t what it was about.

But I digress; let’s get back to the question at hand: does the exact match domain matter?

In truth it does matter for 2 reasons.

The first is subjective and purely based on conjecture. From an SEO point of view you want your keywords to be present in as many places and tags on your site as possible (short of over saturating them). Refer to my keyword SEO checklist for more information, but this means in your title, description, H1 tags, in your image tags, within reason in your body itself, and yes in the URL if possible.

If we make it a point to put it in our title so that it can be reflected in the URL via our permalinks, we want it in the top level domain name itself, as well. The extent to which it helps can only be conjecture, however. I believe personally that it accounts for a small percentage of Google ranking factors, but certainly sites without it are ranking just fine for their keywords.

The second and more important reason in my mind for exact match domains mattering is that having your keyword in your top level URL is much better from a branding point of view because it reinforces the idea that your website is related to that keyword which your visitor has searched, thereby making for a more relevant and targeted exact match domains matter

This makes sense from a logical point of view and I believe that because of that, Google feels the same way which may account for why they value the exact match domain.

Ultimately I believe that in most circles the consensus would have to be that it is better to have an exact match domain than to not have it, even in the wake of the September 27th/28th exact match domain update which mostly diminished the influence of “low quality” exact match domain sites (generally if it’s a good site then they didn’t notice much to any changes).

Remember, though, if its an awkward keyword phrase which would make for an awkward domain name or its unavailable or too expensive to secure, it’s not the end of the world if you have to “settle” for something else to name your site.

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