What are exact match domains?
Exact Match Domains or EMD for short are domain names that match your topic exactly. For example, if you want to start a blog about “polar bears”, the exact match .com domain would be www.polarbears.com.
Why are EMDs valuable?
Well, exact match domains have marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) value making them ideal in some situations. Let’s say you wanted to get a personal loan, wouldn’t a website called www.personalloans.com be of interest to you? It’s memorable, gives authority, and has natural direct traffic from people wanting a personal loan.
In terms of SEO, search engines such and Google, Yahoo, and Bing gives EMDs a certain amount of brownie points in search rankings for the keyword term “personal loans”. That is, with a little work, you can get this website to rank #1 for this keyword. This makes EMDs very valuable. In fact, personalloans.com sold for 1,000,000 dollars this year!
SEO & micro niche marketing
It makes perfect sense for search engines to love exact match domains. Isn’t it completely logical for someone register www.polarbears.com to start a website about polar bears and not some other topic? Hence, placing www.polarbears.com in top search results when someone enters “Polar Bears” into the search box makes perfect sense!
The fact that search engines love EMDs means if you own a EMD for a highly searched keyword or phrase, you’ll have lots of free traffic from search engines. Hence “Niche Marketing” or “Micro Niche Marketing” emerged. The point of niche marketing is to find an exact match domain for a certain subject, product, or niche, build an optimized website that serves advertising, has affiliate sales, or sells a product, and get free traffic from search engines.
With the surge of people registering EMDs and putting up bad, useless websites on the internet (websites with the sole purpose of making money), Google has publicly stressed they have placed less emphasis on EMDs in their search algorithms. The last thing Google wants is to send visitors to useless, incorrect information that is full of sales pitches.
Are Exact Match Domains for you?
Engadget, one of the largest gadget blogs, is not using an EMD. Yahoo is just a memorable phrase a cowboy says. Facebook, to me, doesn’t mean anything. So are EMDs necessary? No.
Chances are, you will never find a pure exact match domain for popular “1 word” or “2 word” topics using Top Level Domains (TLD) such as .com, .net, or .org as they have all been registered. If you’re interested in registering an EMD, stick with the TLDs. Google treats non-TLDs differently making them difficult to rank highly in search engines.
The only reason why I would register an EMD is for longer (what we call “long-tailed”), highly searched phrases 3 words and above. For example, the keyword phrase “good diets that work” is searched globally 4400 times. If you search in Google for “good diets that work”, www.gooddietsthatwork.com is the #1 ranked website even if the website is horrible.
So in conclusion, if you plan on starting a blog about a specific topic, EMDs can be helpful to a certain extent. However, you can be just as successful with a domain name that has no searches. To get an idea of how many searches are done per keyword, visit Google Adword Tools.