Are exact match domains still a clever SEO tactic?

Are exact match domains still a clever SEO tactic?

Squeezing a keyword into your website domain name used to be a great way to improve rankings, but now, not so much.

Last year I took the bold step of splitting my brand in two.

I decided my website should be reserved for creative antics and that I’d create a new site purely for work.

When deciding on my new domain name I toyed with the idea of creating a witty, writing-related name. But instead I went with something simple (and fairly unimaginative):

Part of the reason for this was the knowledge that by including the keyword ‘copywriter’ I was giving myself a better chance of ranking for that term and part was ‘cos I have a really awesome second name.

But now Google ain’t so keen on exact match domains

Back in September Mr Cutts (@mattcutts) sent this tweet:

Google’s aim? Well, they hope to level the playing field so that exact match domains don’t have such a big advantage.

Are businesses with exact match domains doomed?

As with all Google’s algorithm updates, the plan is not to penalise strong, legitimate, business websites, but instead
to weed out low-quality websites that have been developed just to rank well for high-traffic keyword phrases.

So if you’re a plumber named Phil in Parramatta (and you intend to stay in Parramatta) then, yes, it’s still probably a better idea to register:


Not necessarily just for SEO, but for usability – your name and domain describes exactly what you do and where you do it.

But you’ll have to back that URL up with a well-coded, intelligently optimised website that has strong content and engages users.

We’ll have to wait and see what impact this mini Google tweak has on legitimate websites but put simply: Exact match domains are no longer an easy ticket to SEO success.

Share your thoughts

Have you seen any changes in your exact match domain site traffic that leads you to believe Google considers your site to be low quality?

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