Had a brief chat with a lawyer the other day regarding an exact match domain. Thought I’d share some insights here.
First, if you have no idea what an exact match domain is or why it’s even relevant, click the link above to Todd Malicoat’s post at Moz (read the comments too).
Second, if you’re in the process of choosing a domain, be sure to watch what Google’s Matt Cutts had to say on the subject a few years ago:
If you don’t have the patience to sit through the three minute video here is my takeaway:
Keywords in a domain matter for search, but probably aren’t as important as choosing a domain that has meaning to people.
In other words, don’t make keywords your primary focus in choosing a domain. Instead, put your audience first. If you can eloquently balance choosing a domain that will resonate with your target audience and include relevant keywords, great. But don’t sacrifice your audience so that you can rank for a handful of keywords.
It’s also worth noting that Google has been continuously adjusting the weight of keyword domain ranking signals:
New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda/Penguin.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012
If you take Google at face value, it makes sense that they would dial back the power of exact match domains. Registering keyword-rich domains is fairly easy to do (with enough budget). So, giving a lot of weight to this factor makes manipulating search results easier.
On the other hand, it’s unlikely that Google will ever completely dismiss keywords in domains. After all, they can communicate what a site is about. And let’s face it, for less competitive keywords, they can perform pretty well in search.
However, if you rely on keyword-rich domains to drive business at your firm, you’re likely to be greatly disappointed.
You see, even if your exact match domain ranks for the target phrase, do you really think that one search query is going to support your practice. Further, do you really want to be that vulnerable to adjustments search engines make in the weight of the keywords-in-domains signals? That’s unwise.
Choose a domain that will both resonate and be easy for your target audience to remember and link to. Don’t choose your domain for robots: