If you hadn’t heard Google came out recently with a new update to their algorithm (they seem to be doing this once a week) that affected exact match domain names.
I have always been a strong advocate for exact match domains because up until this last update, Google gave undue advantage to them in the search results.
All you had to do is have a domain name that matched a phrase people would search on google and you would rank for that phrase.
With their most recent update Google decided to remove this advantage. So what does it mean for you?
The reason having an exact match domain was so powerful is because Google was trying to make sure that if a person was searching for a specific company (ie Amazon.com) that company’s website would be the first result. So I would go to Google and search “Amazon” and amazon.com would show up as the top result.
The problem has always been that they have been unable to differentiate between company names and random domain names. So if I owned www.realestate.com and someone searched “real estate” Google would assume they were searching for my website and that it must be my company name.
This is how exact match domains came to be so popular. People would buy up the .com, .net, .org, .biz, .co and .info of key phrases that are highly searched and they would be ranked quickly in the search engines.
Now Google has taken away that advantage. They really scrutinize a website just like they do non-exact match domains and don’t automatically have them show in the rankings. They want to see good natural links and good content on the site to be considered to show on page 1.
So it seems that it is much like the way they treat all other domains. The playing field has been leveled…or has it?
Google still gives extra weight to an exact match domain. They still can’t differentiate between the name of a business and a keyphrase rich domain. They want to provide the best results to their users so what they are doing is assuming that if someone is searching for a business, the business website will have plenty of content and good links pointing to their site that include their business name as the anchor text.
So if you own an exact match domain, the way you make it still rank high in the search engines is to point links to it that have your exact match phrase as the anchor. Do a ton of those. Google won’t penalize you if your links are all simply the name of your website, just like they wouldn’t punish Nike.com for getting a ton of links that have “Nike” as the anchor text.
When you seek out an exact match domain one thing that I always do is I will go and search that key phrase and see if there is already an exact match domain at the top of Google. If there is it will most likely be very difficult for you to get to the top 5 for that phrase. Google has already given authority status to the other exact match domain.
If you don’t see nother domain there that matches then you are good to go. I recently took a brand new exact match domain (it is a .biz) and got it to #1 for its phrase in less than 4 months. Here is the kicker, the site only has 4 or 5 pages with minimal content and I haven’t added any content since the original design. All I have done is get links to the site. It does still work, even with a .biz.
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