Reasons why Quality Exact Match Domains are still working for SEO


Recently I was browsing online forums in the domain world, as I am personally really interested in domain names as I have been buying and selling domain names for over 8 years. For as long as I can remember domain names and SEO have pretty much gone hand in hand with SEO, as does web development with SEO. I found and interesting discussion a Sydney based web developer and Domain name seller by the name of Scott Nugent had engaged in. Basically Nugent had been calling up numerous end users who were Digital Marketing Managers to say that he has some domains for sale related to their business. A quote from Nugent below about his calls:

Out of the 8 I called, 3 of them all said the same thing: “I’ve been told exact match domains have zero value these days because Google penalizes you so I wouldn’t be interested”.

Now to further this quote from the end users, I also saw a very well known SEO company in the australian market put out this statement on Linkedin yesterday

Now that Google no longer gives you an SEO boost for exact match domains, what are the best ways to choose your new domain name?

Now these two quotes from various groups of individuals in the online marketing world has kind of baffled me, from some one who has been working in digital market I highly disagree that Exact Match Domains weight in search engines has been totally wiped out, I think a better statement to make is: Exact Match domains are still worth while if you create a quality site from them with good quality content and a decent link profile to match.

I will show below with some live examples of exact match domains still ranking well, whilst these domains are examples of quality exact match domains it is still evident their is a slight boost in these ranks for the EDM, I mean if you have a branded exact match domain people will naturally link to the website using the match link anchor text for the given keyword!

A quick search in the Australian market I can find several examples of EMD (Exact Match Domains Ranking)

1. Do a search for “Car Sales” and see (current rank 1st position.)

Note from keyword: Whilst Car Sales is a very well known brand running on an EDM, it can be said that Drive has a stronger link profile yet it ranks in second position.


2. Do a search for “Credit Cards” and see (Current Rank 3rd position)

Note from keyword: Competitors such as Credit Card Finder rank lower but the important point is that Credit Cards the exact match domain still ranks strongly.


3. Do a search for “Lawyers” and see (Current Rank 2nd position)

Note from keyword: Competitor which is branded and has a strong link profile such as Slater & Gordan is out ranked by the EDM.


4. Do a search for “personal loans” see (Current Rank – 1st position)

Note from keyword: Outranks strong competitors, domain authority is lower, competing banks not currently out ranking for the term.


5. Do a search for “loans” and see (Current Rank – 5th position)

Note from keyword: competitors such as yes loans have a stronger link profile yet still ranks higher.


6. Do a search for “Leather Jackets” and see the partial exact match domain (currently in 1st position)

Note from keyword: Competitors such as Viparo have a stronger link profile yet still ranks higher with the partial exact match domain, even looking at Viparo’s link profile you can see they have been targeting leather jackets heavily.

7. Do a search for “Jobs” and see the exact match domain (currently in 2nd position)

Note from keyword: From looking at the serps, it is evident that some of the government websites are very strong yet the EDM domain is still ranking in 2nd position.

Another point to back up Exact Match Domains:

Now from my recent interview with Andre Weyher the Google search employee he provided the following insight into Exact Match Domains:

Choose your domain name wisely, having a good URL can give you a head start in the race. Good domains are still expensive and for a good reason.

Now you can take an educated guess from the statement about and the facts on hand and see that “Good Domains” usually means Exact Match Domains in high competition markets.

Now what can we say about the above research?

– Looking at keywords such as “Loans” and “Personal Loans” and “Jobs” in the Australia market it is evident that the EDM (Exact Match Domains) has some authority still in the ranks, the point is low quality EDM domains have been targeted after the last update. If you have a exact match domain I feel it is still worth investing in it but make sure that you have quality content related to the domain and build a quality link profile behind the domain.

Can Online Marketers please not make silly comments that Exact Match Domains now have no authority or benefit what so ever, it is clearly not true.

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15 Replies to “Reasons why Quality Exact Match Domains are still working for SEO”

  1. Well put James, I had a very large Australian energy retailer asking me about their list of about 15 EMDs yesterday and if they were of any value.

    My response was pretty much “Yeah sure, if you invest in those domains and build a unique quality site on each one!”

    I think a lot of people missed that point, Google clearly stated, they were targeting low quality EMDs…

  2. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the comment, I agree I think the message has been very wrong for many in the digital world, especially in Australia. I know if you have a quality website, with a quality link profile then you will see ranks been held. The ones who were targeted in this update were low quality spam sites.

    I would also advise companies to hold onto EMD’s,

    Kind Regards,

    James Norquay

  3. Agree, I think that if the domains are high quality then it isn’t like Google is going to actively penalise a website purely based on this factor.

    The fact still remains is that EMDs are still all over the SERPs and no-doubt will be for quite some time to come.

    I believe this update was over-egging the change that has happened. Ok so there has been a change in the weight given previously to EMDs, but I still think there is some value – maybe not as much as previously – but evidence in the SERPs surely suggests EMDs are still getting traffic.


  4. Good post, totally agree with this notion.

    But that it is not to say the EMD update has not been significant.

    Before having an EMD alone carried enough weight to rank a site that has god awful thin content – and for the most part these are the sites that have been targeted.

    If you are geniune website with good relevant content, user experience etc, then EMDs stil seem to be carrying plenty of weight in competitive SERPs.

  5. God post! At first i am still using EMD for my affiliate websites. But i making “brand” from it. And only if i can find short EMD (2 or 3 max KW on it, and it need to be short). All things other are same.

    Also, i own 1 EMD which has 4 KW on it, 2 years old, with 10 blog posts on it. And main KW (domain name) has more then 28.000 exact search / month. And its still ranking at top 3 positions, no SEO no anything.

    So i like if i could find good niche, and there is available EMD .com .net or .org with 2 KW. Make brand of it. That’s how things work today.

  6. All your example websites from Moz tools now is penalized. EMD filter works for poor-content sites with unnatural links with ‘key word’ or ‘keyword’ anchors.

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