Exact match domains. What and Why.

5 December 2016 | | Internet, Marketing

We’re often asked about exact match domains and their effect on SEO and the online marketing strategy for the dental practice. Choosing the right domain for your new dental business is one of the most important business decisions you will make.

It’s understandable for business owners to want to try anything to push their marketing efforts to get new patients, however this blog will explain what exact match domains are, how they behave in the search engines and why it’s best to avoid them.

What is an Exact Match Domain (EMD)?

An EMD is a domain name that precisely matches a search query that will likely drive traffic to your website. For instance, if you call your website BuyCheapJeansOnline.com.

The search query ‘buy cheap jeans’ is a lucrative search term, and if you call your website this then you might assume this is a short cut to the top of a search engine results page (SERP).

But as you’ll learn, even if this works in the short term, you may want to avoid doing it.

What’s the problem with EMDs?

First of all, it could be considered a sign of a spammy website if its URL exactly matches a search term. Just think of all those ‘watch movies for free’ websites that proliferate SERPs when you search for that phrase.

emd search

Even if you remove the word ‘free’ and search for ‘watch movies online’, the SERP is a wild west town full of unsavoury characters.

emd search

You have to scroll halfway down the page before you get to legitimate streaming companies like Crackle or Hulu. And Netflix barely makes a dent.

Most domains from legitimate companies will take its name from the brand name itself, with perhaps a single keyword they may hope to rank for. As long as its in the brand name. To use Graham Charlton’s example: glassesdirect.com.

EMDs have been long thought of as having an unfair advantage.

As opposed to websites that rise to the top of Google through quality content, solid architecture, trusted backlinks and assorted other white hat best practices, Exact Match Domains can just rise to the top by shoe-horning in a few tasty keywords.

Bill Slawski wrote in 2011:

“A company may attempt to “trick” the search engine into listing the company’s website more highly. For example, if the search engine gives greater weight in ranking results to words used in the domain name associated with websites, a company may attempt to trick the search engine into ranking the company’s listing more highly by including desirable search terms in the domain name associated with the company’s listing.”

It’s basically unfair to the legitimate companies, and risky for the user.

A paid-for film streaming service offering the best possible user experience and security is surely preferable to one that will download malware to your hard-drive and take you through all sorts of unsavoury black hat practices.

But as you can see from the examples above, Google hasn’t quite got it right just yet.

Contact Dental Design to chat through your re-brand, domain name acquisition and online marketing strategy. Call 01202 677277

with thanks to Search Engine Watch

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