This original article was published on 15th Jun 2011. Following the recent Exact Match Domain update by Google the article was edited on 5th October 2012
You may already have a domain name, you may just have hit lucky and picked the right one, You may be considering a new website design or simply buying another domain to point at your existing website. Either way, Read this brief guide to make sure your new domain gives you maximum benefit.
Keywords in a Domain
When this article was first published we explored the option of having keywords in your domain name. A few days ago however Matt Cutts from Google tweeted about the EMD update. Hours later, this update began to roll out. So let’s explore what this update means.
Exact Match Domain Update Explained
For way too long the Google search algorithm had placed some importance on exact match domains. So much so that an entire industry has grown around exact match domains. Ideally you’d have wanted to have keywords in your domain, the famous UK diy chain B&Q simply have the domain name www.diy.com as they sell everything to do with DIY. That’s a great domain name, who wouldn’t want such an ideal match? B&Q haven’t been affected by the EMD update, why do you think that is? SImple, Google algorithm isn’t black and white. If any of you are familiar with computer programming then you can bet your bottom dollar that the Google algorithm is rammed full of IF>THEN routines.
Simply put, Google consider many things then adjust accordingly.
Many exact match domain names were registered with the sole intention of gaining a benefit on the back of the exact match with little effort invested in creating a quality website. Very often these exact match domains could be found fronting a poor quality affiliate marketing site, sometimes posing as a review or comparison website with the sole intention of generating affiliate income for the owner. These websites taint the quality of both the Google search results and also the quality of the internet.
The recent EMD update seems to have affected those websites that meet more than one of the following criteria
- Poor quality content, possible spun or scraped from elsewhere
- High number of feeds from other websites
- Above average number of ads, especially above the fold
- Long exact match hyphenated words such as www.this-is-a-poor-quality-exact-domain.com
This means that exact match domains such as www.motors.co.uk have nothing to fear from the latest update. They have quality editorial content and more importantly they provide excellent user engagement. They run a quality website and as such still rank number one for the search term motors.
In a nutshell then, the EMD update isn’t designed to hit exact match domains, it’s designed to hit poor quality exact match domains. So is it safe to use keywords still in a domain name? Yes of course as long as you have good intentions to build a relevant website around it.
Brand vs Keywords in a Domain
If at all possible then try to incorporate the two. If you have a Tax company named Speedy Taxis then feel free to use “Speedy” and “taxi” in a domain name. If the taxi business will only operate in the St Helens area then why not consider combining “St Helens” and “taxi” in the name. I’d always recommend keeping the website domain name as short as possible so that people can remember it but in this instance including the geographical area in which you operate would be a distinct advantage when it comes to search rank, assuming of course that you intend to publish quality original content.
I use 123 reg to register all my domains, they are quick and cheap, search for a domain name using their free tool here www.123-reg.co.uk