Exact Match Domains for SEO: Beware of Getting Too PrecisePosted: March 11, 2012
If you’re getting exact match domains for SEO purposes, you should understand there’s more to consider than just the numbers.
The tendency is to look solely at whether the domain matches a phrase with a high amount of monthly searches and/or high cost-per-click on ads targeting the phrase. While the numbers are obviously very important in telling you whether a phrase is lucrative or not, good numbers don’t always make a good exact match name.
One of the easiest mistakes to make with a generic domain is to get one that is too precise. What difference does it make if the numbers are good? The key to understanding that is to understand both what would be put on the domain and what ranks for the term. Terms that have many descriptors making them very precise come with searcher expectations and site limitations.
Now that Google has largely struck down sites with poor content and tends to not reward forwarding of exact match domains like they used to, you have to build a worthy site. If you are looking at domains for SEO for your own company, consider what you would actually put on the domain. If you feel it would be hard to put a full site that would please Google and compete with other top results, you may be onto something.
When you are looking at exact match domains that are too precise, even if there are a lot of searches, there’s simply very little you’ll be able to do on the domain. Additionally, the most likely sites the searcher is looking for are established companies offering that precise product, service or information.
It’s different with a generic domain matching a niche that is a good size and warrants a complete site about it. In that case, you come off as an authority and are more likely to earn the visitor’s trust.
In the case of a domain that’s too precise on the other hand, the searcher expects pages that are simply subpages of larger sites – your exact match domain may even come off looking suspicious or spammy in some cases.
For example, “big button cordless phone” has 480 searches per month and $1.30 CPC. There’s a good chance that a company selling those kinds of phones could make hundreds of dollars per month with a #1 ranking on that term. If you look at page 1 of Google for the phrase however, you’ll see that they are all subpages of their respective sites. In fact, 9 of 10 of the results are 2 or more levels deep on their site, which definitely indicates it to be a very narrow niche.
BigButtonCordlessPhone.com might help you rank highly for the term. Given the current results though, even Google recognizes that searchers are looking for the exact product but on larger more established sites/companies. You simply can’t build a natural-looking site large enough to compete. Even if you did rank with the domain, you would stick out like a sore thumb and your site would look more suspicious to the searcher.
In fact, if you look at the site that is currently on that domain, you can basically see the extent of what can be done on such a domain. If you were searching for the product and reached that site, would you be satisfied?
Keep that in mind as you buy domains for SEO purposes. Just because the numbers might point to profit doesn’t mean the domain would serve you well. Phrases that are too precise with too many descriptors may more likely be meant for your subpages to rank highly for, not necessarily for a standalone site on a matching domain to be dedicated to it.