Are you interested in running a blog or small business on a specific niche? If so, it’s more than likely that there is one particular keyword or phrase that you want to rank for. The problem however; it’s the same phrase everyone else is targeting and consequently, is quite competitive.
How do you get the edge? Introducing the exact match domain.
What is an Exact Match Domain?
An exact match domain is a domain name that exactly matches the keyphrase you wish to rank for. It must be a TLD and not contain any characters (like a dash) between the characters.
- www.dogcollar.net – exact match
- www.dog-collar.net – not an exact match
- www.dogcollar.biz – not an exact match
Benefits of Exact Match Domains
- Relevancy bonus
- Anchor text
- Deny your competitors the edge
- Increased Click Through Rate
- Free Type-in-Traffic
In 2009 SEOMoz asked 72 industry experts to rate which on-page factors were most important for achieving high rankings and the use of keywords in the root domain was rated as the 3rd most significant. Why does Google place more trust on exact matches? Because they are inherently more expensive, which is taken as a sign of quality.
Take the dogcollar.net example, this is currently a holding page. Try make a bid and you will see they are not considering offers under $1500. Not bad for a .net domain with no site, email list, customer database or existing readership.
Obviously if you are in a competitive niche you will still need a strong link profile, but another great advantage is that your incoming links to an exact match domain name are more likely to have the anchor text you are targeting. Targeting specific keywords via anchor text can be a warning flag and invite penalty, but if the anchor text is simply your domain name then it’s considered a lot more natural.
Deny your competitors the edge
Even if you already have an established brand, it still might be worth considering purchasing the exact match simply to stop new competitors from being able to take them. Ask yourself ‘what would be more expensive in the long run?’ Allowing my competitor to take eventually outrank me or paying for an extra domains registration?
Increased Click Through Rate
Exact match domains enjoy a higher click through rate (CTR). Not only will this help from an SEO perspective but it will also lower your advertising cost if you’re running a PPC campaign. When people search, they instantly look for the most relevant results.
Many popular browsers these days allow users to simply start a search directly from the URL bar, which often leads to exact match domains. Not only is this free traffic, it is also highly targeted.
Pre-empt new domains
This is not a new strategy, people have been utilizing exact match domains for a long time. As a result many or most of the good domains are already taken.
How can you use this to your advantage? Consider pre-empting trends. Recently I was doing some keyword research on a topic and noticed very high search volume for ‘keyword’2010. I had a look and all of the domains were registered and then it dawned on me. 2010 is almost over, I did a search for ‘keyword’2011 and the .com was available.
As you might have been able to guess, that domain is no longer available for registration.
Whether you are a blogger or run a small business, investing in an exact match domain is a solid strategy. It will increase your potential to attract and convert highly targeted traffic whilst also denying your competitor the same opportunity.