Would you buy an “Exact Match” Domain after the EMD update?

Geno Thampi
DMCA.com by - 10/16/2012 11227 Views

Should I buy an exact match keyword domain? The big question answered!

EMD Update ThreatI know, I know… I know what it is like! If someone asks if you would buy an exact match domain today, after the EMD update, you would see Matt Cutts with a M&P15 (a gun) just as the one to the left. Alright I have no intentions of threatening you but I am here to debate - if you were to put up a new website today, with all good intentions such as quality content, good user-friendliness and obeying to all search engine guidelines  would you choose an exact match domain if you had a chance to get one?

If I asked this question a month back, the answer would have been, “Ofcource Yes, why not!” Exact match keyword domains have been a delight for the majority for a very long time. It was like half the SEO and marketing work done when someone opens up a website with an exact match target keyword domain. People would have done anything to get an exact match domain earlier. However, things have changed after the Google EMD update. Who knows, there would be a time when the exact match domains would be sold for cheaper rates than the low level TLDs in future. The current EMD update is claimed to be minor by affecting mere 0.6% of the US English queries and clearly states that it doesn’t target all the EMDs in common but the ones that are of low quality. Let’s forget what happened to the existing sites. What is the outlook on exact match domains for all the future websites to go live? Would you buy an exact match domain today? Let’s find out!


Reason to buy an Exact match Domain

EMD Is Good

Most of the advantages of the exact match domains over the branded or other types have been neutralized with the EMD update. The following advantages are neutralized after the EMD update:

  • Upper hand in the search engine results. EMDs rank faster than the conventional branded domains
  • Higher visibility for local search terms if your domain is an exact match local keyword
  • Contributes a lot to getting anchor texts. With exact match anchor texts hated by the Google penguin, this would be of no use now.
  • Dominates the search engine results for the target keyword consistently

With the EMD update, the above said advantages are getting neutralized - Which means, an exact match domain would have the same effectiveness as the other domains for the factors above.

Exact match domains still have some unique benefits:

  • If you manage to get an exact match domain rank high in the search results, which would now take the same effort as for the other domains, EMDs would win in terms of click through rate (38% compared to 18% of other branded domains).
  • Better visibility in the social media which leads to higher social actions. Exact match domains are recognized well in the social media being simple to memorize/ read. This recognition leads to higher social actions such as shares.
  • EMD is still the best for small businesses which has only 2-3 target keywords (local services is a best example). This applies only if the business never wishes to expand with a brand value. 

Reason to stay away from EMD

EMD Stay Away



The main advantages of the Exact match domains have been now neutralized after the EMD update. With same effects for the main factors, the regular domains with brand names or non-keyword terms have additional advantages of:

  • Being a lot cheaper the exact match domains (this may change in future because of the EMD update)
  • The regular branded domain is indispensable for business expansion. If you have an exact match domain, you cannot create unique branding because of the generic nature of the exact match domain.
  • Branding in social media is almost impossible because you exact match keyword usernames won’t be available. In addition to that social media mentions of your brand cannot be associated to you if yours is an EMD. For example, if your domain is www.buyshoes.com, social mentions on “buy shoes” cannot be related to your brand as it is too generic
  • Though the current EMD update has only minor impact, the future is still a mystery. Right now Google has eyes on EMDs and there may come updates in future with jolting impacts such as the penguin update. So why build and empire on lose sand?
  • Effective brand recognition options. For example, people say “skype it” for voice calls, but what if their domain was “voicecalls.com”?
  • On top of all, getting an EMD is not easy. Availability of the EMDs are very rare and that is the reason why it is way too costly now. Such kind of money can be sent on one year full of advertising for regular brand domains.



Cast your Vote! Would you buy an Exact Match Domain after the EMD update?

What does Matt Cutts say about buying a new domain?

Matt CuttsI really was thinking to “leave Matt Cutts alone” for a while. But somehow, I stumbled on a video QnA of Matt which explains about this same topic. I couldn’t resist posting the video here because this information from Matt could really help someone to decide whether to go for an EMD or a regular branded domain name. As you guessed, the video is somewhat inclined more to avoiding the exact match domain.

Now you know why you would need an exact match domain and why you need to stay away from it. So, would you buy an EMD after this Google EMD update? If your answer is yes, why would you buy one? If not, what makes you stay away from it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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EMD update, Google EMD algorithm, Google EMD update, buy Exact match domain, exact match domain

About Geno Thampi

Geno Thampi Not a born Shakespeare! But I still write articles and blogs to share my ideas and thoughts on SEO and SMO. Being a part of SEO research team of SubmitINme, I keep my ears and eyes open, and the pen ready to grab, write and share trending topics in search engine .... more info