Don’t Pick an Exact-Match Domain 2016-03-21


For SEO newbies, there is the temptation to pick an exact-match domain, or EMD.

What is an exact-match domain?

An exact-match domain is a domain name that includes the keyword phrase itself. Some people call them Keyword Domains. For example, let’s say your new business wanted to rank for the keyword “awesome cheap widgets”. If you chose an EMD, your website would look like this: It sounds like a great strategy on the face of it. More keywords, more SEO, right?

Not exactly.

Back in the day—2012 to be exact—Google noticed that a lot of websites were trying to improve their SEO by choosing exact-match domains. Back then, if you wanted to rank for “cheap Nokia phones,” no problem! You would just buy the domain,, for a few bucks, and presto! You would win first-page ranking.

No backlinks. No quality content. Just raw SEO power!

In response, Google dropped a bombshell. It was called the Exact Match Domain Update. The EMD update crushed keyword domain websites in the rankings. Average ranking sunk to record lows. Obviously, choosing an exact-match domain is a pretty bad idea. But that only tells you what you shouldn’t do.

What about the things should you do?

Use Your Brand Name as Your Domain Name

The safest and easiest solution is to use your brand name as your domain name. Why? Because your brand is how customers remember you. Much of your website traffic will come from navigational search.

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