There are those who covet Exact Match Domains (EMD) like Gollum and the golden ring; there are others who wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole. As is often the case with polar views the SEO truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Why did Exact Match Domains rank so well?

Anchor text has traditionally been a key factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, and even in a post Penguin world it is still vitally important. If you consider that the majority of inbound links are the root URL then you can harness extra ‘anchor text love’ by choosing a URL that contains your main keyword phrase.

Just think about it from an algorithmic perspective, which website would you rather rank for the keywords ‘dog food’: or

Exploiting the anchor text in a URL is one of the oldest tricks in the SEO book. Because Exact Match Domains do most of the SEO work for you; it makes them vulnerable to unscrupulous webmasters looking to make a quick buck. And that’s why you don’t have to look hard to find top ranking EMDs that are light on content and heavy on adverts.

Is your website in Google’s algorithmic sights?

A few years back Google decided to wage war on EMD and as in all conflict there was noticeable collateral damage.  Admittedly Google’s aim was pretty good levelling spammy EMDs and leaving left high-quality and content-heavy sites alone. However, Google’s new approach took the SEO shine off EMDs and much of the value (ignoring the phenomenal marketing fire-power of having a memorable and relevant domain name).

If you think that your EMD has been unfairly hit, the chances are that you’ve got a higher opinion of your site than Google, and it’s your job to convince the search titan that it’s in their interest to rank your website.

Start by taking the following five steps:

  1. Add plenty of fresh and engaging new content
  2. Remove any content that’s weak or tired
  3. Clean-up your link profile and make it Penguin friendly
  4. Encourage social sharing and strike-up conversations
  5. Invest resources in a few high quality inbound links

Predicting Google’s next move is anybody’s guess, but you can bet your bottom dollar that we haven’t heard the last of Google’s war on Exact Match Domains.

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