Are Exact Match Domains Still Worth It?





Blog Date

June 3, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Are Exact Match Domains Still Worth It?

The Rise and Falter of Exact Match Domains

Remember the good old days when all you needed to rank at the top of the search engine results was an exact match domain (EMD) that perfectly mirrored your target keyword? Those were the times when webmasters would scramble to snatch up any available domain with a juicy target phrase, hoping it would be their ticket to SEO glory.

Well, my friends, those days are long gone. Google’s algorithms have evolved, and the once-mighty EMD has fallen from grace. Or has it? In this in-depth article, we’ll dive into the history, the present, and the future of exact match domains in the ever-changing landscape of search engine optimization.

The EMD Glory Days

Back in the early 2000s, the SEO community was abuzz with the power of exact match domains. It was like a cheat code for ranking – if you could get your hands on a domain that perfectly matched your target keyword, you were almost guaranteed a spot on the first page of Google.

And it wasn’t just small-time players getting in on the action. Even big-name brands like recognized the value of an EMD. With a domain that screamed “I’m all about hotels,” they were able to dominate the search results for hotel-related queries, raking in millions of dollars in revenue.

As one Redditor put it, “If I wanted to rank for [boat insurance], I would have purchased the domain” It was that simple – or at least it seemed that way.

The Google Crackdown

But as with any good thing, the EMD party had to come to an end. In 2012, Google’s then-head of webspam, Matt Cutts, announced an algorithm update that was aimed at reducing the prevalence of low-quality exact match domains in the search results.

As Search Engine Journal reported, Google realized that some EMD holders had been unfairly penalized, simply for having a catchy domain name. So, they issued an update to the algorithm that improved the value of these domains and cracked down on the real culprits – the “spammy” EMDs with thin content and poor user experience.

The EMD Debate Rages On

Fast forward to today, and the debate around the value of exact match domains continues to rage on. Some SEO experts swear by the power of EMDs, while others believe they’re nothing more than a relic of the past.

As one Redditor pointed out, the downside of EMDs is that they can lack the branding and trademark-ability of a more creative domain name. And let’s be honest, who wants to be known as “CustomPrintingDotCom” when you could be the next Vistaprint or Printful?

But on the flip side, as Digital Guider noted, an EMD can still be a valuable tool, especially for local businesses looking to rank for location-specific keywords. And let’s not forget about the’s of the world – they’ve proven that an EMD can still be a powerful asset, if executed properly.

The Verdict: Are EMDs Still Worth It?

So, what’s the verdict? Are exact match domains still worth the investment, or are they a relic of the past? The answer, as it often is in the world of SEO, is a resounding “it depends.”

If you’re a local business targeting a specific geographic area, an EMD can still be a great way to signal your relevance to both search engines and potential customers. After all, a domain like “” is going to be a lot more intuitive and user-friendly than something like “”

But if you’re looking to build a larger, more nationally (or globally) focused brand, an EMD may not be the best route. You’ll want to prioritize a domain that reflects your brand’s identity and personality, rather than just your target keywords.

Ultimately, the value of an exact match domain comes down to your specific business goals and the competitive landscape of your industry. As an experienced SEO agency in Manchester, UK, we can help you navigate the complex world of domain selection and develop a comprehensive strategy to help your website thrive in the ever-changing world of search engine optimization.

So, are EMDs still worth it? The answer may not be as clear-cut as it once was, but with the right approach and a little bit of expert guidance, you just might be able to make them work for your business.

Navigating the EMD Landscape: Tips and Strategies

If you’re still on the fence about the value of exact match domains, here are a few tips and strategies to help you navigate this tricky landscape:

1. Do Your Research

Before you jump on the EMD bandwagon, take the time to thoroughly research your target keywords, the competitive landscape, and the potential value of an EMD in your industry. As Safari Digital pointed out, even if an EMD seems like a quick win, it may not be the best long-term strategy for your business.

2. Focus on Quality Content and User Experience

Remember, Google’s algorithms have evolved, and they’re now prioritizing high-quality, relevant content and user experience over just the domain name. So, even if you do decide to go the EMD route, make sure to invest heavily in creating engaging, informative content that truly serves your target audience.

3. Explore Partial Match Domains

If you can’t snag the perfect EMD, consider a partial match domain instead. These domains incorporate some of your target keywords, but they allow for more flexibility in branding and trademark protection. As Digital Guider noted, partial match domains can still provide significant ranking power when combined with a solid SEO strategy.

4. Stay Up-to-Date on Google’s Algorithm Updates

Google’s search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and what works today may not work tomorrow. Stay vigilant, keep an eye on industry news and updates, and be prepared to adjust your EMD strategy as needed to stay ahead of the curve.

Conclusion: Embrace the Changing EMD Landscape

The world of search engine optimization is a constantly shifting landscape, and exact match domains are no exception. While they may not hold the same weight they once did, EMDs can still be a valuable asset in the right circumstances.

The key is to approach this strategy with a critical eye, a focus on quality content and user experience, and a willingness to adapt as the industry evolves. With the right approach and a little bit of expert guidance, you just might be able to make the most of the ever-changing world of exact match domains.

So, are you ready to conquer the EMD landscape and take your website to new heights? Get in touch with our team of SEO experts in Manchester, UK, and let’s get started on your journey to search engine dominance.

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