PALM BEACH, FL – Exact match domain names, URLs which are spelled exactly how a top search term is used in popular verbal expression still work to help boost search rankings well when it comes to Bing.com and Yahoo.com, but on Google.com, it doesn’t seem to matter unless there are powerful “brand signals” in play, such as high numbers of inbound links, frequent references to the URL whether linked or not, and other popular signals such as social media activity with matching profiles linked to a site.
The SEO processes behind Google’s search engine results are an entirely different topic, but in the simplest of terms, rankings on Bing.com and Yahoo.com are a completely different story than on Google.
To rank well on Bing.com and Yahoo.com, you really don’t have to do much at all outside of just having an exact matching domain name and a couple of links. And Yahoo seems like a real mess lately, it’s much worse than Bing.com and seems almost like Yahoo is some sort of weird algorithmic testing ground where poor results just don’t matter anymore; they just litter the results page with ads; it’s a good and useful as using Dogpile.com, which should probably just change its name to DogCrap.com.
Who the heck uses it anyway? At least I see traffic referrals from ridiculously named DuckDuckGo.com.
This is what has critically injured the value of domain names when it comes to domination of search engines, because Google is the search engine that everyone cares about, and exact match domain names don’t help nearly as much as they used to. I often have clients tell me they don’t care about rankings on Bing or Yahoo at all, especially those who are doing sponsored advertising, yet I do still stress that at such a reduced cost, it sill pays to be there.
The dampening effect that has been placed on exact match domains from Google’s EMD update (2012) has created a situation where a domain name is no longer a “free ticket to ride” and has become more of a “brand value” and “marketing asset” in terms of “type in traffic”, a solid piece of real estate and cheaper costs per-click on AdWords. Spending a large amount of money on a three or four-word domain name must be looked at and evaluated much more closely now as to what its actual return will yield.
In the past, having an exact match domain name, on top of all those great benefits of value, was also a near guarantee of securing first page rankings on Google, often providing “number one” rankings, however, these days exact match domains guarantee nothing but added leverage and an easier marketing process, but not necessarily rankings.
Remember when domain names were valued based on search frequency and average cost per click multiplied by a reasonable increase for the value of the asset itself? Remember the overture keyword tool?
Those were the good ole days.
Ranking number one or even on the first page of Bing and Yahoo is still sort of nice, but there is very little traffic to be acquired there, and first page rankings, unless on monumental terms, doesn’t really amount to much. Don’t get me wrong, there is indeed traffic on Bing and Yahoo and there are in-fact decent leads to be gone after there, so it is still worth while being there, but overall the process is dramatically less productive than even mediocre rankings on Google and even this is in sharp decline from Google’s own maps, sponsored search, knowledge graph and rich snippets.
The treatment and desire of owning and using new gTLDs where the keywords match popular phrases on the left and the ‘right of the dot‘ are also highly dependent on search placement and give you a shorter domain name and a likelihood to rank better with search engines ‘bolding‘ the words on both sides. Many new gTLD purchases are based on both ends of the URL being an exact match term and able to help a site rank better.
Imagine what gTLD sales would look like if that were removed from the equation?
To make matters worse, Google has been playing with URLs in the browser and seems determined to get rid of URLs entirely from search results anyway. This is the second time they are seen to be testing the removal of URLs in some way. It’s unfortunate that Google gets to determine, so heavily, on what happens in the naming space, but I guess you could say that for just about everything their dominance influences.
“The free listings lunch is surely long over.”
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Internet Marketing Services Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, authored a ‘how to’ book called ”Mastering Your Website‘, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy brand Searchen Networks®
Mark Thorpe says
Exact match domains will always be the best domains to own and use. They are your best defense against Search Engine and Social Media companies.
Feel bad foe the purchasers of usedcarsforsale in .com (6 figure sale) . their business model relies on search engines. EMD is good if its short and easy to remember. Not the loooong emds. imo
John Colascione says
Yep, those are the exact types of 3-4 words strings I am talk about. That is a dynamite name; I believe it sold for $100k last year. But this is a very good example. It’s not going to immediately rank like it would have years ago, but if they put a real business behind it, and build it as a brand, it could dominate, but its going to take a whole lot more work and real effort to make it so, much more than just ownership of the name. They will need to do real link building and real brand building to make that name pay itself off. That name in particular can do really well if they do it right.
Five banners mixed with two images in the article is a bit disturbing to reading, in my humble opinion.
John Colascione says
@Ethan – I went ahead and shut off Google’s new Auto Ads’, which places ads within the body of the content based on your feedback. Thank you.
I sense EMD will/does rank better since recent updates. Google wants to hide that fact while they own premium domains like autonomous.cars.
Patricia Kaehler says
it was just a matter of time…
What are the TOP 10 Search Engines ??
John Colascione says
List of Top 10 Most Popular Search Engines In the World (Updated 2019)
Robert McLean says
Matt Cutts is a vandal and systematically, is attacking domaining and domainers, in the interests of supporting those that cannot or will not pay the price for exact match domain names.
What is being done by Mr. Cutts on behalf of Google is of criminal proportions and should be prosecuted as such.