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.
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®