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Comprehensive guide to exact match domains in 2020

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Exact match domains (EMDs) are domain names that incorporate the exact keywords that you are trying to rank for in Google’s SERPs.

Examples of exact match domains include:

  • carinsurance.com
  • buygroceries.com
  • dogfood.com

In some industries, people will call their company’s name after the product that they offer, for example, Window Cleaners London.

But in the competitive world of SEO, EMDs are commonly bought by webmasters to gain a quick advantage when it comes to ranking on search engines.

Other studies have shown that having an EMD can help clicks with PPC[1], given that it targets a particular search enquiry.

The history of exact match domains

Looking back at the evolution of SEO over the past 20 years, having an exact match domain was originally a sure-fire way to rank top of Google.

Even dating back 10 years ago, many SEO practitioners benefitted from just buying an exact match domain, adding a bit of content and getting links from directories and this was enough to secure a page one position.

A new market emerged from domain-name selling. Many entrepreneurs were eager to get their hands on a valuable domain name, whilst thrifty businesspeople held onto domain names hoping to ‘flip’ them at a higher price.

This market continues today, with companies like GoDaddy and 123 Reg offering a marketplace for buying and selling domains, amongst other products.

But webmasters holding onto domains for their potential value has seen the most promising businesses never seen to be made, with websites such as cars.com, food.com, loans.com offering affiliate sites but not transpiring into major brands.

With long-winded exact match domains starting to rank such as buybluejeans.com and carinsurancequotesonline.com – Google responded with an EMD update in 2012[2] to penalize and filter these out.

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