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The Impact of Google’s Exact Match Domain Update

SEO | 7th Nov 2012

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Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Laura. I’m a Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai, and I just want to talk to you briefly about exact match domains. Now Google have recently rolled out an algorithm update with regards to exact match domains, and I want to tell you a bit more about what that means.

An exact match domain, for example, would be if you own a car hire company in Bournemouth, and it had the domain name BournemouthCarHire.co.uk. An example of something else, a non-exact match domain would be something like Yahoo, Google, Zynga, all these companies where what they do isn’t in their title.

It became quite easy for people to rank higher if they had an exact match domain, and this meant quite often that lower quality sites, that didn’t really have very much to offer, were placing above better quality sites purely on the basis of this exact match domain name. People were using loads and loads of keywords with hyphens and just creating these horrible URLs that didn’t really take you to what you were probably looking for. This is what Google are trying to get away from.

They first applied for the patent in 2003, and it was granted in 2011. In September this year, 2012, Matt Cutts announced on Twitter that this update should affect about 0.6% in English US searches.

It looks like it might have affected a little bit more than that. A few people are actually reporting a positive response. Their exact match domains are actually placing slightly higher, which probably needs looking into a little bit. Some people have suffered from it. Some people have dropped right out. Some people aren’t really seeing that much of a change.

Now the people who are seeing a benefit or not much of a change are most likely those who have a good quality site offering exactly what it says on the tin anyway. The ones who would suffer are the people who were using the exact match domain name to place higher when they didn’t really have an awful lot to say.

Responses have been mixed. Age definitely seems to have come across as a factor. So if your site is under a year old, you are more likely to be affected by this. If your site is older, hopefully you’ll be okay as long as you are following good practice, offering all the right things, and are, like I say, doing what you say on the tin and offering the service that people are actually looking for when they click on your site.

Now there are a lot of things you can do if you have been hit, and they are essentially just good SEO practice. Know who your brand is. Know what you’re aiming for and work around that. Build a community. Be social. Be responsive to people who come to your site. You can offer your knowledge on forums and niche sites. You can network. Use email marketing. Just generally build a good brand and build a good impression. You really don’t need exact match domains to do that. You just need a good business and good business practice.

This update is going to be run periodically. So to get an exact match domain now after the event won’t actually do you any good. It’s not going to hold any benefit anymore. What the update was designed to do was essentially not penalize exact match domains, but turn down the volume on the advantage that they had. So now it will be far more balanced, whether you go for a brand name which doesn’t have any keywords in it or an exact match domain is not going to make a lot of difference. So if that’s what you want to go for, you can still do it, but it won’t hold any particular advantage.

As I say, follow good practice and you should be fine. If you would like any more information on this, you can go to www.Koozai.com or visit the social profiles below. Thanks.

About the author

Laura Phillips

Laura has experience of SEO, PPC and Social Media both in-house and within an agency environment. Having worked across a variety of industries from travel to law, and retail to education she is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the search and social visibility of her clients across various platforms.

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