Domain names have been getting some nice attention by Forbes recently with the latest article hitting today discussing exact-match domain names and their popularity with investors. Along with covering why exact-match domains are so interesting to investors, and why .COM is still the way to go:
When selecting your domain, it’s also wise to consider an exact-match domain. What are these? They are domains that use the exact keywords that best represent your brand or products. Obviously, the best exact match domain names end in .com. (Source – Forbes)
I think it’s pretty darn cool to see Forbes talk about domain investing, let’s be honest, the mainstream media calls Domainers cybersquatters a lot more than they do investors…but maybe things are changing?
While I think the article makes a lot of good points about exact-match domains, I think they missed the mark when talking about the SEO value of domains names:
The search engine benefits of this domain are omnipresent. A quick Google search for “hotels” reveals that Hotels.com is the top organic result, which leads to hundreds of millions of free, new users for their brand each year. (Source – Forbes)
This isn’t really true. Hotels.com isn’t the top organic result because of the domain, it’s because of all the work the company behind the domain has done to get amazing backlinks and marketing they’ve done to build the brand. That being said, Hotels.com is a great domain name and without a doubt a category-killer and the best choice for the company that bought it.
Still, domain names no longer carry SEO juice. You can’t just buy an exact match domain and rank #1 in Google for it…those days are gone. According to SEO.com, Google used to provide SEO benefits for exact-match domains but doesn’t any more:
In a much simpler time, when SEO was as simpler thing, a website’s domain name could have a huge impact on its rankings.
But nothing lasts forever, and a few years back, Google realized that a domain alone, without any supporting quality elements, needed to be addressed.
The problem came from Exact Match Domains (EMD). Companies would buy a domain name that was little more than a keyword. At the time, that was enough to rank.
Now, things have changed. (Source – SEO.com)
All this being said, yes – a good domain name is critical to building a brand online. Also having a good domain gives more credibility instantly, probably making it easier for people to trust you and link back to you, hence improving your SEO…but Google algorithm isn’t giving you an SEO bonus just for having an exact-match domain. I think SEO.com says it best;
Exact match domains took a hit as a ranking factor back in 2012, but they’re still an important part of online marketing for different reasons. (Source – SEO.com)
Still this isn’t meant to be a total dig on the article Forbes put together, they nailed it with the value of exact-match domains to investors…but end users should know that they still have to put in the time, energy, and money to get SEO juice to the sites they put on their domain names.