Merry-Christmas.com Is #3 in Google, Christmas.com is on Page 5

Every year I’m interested to see which domain names make it above-the-fold for competitive terms like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas. Now with a day to go before Christmas I found the following three sites in my top three on Google when searching for the word christmas:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. History.com
  3. Merry-Christmas.com

Yes, Christmas.com wasn’t anywhere to be found on the first page, neither was MerryChristmas.com, instead in the #3 spot is Merry-Christmas.com. It has been known for a long time but this is another great example of how a dash doesn’t hurt you at all and at the end of the day good SEO can beat an exact-match name any day.

merry-christmas-com

According to SEOMoz’s Open Site Explorer the site has roughly 1,500 backlinks coming from 393 different root domains.

merry-christmas-seo

Compare this to Christmas.com which has 4,372 links but only 546 backlinks which means a few sites are sending a massive amount of links…which Google isn’t crazy about. So even with more backlinks it doesn’t beat out Merry-Christmas.com which has higher quality backlinks, not by a lot, but by enough to make the difference.

christmas-com-seo

As you can see, in the end Merry-Christmas.com ends-up with a page authority only two higher than Christmas.com but their SEO around the word Christmas coupled with higher quality backlinks seems to have made the difference.

I finally found Christmas.com on page 5 of Google below santa.net. So if you thought buying an exact-match domain meant nice juicy ranking advantages, think again. Take Christmas.com a six maybe seven-figure domain and compare it to Merry-Christmas.com which was most-likely hand-registered. Yet Merry-Christmas.com is #3 in Google and Christmas.com is buried on page 5.

Of course I still love exact-match domains but it’s always important to remember that it’s what you do with the domain that really matters.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • michael December 24, 2013, 2:45 pm

    The Christmas site is a little poorly created. Just looking at the URL’s
    Here is one:
    http://www.christmas.com/ideadetails/27047
    idea details instead of item details? But it should really look like this:
    http://www.christmas.com/item-details/Christmas-Morning-Breakfast-Gift-Basket/27047

    It could easly be a page one site on Google if it was made better!

    Reply
  • Site Name Marketing December 24, 2013, 6:32 pm

    Top of the page on Bing and Yahoo. In a very competitive and undoubtedly expensive SEO sector, I’ll take page 1, above the fold for 30% of internet searchers.

    Oh, and by the way, appreciate your blog most of the tme. Merry Christmas.com.

    Reply
  • Vin Jacques December 24, 2013, 7:41 pm

    Merry Christmas Morgan and Diana!

    Reply
  • fizz December 24, 2013, 8:12 pm

    Don’t you consider Merry-Christmas.com to be an exact-match name Morgan?

    Reply
  • arnold December 24, 2013, 11:17 pm

    Merry-Christmas.com top links are all paid or exploits fine blackhat work.

    Reply
  • Mark Hershiser December 25, 2013, 11:04 am

    Merry Christmas Morgan…

    Reply
    • Morgan December 26, 2013, 8:45 am

      Thanks @Mark – I hope you had a wonderful XMas!! 🙂

      Reply
  • nobody December 31, 2013, 10:21 am

    So what does it have to do with domains? if they rank MrtChmax.com on result 1 does it really change anything regarding the value of a domain Christmas.com

    Reply

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