No exact-match domains made the first page of Google when searching for Thanksgiving

Around the holidays I always like to take a look at how exact-match domains (EMDs) do when it comes to Google rankings. This morning I did a Google search for Thanksgiving and was expecting to see on the first page since it is a developed site:


Going up to page four of Google, is the only EMD that made the cut even though it ended up on page 2. Now, all this being said I’m not incredibly surprised since Wikipedia is #1 for Thanksgiving and after that are a lot of news articles from sites like

Still, I remember a time years ago when exact-match domains had a real presence on page one of Google, some making it above-the-fold. As we all know, being on page two of Google means that you’re probably not going to get much search traffic. In fact, only 6% of search traffic makes its way to page two (Source – Forbes) and since is in the middle of page two (i.e. not at the top) it’s probably getting around 1% of the search traffic.

But let’s be honest. Who the heck really goes to Google and searches for Thanksgiving? I think people look for things like Thanksgiving recipes, but sadly doesn’t show up in the first five pages of search results for this phrase so they’re not getting any search traffic there.

So if you’re thinking about buying an exact-match domain in order to rank well for a popular holiday, think again, those days are long gone.

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • John November 21, 2018, 10:24 am

    Your friendly unfettered monopoly at work.

    Google “60 minutes how did google get so big” while they still let you see it.

  • Snoopy November 21, 2018, 11:48 am

    The aftermarket has certainly been crushed for these types of domains, etc.

  • Michael Anthony Castello November 21, 2018, 2:13 pm

    Your comments are a little misleading. While I agree that Google has done a great job of moving traffic away from the URL and domain names over the last ten years, you give the impression that exact match domain names do now hold their own on page one. I did a check of two of my names which are exact match.

    Search: daycare
    Google: is 1st page and #1 “after all their advertisers”
    Bing: 1st page and #1 “after 2 advertisers”
    Yahoo: 1st page and #1 “after all their advertisers”

    Search: nashville
    Google: is 1st page and #3
    Bing: 1st page in the top 10 “including advertisers”
    Yahoo: 1st page in the top 10 “including advertisers”

    This could be said for Palm Springs and a host of other domain names we have built out. Many of the other advertisers and sites above us are “paying” google or other search engines for their ranking. We do not spend a dime. What is that worth day in and day out, year after year?

    I also find that when visitors come to purchase tickets from or daycare listing services from, they feel that our brands are trusted and are leaders in their respected industries. That is a direct result from having an EMD.

    I get your point though. I used to own and it is nowhere to be seen in search. I think that is more of a result of the owner not using it to its potential. Happy Thanks giving.

    • John November 21, 2018, 4:16 pm

      I was actually going to say something similar to Morgan about his post despite what I wound up saying there, as clearly it’s not happening all the time, but clearly also nonetheless Google has still vastly harmed domain names and essentially sought to destroy them. You have even been the only person I’ve seen talk about it to the degree that you have before. I just didn’t feel up to it this time and am in a jaded mood today.

  • Ethan November 21, 2018, 6:39 pm

    Google’s fondness for EMD changed years ago and no longer gave it much weight since then. SEO nowadays mainly focuses on keywords in content, backlinks, etc.

  • Jose November 22, 2018, 9:44 am

    Although late I hope you’ve had one, Happy Thanksgiving Morgan.

    Happy Day. Jose

  • Undaunt November 22, 2018, 12:21 pm

    Dont depend on google,otherwise they own your business and its at their mercy.Just get the right name and im sure most emd owners stopped paying to draw traffic.


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