Website domain names in the modern age are bought, sold and traded like commodities in their own rights. What they really are is prime online real estate and they are in a state of constant flux as the demands of the market shift and change.
The folks at Google have done an excellent job on monitoring their ranking algorithms and have responded in kind. Now, exact-match domains (EMD) and partial-match domains (PMD) are ranking lower in the search results.
Why is this happening?
The simplest reason is that global competition has shifted the way people are doing business online. In the past, if you wanted to find a free video editing software package, you’d merely type in, ‘videoeditor.com’ and that’s what you got.
Companies the world over are realizing that keywords in their domains are not producing as strong a ROI as they were only a short time ago. Instead, businesses are opting to invest in areas where there is less risk for greater reward by comparison – areas such as brand identity, market presence, online advertising and SEO website content.
Why are EMDs still being bought?
Competition online is fierce, especially when it comes to domain names. Brand positioning is essentially what you’re buying when your purchase a URL. Whilst there is no concrete proof that a domain labelled, ‘mycompanybrandname.com’ will outperform one laden with keywords, the final say always comes down to the consumer.
However, a potential customer is statistically highly likely to navigate away from sites containing keywords close to what they searched, in favour of a trusted and established brand name – and businesses can, and do, stake their reputations on this fact every day.
It isn’t that keywords in domain names are exclusively or inherently bad, more that potential online buyers have become desensitized to online advertizing, are wary of sales speak and prefer to shop at trusted online outlets.
Do EDMs and PDMs still have their place?
Of course! A domain name is only ever as good as you make it, but if you’re in the market to buy and sell online real estate as it were, there are some determining factors to be mindful of. Keep your expectations realistic and to make smart investment decisions. In particular, be on the lookout for:
- Ideal character length: usually no more than 18 characters total
- Brand affiliation: words calling to mind similarly established brand names
- Top level domains: URLs with the extension .com .net or .org
Branded Domain Name
When it comes so sheer numbers, the science is in. Branded domain names require 40,000 hits and demand typically higher domain and page authority before they achieve first ranking on Google. To compare, domains containing keywords only need 35,000 hits to place in the top ten.
The fact is that keyword domains require half the effort to rank in the first page of search results. They achieve higher than average website relevancy scores and this makes them especially attractive to buyers looking to purchase an already high ranking domain.