Do Exact Match Domain Names Still Work?
The short answer to this question is, unfortunately for affiliate marketers and others, no. Google is slowly but surely punishing people not only for Panda and Penguin updates and issues, as well as Exact Match domain names and other updates that, in time, have been quelled and made more difficult to increase and improve site traffic with EMD (exact match domains).
EMDs have consistently been a popular method for long-tail keyword phrases; that is, marketers come up with a profitable keyword, register a domain name and website that matches this phrase, and build content throughout their site until they hit the first page of the search engine, with some back links to improve the site and its quality in search engines.
However, according to SEOmoz and other major marketing and SEO sites, EMD and exact matching have taken a nose dive in recent months as Google has adjusted their algorithm to reflect attempting to improve higher quality search results on the front page from being “gamed” by overeager marketers.
Many people have been affected by these issues, and a quick search among SEO forums and on SEO chats and websites yield many different questions and issues related to EMD questions, observations, and other problems. Affiliate marketers, especially, have been hit fairly hard by Google’s unpredictable algorithm change, and its made it quite difficult for affiliate marketers and others to understand how to work within the regulations for exact match domains.
Typically, as seen in this case, there are countless unintended consequences and issues when it comes to Google’s algorithm changes, and as updates are rolled out and improved. It makes it quite difficult for affiliate marketers and others who consistently use EMDs to plan their future work, and to fool-proof their websites so they aren’t pinged by EMD penalties and dropped down search engine queries and off the top pages on Google.
For those who have been hit, though, there are simple things that you can do, namely creating great content and continuing to add it to your site. The more great and valuable content you have on your site, the more traffic you can pick back up and the more back links from other sites you can continue to receive over time. This, over time, can make up for EMD penalties and (slowly) rise your site back to the top pages on search engines without worrying about future algorithm changes and penalties.
While Google has clearly been jamming sites which use exact matching domain names to boost search engine rankings and optimization, marketers and those in SEO must realize and understand that EMD may not be the panacea that it once was; search engine traffic and organic search traffic simply isn’t a safe and self-sufficient model without other search engine methods and tools built in over time.