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Author Topic: Exact Match Domains Vs Branded domains: Should the Keyword Be Part of the Domain  (Read 601 times)

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The following is an excerpt from one of the uncompleted Lessons yet to be released. It talks more about selecting a domain name:

A domain name that exactly matches a keyword is known as exact match domain or EMD. For example, if the top keyword that you have selected for your site is nigerian wedding dresses, the domain nigerianweddingdresses.com is an exact match domain for that keyword.

On the other hand, domain names like ng44.com, vconnect.com, or bellanaija.blogspot.com are classified as branded domains or branded subdomains since they are not exactly targeting any specific keyword for SEO purposes, rather they are derived from brands and brand related names.

With respect to having the keyword as part of the URL, one question many newbies tend to ask is whether having your main keyword in your domain is better than not having it or if it really matters if the keyword is in the name or not.

The simple answer to this is that having keywords as part of the domain can be beneficial but is not an absolute necessity. It all depends on the core strategy that you wish to use to promote your website.
If you plan to promote a website through free search engine traffic and mainly SEO then having your main keywords in your domain can be very beneficial. The downside of keyword based and exact match domains is that getting a large number of steady traffic most often tends to take too long.

On the other hand, if you have a longer term vision for your website where word of mouth and paid traffic or non-search-engine promotion is going to play a key role in your traffic generation strategies then it is best to get a short, easy to remember branded domain. A hybrid of the branded domain and EMD may also include one or two words from your main keyword or just the root of your main keyword.

For example, we decided to use the branded domain name ng44.com for our corporate website because we wanted a website that people all over Nigeria will be talking about and recommending so we wanted a name that was short and easy to pronounce. This is because we expected that word of mouth (i.e people telling other people) will play a major role in getting traffic to our website therefore we wanted something that was very easy to pronounce. We also intended to use paid advertising so having the keyword in the URL was not entirely necessary since most of our traffic was going to come from non-search engine sources.

Tip: The best kinds of branded domains are short with as few syllables as possible.

Meanwhile for our other website latestnigerianjobs.com, we were mostly targeting the people who were searching for jobs online via search engines. Our primary keyword was nigerian jobs but an Exact Match Domain (EMD) for that keyword was not available so we chose to add the prefix "latest" before the "nigerian jobs".

There are many other factors to consider when picking the right domain name for your new website. These factors differ depending on what kind of online business you are doing.

In the meantime, here are some things to be aware of when chosing between an exact match domain (EMD) or a branded domain:

•   While EMDs and keyword domains may be excellent from an SEO point of view, they are often times too long to pronounce. This makes it difficult to pronounce thereby limiting the possibility of word of mouth promotion. E.g …

•   It is not always easy to find exact match domains for many of the popular keywords because most of them have already been registered. In fact, many people are involved in the business of finding popular keywords, registering their exact match domains and reselling at a higher price.
When optimizing a page for a particular keyword, having that keyword as part of the first or second part of the URL can be a boost but not in all cases.

Whenever possible, you should aim first for keywords in your domain but where it is not practicable, you can opt for a shorter branded domain. In the event that you decide to use an EMD but domain for your main keyword is no longer available, you might add a prefix or suffix word to it.

For example, if nigerianweddingdresses.com is no longer available, you can try to register mynigerianweddingdresses.com or nigerianweddingdressesonline.com

Another option could be to add dashes in between one or more of the keywords e.gwww.nigerian-wedding-dresses.com or You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login. When adding dashes, make sure that there are not more than three dashes in the domain name.

The reason for this is that anything higher than that may attract penalties from Google because having too many dashes in a domain name is a common practice of SEO spammers so it may raise a red flag with Google.

A URL or permalink is typically made up of two parts: the domain part and the file/folder name or path. For example, You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login is the URL of a hypothetical page on our website. The first part of the address before the first slash (You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login ) is the domain part, while the right hand side of the URL (online-business-in-nigeria) is the filename part. Combined together, they form the full address (or URL or Permalink).

Google treats dashes appearing on the domain part differently from dashes which appear in the filename part. In the domain name, the dashes should not exceed three or you run the risk of a negative penalty. While on the file name side, you can have as much dashes as possible.

•   No dash e.gwww.nigerianweddingdresses.com: best
•   One dash: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login: good
•   Two dashes e.g You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login: OK
•   Three dashes: my-nigerian-wedding-dresses.com: not bad but avoid if you can
•   Four dashes: avoid especially for long term projects

An exact match domain works best when it is a .com, this means that if you have to choose between a .com and any other TLD for your exact match domain, always go for the .com. You may also consider using .net or .org but avoid .biz and .info because search engines tend to believe that they are commonly used by spammers hence such domains are given less priority.

Although there is a debate as to whether a .com carries more weight than other top level domains like .org, .net etc, we always prefer registering the .com version. If we find that the .com version of the name we want is no longer available, we simply look for another .com which might be available or we add dashes.


Rule of Thumb:
Here's a rule of thumb that might help:

Amazon websites: primary keyword must be in the domain for faster results

AdSense websites: Keyword may or may not be part of the website, depending on how you wish to promote it. But it is usually good to have the main word in your keyphrase as part of the domain name, e.g for a music related Adsense website, having the word music in the domain may be beneficial in the long run and also gives people an idea of the subject matter of the website

Information marketing website/corporate website/ service: Not necessary


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@Tony: Indeed, when it comes to "exact match domains vs branded domains" you've said it all. Many thanks for these wonderful tips.
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@Tonny thanks a lot for this eye opener. When nxt am goin to do something of this nature, i will properly walk with this. Bt my site and d keyword i used does nt corrolate at all. All thesame boss
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Did a search for a guide with respect to this topic discussed herein, and i must say, it was really very educative and informative.

I'm sure anyone who reads this expository from Tony will agree with me.

Thanks T.

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Dear Mentor,

Thanks for the useful and educative write up. 
The needful has been done to show my appreciaiion.

Best regards,

Aare MacFally
Knowledge Is Power – Seek For It

 

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