Are Exact Match Domains Too Powerful? Is Their Time Limited?

Are Exact Match Domains Too Powerful? Is Their Time Limited?

How big an issue is exact-match domains? Let's look at some data from our correlation analysis from SMX Advanced earlier this year: Just by itself, exact match is remarkably high in correlation to rankings. Granted, that's not causation, and it could be other factors influencing those impressively high rankings. Let's get a bit deeper and more granular around the issue: Holy what?! Yeah - it's powerful stuff. We can also look at the raw prominence (less interesting for determining what might help a page/site rank, but useful for this application: That's saying that more than 1/4 and nearly 1/3 SERPs contain an exact match domain in the top 10. The question is, with search results in so many sectors becoming so overrun with obviously over-SEO'd, spammy, manipulative and sometimes, downright poor quality exact-match domains, is Google bound to take action? Interestingly, some of the more experienced, ear-to-the-ground SEO types indicated that they'd heard (or believed) that Google would soon be taking action against exact match domains. Personally, I'd welcome it as both a searcher and an SEO. I think Google's relied on exact match for far too long, and it would give them a substantive quality boost over Bing to have more subtlely in the domain matching algo.

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Last night at the SEOmoz meetup in Avi Wilensky‘s incredible office space, a frequent topic of discussion both during the presentations/Q+A and in small group networking before and after was the propensity for Google (and Bing) to bias towards exact match domains in the rankings.

How big an issue is exact-match domains? Let’s look at some data from our correlation analysis from SMX Advanced earlier this year:

Just by itself, exact match is remarkably high in correlation to rankings. No other on-site/on-page factor we examined even came close. Granted, that’s not causation, and it could be other factors influencing those impressively high rankings. Let’s get a bit deeper and more granular around the issue:

Holy what?! Actually, this probably isn’t very surprising to most SEOs. The second highest correlation we found of anything – links, on-page elements, URL factors, keyword usage, third-party metrics (excluding only Page Authority scores, which are specifically designed to predict Google rankings) was exact-match .com domain names. Yeah – it’s powerful stuff.

We can also look at the raw prominence (less interesting for determining what might help a page/site rank, but useful for this application:

That’s saying that more than 1/4 and nearly 1/3 SERPs contain an exact match domain in the top 10. The only thing more prominent?

No surprise it’s keyword-in-the-domain matches (but not necessarily…

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