Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012
So this is good news for some, but bad news for others, but not me. Yes, I have an exact match domain, but it’s not going to hurt me much at all. I’m convinced of it. Though I do have an exact match domain, I wouldn’t consider this site low-quality. We’re talking AdSense sites that do nothing but scrape content or sites that never update or nasty looking sites without much meat at all. Those sites should worry, if they’re ranking high for some queries.
Your web pages titles probably don’t pertain to your exact match domain, anyway.
Remember, we’re talking about PAGES ranked by Google, not entire websites. So, because my homepage says “The SEO News Blog” and my URL matches what I try to write about here, that URL doesn’t match every page or post on my blog.
The pages that rank highest in search for this blog are about bounce rate, Facebook Facepile, who coined the term “web 2.0,” and .pdf files passing page rank. Not one of them has an exact-match title. And I’m still ranking for 1,737 terms that aren’t SEO news.
Why good quality exact match domains sites won’t be hurt at all…
First, notice the part of the tweet that says “low quality.” If your site sucks, you probably don’t have a prayer. You’re going down, if the only thing keeping you in the SERPs at any position was your exact match domain.
If you search “golf,” you’ll see that Golf.com is still#1 for the term “golf” because your page rankings depend on so much more than just this one shift in the algorithm. Let’s see why it won’t hurt Golf.com one iota:
- Golf.com has been around since 1996. Longevity has a lot to do with your rankings
- Google has 1 million pages on the site indexed.
- Google shows only 312 backlinks with the link: query, which seems really low, but Golf.com has some very high-quality, high-profile, high-rep sites linking back — PGATour.com, GolfDigest.com, and USOpen.com to name only three.
- Golf.com’s Alexa is 9,933 and it’s getting like 10K visitors a day.
Can you say, “Authority site”? I knew you could.
What to do if you have an exact match domain
If you have an exact match domain and you have a blog that you update often with quality content, no worries. It probably won’t hurt at all. If you have an authority site, again… no worries. But if you have a site that doesn’t do much to improve the Web and you noticed a huge drop in traffic since Friday, you may want to consider improving your site and choosing a domain that has more to do with your brand than your niche.
And if you’re planning a new website, stop worrying about exact match domains and go with a brand name that you can promote. Associate that brand name with everything you do and tie it in to whatever your niche is. Make ABC, LLC the place to get red widgets, and Google will be happier.