Google SEO: Exact Match Domain Or Not?

SEO Exact MatchThere is an interesting WebmasterWorld thread just kicking off on an old topic of should you go with an exact match domain or go with the branded domain?

It is not a new topic, it has been discussed for years. We’ve probably covered it here a few times before. But since SEO and Google’s algorithms change over the years, it is good to revisit the topic.

The question is, if you want to rank for [blue widgets] and you are starting a new site, should you go with a domain name that matches the keyword phrase, i.e. or should you go with a branded domain such as

Of course, it depends on your strategy.

Bill Hartzer commented in the thread said it depends on the length of the domain name you can find. He wrote:

If it is a three keyword phrase, them you are better off with a shorter domain. If it was one or two keywords then I would go for the exact match. is not much better, you might be better if you choose a short brand able word instead.

Netmeg said he’d always go with a branded domain approach:

I don’t think it’s going to have much bearing on the success of your site in Google. Go with branding, or whatever you think your users will remember.

I agree, it depends on your plans. Is it a short term plan? Is it a long term strategy? What domains are available? What can you work the brand around?

Of course, having a domain with the keywords in it is helpful. People link to you by your domain name. I.e. people link to my business saying RustyBrick because that is my company name and domain name. So it helps with anchor text to have a keyword rich, exact match domain. It does sometimes and often appear that Google likes to rank exact match domain names in the search results – but not always.

What do you think?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to ShutterStock for puzzle pieces

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