Do Exact Match Domains Matter Anymore?

question_mark_personYou’re about to build a new website, you’ve done your keyword research so you understand what topics to write about and what your reader is looking for, and it’s time to find that perfect domain name. Do you look at those keywords and try to come up with a combination that would be an exact match domain, or do you think it no longer matters.

In the past there was much emphasis on the importance of building a website using an exact match domain. For example if your site was about dog training tips you would want a domain name something like “Best Dog Training Tips” .com, .net, or .org. Personally I always opt for a .com. During that time it was stressed that you should have those exact keywords somehow worked into your domain.

Now I’m sure you’ve experienced the agony of trying assorted combinations of those keywords only to find that each domain name you try was already taken. So you fumble around until you find a combination that you feel good about and you grab your domain. But I ask if that exact match domain really matters as much anymore.

I’ll even be so bold as to ask if you think exact match domains matter at all

I’ve seen websites with names that certainly don’t have matching keywords at all. For example, there is a dog training website with the name “” which focuses on the connection between dog training and dog advocacy. This site has numerous articles about dog training and tips for the dog owner but those keywords are not in their domain name and it appears to have fair search engine ranking.

How much importance do you think it is to have exact match keywords in your website name?

I’ve been noticing lately that many websites tend to come up with catchy and whimsical names that could possibly be more brand-able and it made me wonder if it was necessary in the long run to strive for an exact match domain. For example, there is a website focused on safety razors named “penny shaved”. That domain does not have any keywords in their domain name, but it certainly could become a brand-able name.

So I wonder if going with a brand-able name may be the new direction to follow. These are three things I feel it has going for it:

  • You can keep the domain name short
  • You can come up with a .com domain name
  • You have a domain name that can be expanded upon.

In this day of sites like Pinterest, Zazzle, and Etzy, maybe it really is better to have a domain name that can also be used for branding purposes in these store-like sites and visual exchange sites.

This methodology would also allow you to provide links to your website which would be good for SEO and could it could possibly provide you with additional revenue sources. So I ask your thoughts, what do you think –

Do exact match domains matter anymore or would a switch to brand-able domain names be better?


Marilyn T



  1. I’m no expert in this area, but I imagine if you’re producing quality information you’ll create a brand and you won’t need an exact domain match.

  2. I think they still matter for Bing and Yahoo more than they do for Google.

    I’d imagine even for Google they matter a little bit, especially at first, but beyond that, I don’t think it is a big deal what your domain name is.

  3. I’m with Misty on this one – Matt Cutts did ramble on about low quality exact match domains. And, as a user I’m more likely to look at a brand name than an exact match domain.

    I guess it depends on your motivation. If you’re in for the long haul, go the branding way. If you want to churn out sites to sell on, go exact match – some internet marketers still put a great deal on the domain name.

  4. We thought about this when we bought the domain for our books. But I figured as long as ‘zombie’ was prominent we were fine, and the series name was available, so we went with that.

  5. I think a combination works. Luckily my business and my domain niche are the same, so as long as I have Pilates in there I am good.

  6. I don’t even bother with exact match names anymore. If it’s available, fine, but if not, not a big deal. Plus these days I am trying to build brands to keep longevity and authority going on my niche sites. Plus…awhile back I saw that Matt Cutts had tweeted that Google will reduce low quality exact match domains in search results…so I really just don’t feel it matters anymore.

    I look at it like this. If you were on the prowl for a razor, like the one you mentioned above, would you rather buy from something that looks like a branded company such as or would you rather buy from To me…penny shaved has more authority and the other just looks like a spam name.

    • Thanks so much everyone for your comments. There are so many out there that tout the need still for exact match domains but I believe Misty that you said it best in why they really don’t matter so much any more. Yes, Jan I agree that branding is the best way to go and Michael yep, it probably helps with the other search engines more than Google. That being said, I purchased a domain for a niche site a couple weeks back that has an exact match, so we’ll see how it goes, I’m certainly changing my tactics moving forward.
      BTW: Prof BT, I think you really needed to include zombie in your domain as that is your branding.
      Thanks everyone!

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