In this guide, we’ll discuss Google’s fourth-ranking signal that is Exact Match Domain System. If you haven’t read about the previous signals, you can read them here:
- BERT Explained: Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers
- Crisis Information Systems – CIS
- Deduplication Systems
It is essential to be more attentive while understanding Exact Match Domain System Ranking Signal; otherwise, you might get unexpected results if you are not taking care of this ranking signal.
The following statement is 100% true:
Google’s Core Ranking Algorithm considers “the keywords mentioned in the domain name” as a ranking signal/factor.
👉 with a “But” … Keep reading to understand why I have said: “But.” for the above mentioned statement.
What is the exact match domain?
Let’s consider that there is a website named: BestDentistInChicago.com. It has the keywords: Best, Dentist, In, Chicago.
Assuming that you live in Chicago and are feeling pain in your teeth, what will you search on Google?
Most probably: “best dentist in Chicago.”
That is called an exact match domain or exact keyword matching domain name.
If we look at this from Google’s ranking system point of view, Google will rank this website for the keyword “best dentist in Chicago” (Yes! Google does that as well.)
Why is Exact Match Domain Algorithm used?
Let’s take an example:
Which students cheat in exams? Of course, the one who has not prepared for the exam.
Those who buy exact match domain names think this is good enough to rank on Google and do not concentrate on website content, which is a significant factor (helpful content).
That is why EMD systems target only those websites that has the keyword in their domains, but there is no value in their content.
How does Google’s EMD system work?
Here is how does Exact Match Domain system works:
The Google experts realized that people are quickly creating exact-match domain names to rank their primary keywords in Google result pages.
Therefore, Google created the Exact Match Domain Algorithm to reduce the effect of keywords used in exact-match domain names.
So that the domain names, which are specifically created to rank their keywords in search results, shouldn’t rank higher.
Google launched the Exact Match Domain system on 29th November 2012.
Matt Cutts had tweeted about the EMD system a month earlier to the launch date, in his unique style, as follows:
Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012
Those who don’t know about Matt Cutts should read about him! Because it is a must to read about the history of your field (i.e., SEO).
It is not true that the Exact Match Domain system decreases the rank of every website with the keyword in the domain name.
How does Exact Match Domain affect SEO?
Now, let’s talk about the primary question about this ranking signal and how it affects SEO.
Affiliate websites, blogs, business websites, etc., usually choose websites with their main keyword in their domain name. It is natural!
You’ll find many domains containing the names for government jobs, dentists, etc., and possibly even have one of such websites. But don’t worry if you have one because Google does not hate every exact-match domain name website containing a keyword.
Because if it were like that, then Amazon would be a keyword, and Facebook would be a keyword. Therefore, according to the EMDs system, Google should have de-ranked them for their keywords. But no, it is not like that.
Google is OK with the keyword-based domain name but not with the low quality and less valuable content inside such domains.
Therefore, if your website has the keyword in the domain name and your website content quality needs to be higher, you have thin or copied content.
Then the EMD system will decrease the ranking of your website. (along with other reasons for the decrease in website rank.)
How to optimize your pages for Exact Match Domain Algorithm?
Yes, knowing how we can avoid getting struck by the Exact Match Domain System is essential.
The EMD system is a continuously working system, so your website rank will automatically improve whenever you optimize your pages for the EMD system. You won’t have to wait for the next Google update.
You won’t have to buy a new domain for your website. You need to work on your website’s content quality to optimize your pages for the EMD system.
In your website’s content, you need to work on spelling mistakes, unnatural use of keywords, and add value to your articles so that the reader should get what he wants.
That is how the Exact Match ranking system can stop decreasing your website’s rank.
For reference: Here is the list of → All 19 Most Important Google Ranking Signals for 2023.