The first thing that comes to mind, when creating a new website is choosing the domain name. Choosing the correct domain name and type is important as it is going to be the identity of your website. You get two major options while choosing the domain name, one is brandable domain name, the other option is keyword domain. Generally, both of them have their own advantages and disadvantages. Then there are exact match domains, I will explain more about keyword domains, exact match domains and brandable domains in this post.
Keyword Based Domains
If you are trying to compete in a specific niche, keyword domains might be the right choice for you. Keyword domains contain the keywords related to the website niche in its domain and a modifier along with it. The advantage of having keyword domain is that, visitors immediately comes to know about the niche of the website. Google gives a little more advantage to keyword domains in SERP rankings, but over the time they have decreased the importance, so it doesn’t mean that every keyword domain will rank in its niche. After all, quality content is most important.
Exact Match Domains
The first thing to keep in mind: Do NOT buy exact match domain, just for ranking good on Google. After Google’s EMD update, exact match domains with low quality or misleading content were penalized. You can still use exact match domain names for your business, but the domain name and content should be relevant and high quality. The best examples of exact match domains are dog.com, searchengineoptimization.com. In my opinion, exact match domains have built a bad reputation for themselves as scammers and black hat guys used them to rank on Google way before Google introduced the EMD update. So, if you are buying an EMD, you have only one choice, i.e, posting unique and quality content.
Keyword domains and exact match domains have advantages as mentioned below:
- Easily get targeted anchor text.
- Get social signals with keywords.
- Some keywords can also be used as brand name.
- Keyword mention and brand mention is almost same.
What is Google EMD Update?
In September, 2012 Matt Cutts tweeted about a Google algorithm update, that would affect exact match domains with low quality content.
Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results. — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012
Exact match domains are still considered good for SEO, but after the EMD update, Google lowered the benefits that it was giving to exact match domains in search results. only the EMD offering low quality domains were penalized by EMD update, while most of the websites remained unaffected.
But if you are trying to make a big online community or an online business, brandable domains might be better for you, for example, Google.com, Twitter.com, Bitdoz.com. Brandable domain names are easier to remember than that of keyword domain names, as there maybe 100 websites with same keyword and different modifiers, but the brand is always unique.
Advantages of brandable domain names:
- Easy to remember and mention.
- Always good for big business and communities.
- No confusion with other websites’ names.
- Social media handles are available most of the times.
- Available for sale at normal domain price.
Verdict: Brandable Domains VS Keyword Domains
I personally like brandable domain names more, as Google now doesn’t give much benefits to the keyword domains in the search results. The effect of domain is almost negligible if you post quality content on a brandable domain. When choosing a domain name, never listen to self proclaimed SEOs, just see the screenshot below and you will know why. They will misguide you, just refer to the trusted sources. All the points mentioned in this post are my personal opinion and correct as far as I know. I have tried to deliver the best info I could find on this topic. I myself prefer brandable domains, as they are good for a long run, though I use keyword domains too for my secondary websites and blogs. What do you prefer? Exact match or Brandable domain? Comment below and share with us.