How to Pick Effective Exact Match Domain Names (EMDs)

March 29th, 2012 @ 9:28 am

While registering a domain is a very quick and easy process, there are many factors and best practices to keep in mind as you purchase web real estate in order to maximize your site’s effectiveness. The domain name is one of the primary identifiers for your site for both visitors and search engines- it should make it clear what your site is about and ideally should match the title of your website.

While it isn’t as simple as just picking something that sounds catchy and relates to your topic, it really isn’t much more complicated than that. Your only other responsibilities will be some basic keyword research and flex your marketing muscles to end up with a domain name that’s memorable and accurate for human visitors and streamlined in a way that search engines can easily identify you.

Choosing Exact Match Domains – EMDs

You’ve probably heard this phrase thrown around a lot when people start talking domains- and with good reason because it’s a very important principle that sets up an important part of your overall SEO strategy. An Exact Match Domain is a domain that contains the main keyword you are targeting in its exact form, meaning if your main keyword is “blue widget accessories” an EMD would be bluewidgetaccessories.com or something like blue-widget-accessories.net.

So what advantage does this practice give you in terms of SEO? Domain names are a big factor that search engines take into account when putting your site through their algorithm, so any keyword contained within the domain is associated with every page on your site (especially the homepage), which reinforces your sites association with the topic.

It sounds a tad confusing but it really isn’t as hard as it seems. To come up with an effective EMD for your site you need to start with a foundation of solid keyword research, use a reliable keyword analysis tool like Google Keyword Tool and make a list of viable and profitable keywords that you intend on targeting (this means keywords that have enough traffic to be profitable while having as little competition as possible). Try to put a more general term in the EMD, long tails are certainly where the low-hanging fruit is but we need our domain to fit every piece of content so it needs to be an appropriate title for your niche.

An example would clear things up. So let’s say we want to make a site about kayaking equipment and we are looking for a good EMD. After some keyword research, let’s say (for the sake of the example) that the term ‘high-end kayak gear’ is getting a good amount of traffic and that we can easily beat the competition on page one of Google. For an EMD, a good choice might be highendkayakgearreviews.com, or high-end-kayak-gear.net, or highendkayakgearblog.com. As you can see, adding a word or phrase to the beginning or end of the keyword is a great way to fit the term in the domain name if the most obvious ones are already taken. From this point on you can write a series of articles related to high-end kayaking equipment to go after some less competitive long tails while reaping the benefit of the EMD, optimizing the home page for ‘high end kayak gear’ would also be a good idea.

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