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Consensus Today? Exact Match Domain Or Branding?



9:28 am on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Looking to take on a new project. Purchased several three word domains a few years back (quite long in characters). Seems Google doesn't like exact match with some exceptions. I'm thinking to shorten it (buy new domain) considerably by using the first letter of two keywords, making it easier to remember and brand vs getting the cold shoulder by Google with the long version.

OLD- imaginaryfictitoiuswidgets.com
NEW- IFWidgets.com



12:27 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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.


12:31 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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.

Ifwidgets.com is not much better, you might be better if you choose a short brand able word instead.


12:44 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

Depends on what your plan is, is this a made for google only project? If so go for the emd. OR are you going to actually build a brand outside of google? If that's the case then go for the short, unique, easy to remember domain.

Going with both works to, build the emd for google and the short domain for a brand since it's easier to generate google traffic that it is to build a brand. The google traffic can give you some revenue while your building the brand. Display you brand on the made for google emd and that will help to promote the brand.


2:31 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

It's not going to help in any measurable way for SEO, but keyword domains can be invaluable for conversions, business dev, and recognition. A keyword domain can give you instant branding and authority in the customers eyes (Diapers.com, Hotels.com, etc).

Its amazing how with the right keyword domain you can get immediate perceived legitimacy.

Long term, if you build a huge successful company, you may regret not being able to enforce your trademark, but ... meh.


2:32 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

...also, what Bill said. Steer clear of three word names unless it is a top 3 phrase in the industry (they do exist. free credit reports, etc.)

Would you rather spend 100k and have an instant brand, or 100k on trying to 'brand' yourself? HAHA... domains every time.


2:42 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is a very interesting question since I am also considering my options, this was posted yesterday in the domain forum in response to jmcc:

There's an effect that I've seen in ccTLDs where people do not remember keyword type domains but do remember business names and locations. This is because people identify with their ccTLD in a way that they do not identify with .com. Thus someone in Ireland does not have to remember that .ie stands for Ireland or someone in the UK does not have to remember that .uk stands for the UK.

I'm just wrestling with this conundrum since I'm about to sell mycompanyname.com and I'm trying to decide whether to go with a very important trade keyword:

8 letters.com


4 letter.com company acronym

I already own both plus all the other ccTLDs I need.

Any thoughts?

To me the 8 letter EMD is the better however trademarking it, I guess, would be almost impossible however the acronym is really cool and instantly recognisable!


2:57 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Does your website name meet the "billboard test"? [webmasterworld.com ]

Do you want a "ready (mental) association" (City+Plumber.com) or do you want to spend $$$ and time building the association between the website name and purpose?

Do you want ease of memory? When the business card is tossed, when the magazine is tossed, when the browser is closed - what willl stick? FozmebotsPlumbingServices.tld or (City)Plumber.com?

Do you want to idiot proof your website address?

Do you want the inherit cred -> like ^he^ (jc) said?

Would you sooner open an email from CEO@Tourism.tld - OR - CEO@GlobalTravelSiteInc.tld? Which one grabs your attention?

If someone is scanning a list of website names, intending to make a choice about which to choose, how much of that person's time and attention do you think you have in order to distinguish the meaning of "your branded domain"?

WHO is your AUDIENCE? Is clarity and simple messaging a benefit? How smart, old, savvy is your target audience?

Do people really want to work? Do people have to work to remember the association between (branding) and website name?

What IS your budget for "branding"? Do you have the money . . time . . resources . . needed to build a brand that sticks? You think branding is easy IF/WHEN you're business is one of thousands or tens of thousands competing for attention?

What happens when "100,000 brands" compete for hotel bookings and then 10,000 more join the fight and 10,000 more? Who has to spend more money to stay in the game: Brand #137,338 NewCheaperThanCheapHotelrooms.tld or Hotels.com?

A website name is so much more than grist for a search engine's algorithm.


3:19 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

Excellent points Webwork, you've just made my decision even more difficult:-)


3:40 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

I still think stylish emds rule

Unless you're amazon


4:53 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I'd use both. Have the content on the emd and get that domain indexed, canocalise it to be sure, redirect the brand domain to the emd but brand the emd content with the brand name rather than the emd name. So effectively, the emd only ever appears in the address bar, not on the site.

The emd will handle search traffic, but you can use the brand domain for the contact info and any offline marketing stuff, articles, sigs etc and hopefully any links incoming will also start to mention the brand. Then if over time, your brand really takes off and becomes an "authority", switch the content to the brand domain and 301 the emd :)


5:07 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I would say the shorter the better, but the name has to be memorable, easy to spell and eye catching if possible.


12:42 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Exact match domains are still very powerful... in one case, I have about 20 links from high authority sites pointing to a particular page and competitor B with an exact match domain still outranks me with a fraction of the link power.

So yeah... in my experience... you usually need double the link power, maybe a bit more to beat an EMD in the SERPs.

This can be a non-issue for a lot of brands. But if you plan on getting by primarily through search traffic I'd go EMD, at least initially.


6:06 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

As mentioned above I don't think exact match domains have received special ranking consideration in at least the last six months though they do retain their ease of memory factor.

I just wanted to add that there is about to be another wrinkle added to the question. Example: google.finance or yummy.food or funny.pictures. ICANNs plan to make common words a TLD may make the .com portion of a url more important than the domain name itself. Time will tell.

If you perform a search for Funny Pictures will a browser first try funny.pictures before looking up results for your search term?


3:11 pm on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes. They still have a slight boost that is more easily noticed with new sites in low to medium competitive industries.


4:00 am on Aug 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>> google.finance or yummy.food or funny.pictures.

I think most (not all) of the new TLD's will go the way of the .info.


8:45 am on Aug 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think most (not all) of the new TLD's will go the way of the .info

You obviously do not know the success of .info in Europe especially Germany where it is extremely popular and overall in gTLDs it's the 5th largest by domain count.

It may have been abused in the past but is that still the situation?


2:27 pm on Aug 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks Folks:

Simsi has the best thought IMO. I've even shortened it further to IVWid.com. The shortened last keyword is familiar to nearly everyone.

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