Domain editor

Is the domain name a Google ranking factor?

Let’s put it simply: Exact match domains should be buried in a trash bag right next to people speaking on their speaker in public.

Remember when each domain looked like or

This is what we are referring to when we talk about an exact match domain (EMD).

EMDs are domain names that include the exact keyword phrases you want to rank for in the SERPs.

Fortunately, on September 28, 2012, Google’s Matt Cutts confirmed exact match domains are not a ranking factor.

Now that we’ve settled this dispute, let’s take a look at the impact of the domain name on search results.


Continue reading below

Take a deep breath and prepare to uncover the real story behind the SEO industry’s bogus claims about exact match domain names. To avoid a future crisis, keep reading.

The claim: the domain name as a ranking factor

You’ve probably heard a client or SEO specialist say something like, “Exact match areas generate instant credibility.”

“It’s the best investment you can make. “

“It gives you a competitive advantage. “

It was true at the time. The domain sold for $ 11 million in 2003, making it one of the most expensive domain name buys of all time.


Continue reading below

The same theory goes for the keywords in your domain name. We’ve all seen claims that having a keyword in your domain name gives you a ranking boost.

Come. At.

We hate to party, but it’s officially time to call BS

The domain name as a ranking factor: the proof

There is a lot of discussion online about domain names and their impact on rankings.

Does the domain name affect ranking?

In 2011, Bill Slawski investigated Google’s exact match domain patent and uncovered nuggets of insightful information.

He speculated that it is possible that keywords in domains work better, according to the patent.

That same year, Google’s Matt Cutts responded to concerns about domain names in a Hangout from webmasters.

Cutts said:

“Now, if you’re still on the fence, let me give you some color, that we’ve looked at the rankings and weights we give to keyword domains, and some people have complained that we give a bit too much weight for the keywords in the fields.

And so we thought about tweaking that mix a bit and kind of lowering the knob in the algorithm, so that given two different domains it wouldn’t necessarily help you that much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords. . “


Continue reading below

Thus, it was evident in 2011 that domain names affected rankings.

But in 2012, Cutts shared on Twitter that it will negatively affect your ranking if done incorrectly.

In today’s world, domain names don’t impact Google rankings.

Google’s John Mueller said it in 2020:

“Just because a website has a keyword in its domain name does not mean that it is more relevant than others for that keyword. In short, you don’t need to put keywords in the domain name.

To be clear, you don’t want to listen to this advice.

How important is the correct domain name?

The point is, exact match domain names have always been gray hats fueling the black hats world. Exact match domains are pure nonsense from a ranking factor perspective.


Continue reading below

Brian Harnish covers everything you need to know about Google’s EMD update.

The domain name as a ranking signal: our verdict

Although there are exceptions to every rule, you want to properly assess your domain goals with respect to your domain name.


Continue reading below

Speaking of exceptions, there’s one here with our verdict: and that’s when it comes to pure navigation searches.

For example, if someone searches for a domain (for example, Facebook), they are specifically looking to navigate to that domain (for example,, through a Google search (rather than entering the URL or by opening the site via a bookmark). In this case, the fact that Facebook is Facebook will help Facebook rank for that query.

Want more information on domains and SEO? Discover Roger Montti’s advice on choosing a domain name.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita