The Incredible Value of an Exact Match Domain Name
February 9, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park
A domain name is literally the face of every website. It represents your brand and your address, and it could mean the difference between success and failure online.
There are a few strategies you can use when coming up with a new domain name for your site. You can try coming up with a completely new phrase for branding purposes (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Flickr, Twitter, etc), you can incorporate important keywords into catchy phrases (e.g. BasketweavingParty.com, DogFoodDepot.com, etc.), or you can try snatching up the exact match domain name for your main keyword (e.g. Cellphones.com, Computers.com, Tennis.com, etc.).
With the Internet gaining prominence as a solid tool for business, more and more companies are buying up domains to set up their websites. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of the good domain names (especially on the .com TLD) are already taken. However, with some luck and creativity, you can still find a few gems if you’re willing to put up the effort.
Today I want to go over exact match domain names and explain to you why they’re so valuable. In case you’re not familiar with the term, an exact match domain name is basically a domain that contains only the targeted keyword for a business. For example, InternetMarketing.com and SEO.com are exact match domains in the industry I blog in. Exact match domains are valuable because they have huge traffic, SEO, and branding benefits. In fact, in the recent past, CreditCards.com sold for $2.75 million, Business.com for $7.5 million, and Sex.com for $14 million.
Why are these exact match domains worth so much? Let’s explore some of the reasons why.
5 Reasons Why Exact Match Domain Names are so Valuable
1. Free type-in traffic
Although many people use Google search to navigate the web and find what they’re looking for, some less savvy Internet users are still using the address bar to find relevant sites. For example, if someone wanted to learn more about cellphones, he or she might type in cellphones.com into the browser address bar. Cellphones.com is just a parked page filled with ads, but it still receives thousands of visitors every single day because of the type-in traffic.
Below is a comparison between Cellphones.com and my site WinningtheWeb.com. Cellphones.com does no marketing whatsoever and it still receives nearly 20,000 visitors a month according to Compete data.
2. Huge branding benefits
Exact match domains naturally give off a sense of authority to visitors. For example, which sites would you trust more to get the information you need? CreditCards.com or Credit-Card-Finder-Site.com? Shoes.com or SneakerHeaven.com? A name counts for a lot and having an exact match domain means you have a huge advantage when it comes to branding potential. Your site is perceived as the market leader even though you might not actually have the best site or features. Building a brand that’s associated with your industry becomes much much easier.
3. Keyword-rich link anchor text
As you may already know, ranking favorably in the search engine depends on your site’s ability to gain links containing keyword-rich anchor text. For example, if you want to rank #1 in Google for “dog training”, you need a relatively high number of links pointing to your site containing that anchor text.
From my experience, I’ve noticed that most webmasters link to other sites using the site name or domain name. For example, most people link to my site here using “Winning the Web”. For sites without keywords in their name, this is less than ideal when it comes to SEO. However, for sites with exact match domains, this is another huge advantage. Every link that they get will contain the keyword that they’re looking to rank for – which helps enormously in SEO and link building efforts.
4. Boost in search engine rankings
As if the keyword-rich link anchor text wasn’t enough of a benefit, exact match domains get an additional boost in the search engine rankings. Google in particular trusts the exact match domains more than they would other sites and often ranks them higher just because of the name. What does this mean? A site with an exact match domain doesn’t need as many links or on-page optimization to rank #1 for a particular keyword. In fact, I’ve seen many cases where exact match domains outrank authority sites with a lot more links and better marketing. For example, Aaron Wall owns a 1-page site called SearchEngineHistory.com and it ranks #1 in Google for that keyword ahead of a lot of big sites even though it has a very small link profile. Joined with easily-attainable links with keyword-rich anchor text, can you see why exact match domains have such a huge advantage in SEO?
5. Appreciating value
Finally, exact match domains are valuable because they are in high demand and will appreciate in value as the Internet continues to boom. Unlike “normal” domains that are only valuable based on the actual site or business, exact match domains are valuable in and of themselves. You can buy an exact match domain today for $50,000 and sell it in a few years for maybe double that price – all without even putting up a site on the domain.
What are your thoughts on exact match domains? Do you own any that you’re proud of in your portfolio? What kinds of trends have you seen in the domain industry? Leave your thoughts in a comment and tell us what you think.If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.