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The Power of Exact Match Domains

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One of the most powerful tactics that Tom and I use in our business is leveraging exact match domains. Using exact match domains to rank for for high search volume keywords quickly is a huge opportunity (though, I will say that every day more and more people are using this strategy) right now.

And it works pretty well for us – with minimal effort (exact match domains are extremely easy to rank) we’ve been able to rank #1 for quite a few high traffic keywords within a few weeks of getting our domains, and generate a nice extra chunk of revenue.

So let’s walk you guys through how we find exact match domains, how to monetize them, and how to rank them.

 

What exactly is an exact match domain?

First and foremost, an exact match domain is just a domain that matches a specific keyword exactly. So an exact match domain for Make Money Online would be www.makemoneyonline.com.

 

Why do exact match domains rank so well?

Well, as we talk about in the The WordPress SEO Blueprint, your domain name plays a big factor in on-site SEO. If your domain name is makingmoneyonline.com – it’s a very powerful signal to Google that your site is indeed about making money online.  And that combined with the other on-site factors that we teach in the WordPress SEO Blueprint, you will probably be able to rank your site for your keyword before you even start linkbuilding.

One of the best examples I have for exact match domains is when you google “Credit Cards”. The number one result for Credit Cards isn’t Visa, Mastercard, or American express. It’s CreditCards.com.  Imagine that – billion dollar companies unable to compete in the search engines because one site has the exact match for “credit cards”. Pretty powerful stuff.

 

How do I find exact match domains?

There’s been a couple of really good tools coming in and out of the marketplace – but the one that we’ve found to be the best is ExactDomainTool.com. Basically, you put in your target keywords, what kind of search volume you’re looking for, and then click “search” and it will come up with a list of available domains — .org, .net, and .com that are available for purchase.

We generally go after domains that are getting at least 1,000 exact searches a month (or domains that are based around a group of keywords that get at least 1,000 searches a month), otherwise it’s not really worth it.

.com, .net, or .org?

If an exact match domain is available in any one of these extensions, we will grab it. We avoid any other types – no .infos, .biz, .us, .co, etc. We stick to the big 3, and they all rank well.

 

What if no exact matches are available?

While you always want to try to get an exact match, it’s not the end of the world if you add a word to the domain. While it won’t be as effective, it will still do much better than if your keyword wasn’t in the domain at all. So for example, instead of dogtrainingtechniques.com, it would be bestdogtrainingtechniques.com or topdogtrainingtechniques.com.

You can also use hyphens in your domain name (so dog-training-techniques.com) for a similar effect.

 

What do I do with my exact match domains?

 

There are a couple of different ways you can monetize your investment in exact match domains:

SEO: Some of our domains are not really designed to sell anything at all, we just use them in our linkbuilding campaigns. So we’ll have an exact match domain, put 5-10 articles on it, build links to it to get it ranked, and then have links from that domain to our main money site. This is a powerful strategy – and it works extremely well for us.

Affiliate Offers: Some of our sites we do not use for SEO and just focus them around affiliate offers. The key here is testing. There are a lot of high traffic keywords that don’t necessarily convert very well. The key here is testing different affiliate offers to see what converts the best for your traffic. We use a product called AdRotate to rotate affiliate offers on these sites until we find one that converts the best for our traffic.

Adsense: This is probably your least profitable option, but I figured I’d put it here anyway – it can make you decent money if you do find some high competition exact match domains, however, I’ve always been a believer that you can make more money promoting affiliate offers than from adsense.

Listbuilding: If you get a good exact match domain that gets decent traffic, throw up popupdomination on it and give away a free ebook or ecourse related to your subject. Using exact match domains can get you a significant amount of traffic pretty fast – so make sure to capture it. You can get a lot of new subscribers pretty quickly with a popup on your site.

How do I rank my exact match domains?

Fortunately for you, having the exact match of a keyword is a huge step towards easy rankings. However, you still need to have proper on-site SEO setup which means optimizing your title tags, description tags, images, etc. for your keyword. To tell you the truth, most of the time when we have an exact match domain, all we need to do is go through our The WordPress SEO Blueprint on-site SEO formula, and we are usually ranked #1 if not the top 5.

However, if you do follow our blueprint and are still not ranked #1 for your keyword, you need to get linkbuilding. I actually did a post on different ways to do linkbuilding over here: How To Get Backlinks

Go get some exact match domains and start rockin and rollin – you’ll be surprised at how fast your websites will rank (we were when we first started!)

And let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below!

 

 

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Comments

  1. Hi Michael,
    Yeah I can verify what you’re saying here.

    I’ve had results of buying exact match domains and getting page 1 rankings with 2 weeks for the keyword. It’s very powerful.

    Just a mission to do all the research and find the domains 🙂

    Cheers
    Diggy

    • TrafficColeman says:

      Yo Diggy..I think exact matches are better for ranking a little more easier but I you do have to give some type of seo efforts at the same time to get that ranking.

      “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Gregory C. says:

      Definitely, I’ve ranked exact matches in as few as 3 weeks myself, for ~10,000 exact a month keywords as well.

      Great way to build niche sites and get great backlinks for money sites.

  2. Income Insiders says:

    Hi Michael,

    I can confirm the exact match domains work like magick. I have 2 domains I did test on and both are #1 for the keyword I targeted and I did just a little linking for them.

    Thanks for the tool, I didn’t know about that one.

  3. Nate @ Strayblogger says:

    Great post Michael. I’ve used exact match domains with great success in my SEO efforts. In smaller niches, exact match domains don’t even require that many backlinks to get them into the top 10.

    Your pages should include a h1 and a h2 tag with the keywords as well.

    • Tammi Kibler says:

      Great tip, Nate. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of the H1 on the page.

  4. Adesoji Adegbulu@MakeMoneyOnlineNigeria says:

    Brilliant stuff…

    I learned something new again today..

    🙂

  5. I wonder how long this will work? I’m afraid I’ll invest all my money in exact match domains and then google changes their algorithm and no longer values these sites like they used to,…

  6. I have been sitting on a couple domains until I figured out what to do with them. I’d like to put some affiliate stuff up there.

    I’m wondering how you handle connecting your two sites together. For example, let’s say you put a list signup on the niche site. Do you then have to manage two lists, even if you want those users on your main money site?

    If you give everyone the same link to be on a list, how do you keep your sites distinct in their minds? Let’s say I sign up for a list on mynichesite.com, but you want me on your main list for myrealsite.com. If I start getting emails for myrealsite.com when I didn’t sign up for it, I might get nervous.

    Or is that something you don’t worry about, ie you don’t hide the fact that mynichesite is a subsidiary of myrealsite?

    Thanks for your thoughts! And this blog. The first thing I did was go set up the site. 😉

    -j

  7. Hensem Me says:

    thanks for the great tips.. I really like your blog

  8. Exactly the same calculation with the potential benefit to the business or not?

  9. Chris Guthrie says:

    And some people wonder why my blog’s domain name has been makemoneyontheinternet.com since Dec 2009…

    Emd’s work well, but they lost a little of their power with the Panda update.

  10. After the Panda update, Google has started discounting the power of exact match domains. Of course, ones that are on top are there, but new domains have a tough time to hit it up there, unless the competition is really bleak.

    • Gregory C. says:

      True, it is not guarantee that you will rank, but it still gives (and probably will always give) at least a little boost in the rankings, and it lets people know what the site is about from the get-go.

  11. ZPTsotetsi says:

    Thanks for super post Michael. I strongly agree with you. Recently I have been doing a site for an affiliate product on iphone apps and after doing a keyword search, I went for the exact name “how to make money with iphone apps” and the results are amazing.

    One last thing, is it a right move to go for maybe .org / .za when the keyword you go after are .com?

    Have a super one and keeps on motivating us…:)

  12. Jonathan says:

    What about .org.uk domains if targetting UK traffic?

    • What ever traffic you are looking for, it is better to use .com or .net. Beause these two are the most commonly used. Even if you use .com or .net you will recieve the traffic from UK

  13. Ya, exact match domains have lost a little power, that is for sure Al. However, it is still a HUGE advantage and a big part of our SEO strategy.

  14. Brendon Held says:

    Very interesting post, and this does raise some questions for me… So I take it parking your domains and having them all point to your main site is largely ineffective right? Since all your link building efforts will be focused on your money site, the parked domains won’t feature? So do you have to host all your exact match domains on separate hosting with unique websites / content? What is your view point on this Michael?

    I tend to avoid domains with hyphens at all cost, as they can look a bit spammy and I think the search engines also knock them a bit for that reason.

    Also, Jason above raised some interesting questions, which I would love to hear you take on Michael.

    Thanks

  15. Leo Dimilo says:

    Exact domains work FOR NOW. And anyone who runs their business looking for the quick payoff is just asking to be bit.

    I would say that the biggest issue with exact domains are that they tend to be non-brandable and in light of the Vince Update last year (google’s love affair with brands) and the Panda update this year, most marketers who are thinking in the long term would be better served figuring out how to brand their website beyond an exact match domain.

    Just saying….

  16. I have seen the power of EMDs and one of my blog has reached page 1 within 15 days and it is still there with my minimal efforts.

  17. fazal mayar says:

    good stuff, exact match domains work for good seo. If you want to rank affiliate sites or articles, its better to choose exact match.

  18. I never used to believe this was true until i started doing it and say the effects directly. Seriously great article.

  19. Gino Orlandi says:

    Exact match domains took a hit recently. They are still good, but not as powerful as before. SEO for 2011 and beyond is all about branding.

    • rabbistarak says:

      exact match domain is a very powerful way to take advantage over the competition…

  20. Its a good tool to use for getting traffic, but you still want to brand it if you plan to make a professional business with it.

  21. Very clever and useful.. I find that whenever ever I search for something, exact domains are usally the first ones or not to far off the top