Exact match domains. You've seen them and maybe even own a couple. But why? Were you hoping that (adjective)(keyword).com was going to help your site surpass the SEO rankings of your competitors? Or maybe you're just beginning and need to start ranking immediately?
You are not alone. For years many SEO experts have suggested the EMD (exact match domain) approach and thus caused a ripple effect for small businesses everywhere. They see their competitors buy domains like BestElectricianinTX.com and ElectricalServiceTX.com and therefore assume that is the best practice. SEO expert and CEO of Bizroids Internet Marketing Company, Brian Gomez, debunks the myth and explains why this recent trend will probably last as long as Lindsay Lohan's acting career (and will probably be as treacherous).
Q: As an SEO expert, you come into contact with a lot of different businesses. Across the board, what would you say is a common SEO mistake small businesses are making?
A: "I'm seeing that a lot of businesses are buying exact-match domains with the expectation of receiving higher SEO rankings. The "new" EMDs are actually ranking lower and are no longer the shortcut most people assumed them to be."
A: "New websites know they are late in the game to SEO and need to catch up quickly. Naturally they feel a sense of panic when they hear two of their biggest competitors rank higher than them and will always be clicked on before them. Therefore, when someone tells them them to buy as many EMDs as possible as a means for making up for lost quality SEO time, they buy into it. But if you know anything about SEO, you know that quality content is king. If you produce a bunch of websites with very low quality content under exact domain names, you may receive a little gratification in the beginning but in the long haul you'll suffer. Not only are you diluting your brand but you're also putting yourself at risk for getting sandboxed by Google."
Q: So would you say the effectiveness that these EMDs once had are now being neutralized?
A: "Yes. Google actually created a change to their algorithm to reduce the amount of low quality EMDS in search results. That way EMDS can't cheat the system."
Q: What is your advice for the small business customer who has already bought 10+ EMDS?
A: "My advice would be to buy a domain that will be brandable for your business and then re-direct your existing domains to that URL. This way you can consolidate your SEO and content efforts to one domain (which will save you time and money) and you can also build your brand up."
Q: What about the people who just don't have the time nor budget to produce quality content?
A: "That's a great question because the reality of it is really good content is often very time consuming and/or expensive to produce. So for the entrepreneurs who are busy 'swinging a hammer' metaphorically speaking and don't have the luxury of having an in-house marketing person, my advice is to let your pictures do the talking for you. People love seeing pictures of the work you do, especially if you offer a service that has a visual result, like a landscaper or remodeling contractor does. Take your best camera and shoot some really quality pics of your work and then upload them to your web site and your social media pages along with a short description. Personally, I love when I visit a small business web site and they use real pictures from work they've done, as opposed to those plastic-y stock images. It can really impact my decision to use that business."