Exact Match Domains and Google

by Phil Buckley on November 22, 2010

in Search

One of the easiest ways to rank for a term in Google is to have an exact match domain. In fact, it’s so easy that highly searched exact match domains can fetch crazy prices.

  • $14,000,000 for sex.com
  • $10,000,000 for fund.com
  • $7,500,000 for business.com (back in 1999)
  • $7,500,000 for diamonds.com
  • $7,000,000 for beer.com

Yesterday while writing a blog post about loving your readers I went to build a link to twitterhell.com only to find out that the domain wasn’t registered. With no plan at all I quickly registered it, although I’m still not exactly sure why.

This morning while telling a co-worker about it, he Googled twitter hell and bang, there it was, right on page one.

Google search results for twitter hell

twitter hell search result page

The domain is 1 day old, has almost no content on it and serves no use to anyone honestly searching for twitter hell, although I’m not really sure why anyone would be honestly searching for it.

Google giving so much weight to a direct match domain is clearly a flaw in their algorithm. There’s no reason a domain with a direct match is actually a good match for a query with the same words – for example my personal domain of 1918.com has almost nothing to do with the year.

There’s a lot of businesses out there that try to pick a crazy name specifically so that they can be the #1 search result for a direct match.

It’s possible to outrank a direct match domain, but it takes some work. We’re working with a client right now that is attempting to grab the #1 organic search position for a generic term that has over 5 million results.  It won’t be easy, but by May 1st we should be there – come back for an update.

Just don’t ask me to try to get you to the #1 position for “click here”. I think Adobe has the most generic of all web terms locked up.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon S. November 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Wow – I think I might go ahead and sell it now and send a thank you note to Google :-)

A relevant point none-the-less.


Phil Buckley November 22, 2010 at 11:13 pm

I’ve been amazed at how often I get requests to buy my 1918.com domain. I guess it’s because there’s not many 4 character domains left in the wild.

If only we were smart enough to buy divorcelawyer.com back in the day :-)


Jeff Tippett November 23, 2010 at 9:56 am

Great post, Phil. Now, what can I buy today…


Phil Buckley November 23, 2010 at 10:10 am

I’m not saying you should buy anything, but twitterpurgatory.com is still available ;-)


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