Anyone thinking about investing in a new domain name has an important decision to make: Should the domain name be something that is brandable, and therefore has the potential to be distinctive, or should it be something that includes mention of the website’s content?

An example of the former would be any of the major internet brands, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and so on. None of these brands’ domain names reveal anything about what the website actually does – the word ‘twitter’, for example, does not in itself suggest a social network that relies on short messages.

The other type of domain name is usually referred to as either a Keyword Domain Name or an Exact Match Domain (EMD). These feature a strong keyword in the website’s name. For example, a site that offers quotes for insurance would have the word ‘insurance’ in its web address. With a Keyword Domain Name it is immediately obvious what the website is about.

Brandable domain names vs Exact Match Domains

The potential advantages of a brandable domain as opposed to an EMD are worth taking into consideration. One of the key factors in making a website a leader in its field is the extent to which its domain name is memorable and distinctive. We can all remember a catchy name like Yahoo or Google with ease, but remembering which of GreatHolidaysCyprus.com and GreatCyprusHolidays.com had the best deals is a lot more difficult.

Google

However, those household-name internet brands – the ones that don’t use keywords in their domains – all built their brand recognition over time, and with the help of a sizeable marketing budget. If you want to get lots of paying customers to visit your website fast, then an Exact Match Domain is likely to be the most effective option, particularly if the contents of the website live up to its billing.

The advantages of Exact Match Domains

A website with a domain name with a strong keyword in it is much more likely to receive ‘type in’ traffic. This is when someone types a keyword into their browser’s address bar as opposed to clicking on a hyperlink. So someone who is looking to buy a shed online, but doesn’t necessarily know the name of a particular website, types in the word ‘sheds’ and perhaps adds a .co.uk on the end. The website Sheds.co.uk then receives the traffic.

Sheds.co.uk

Having an EMD can also help your website to achieve a good search engine ranking, and this is another clear benefit that keyword domain names have over the brandable variety, particularly in the early days of your venture. The simplicity and directness of an EMD like Sheds.co.uk means that the visitor is able to find precisely what they are looking for and the website benefits from genuinely interested traffic. Plus, a domain name such as this also has the advantage of being very easy to remember, which is of great benefit when it comes to social media, offline advertising and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Another advantage of having an effective EMD, is that your website will be considered reputable and trustworthy, helping your organisation to enjoy wider recognition. A successful and enviable domain name can open doors to industry leaders and bolster your company’s standing in its field.

Making a success of an Exact Match Domain

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Keyword domain names are not a guarantee of success, or even of achieving good search engine rankings. Think how many web addresses include words like ‘mortgage’ or ‘holiday’, and you can imagine how difficult it is for a site to rank highly for that keyword based on its domain name alone.

For this reason, a search engine like Google uses a number of ‘engagement metrics’ to determine which sites rank highly. These include the website’s bounce rate, and how long visitors stay on the site. It is the websites that feature informative content that genuinely reflects the keyword who tend to do best of all. As a result, any domain name that is not only memorable but is also an exact match for your website’s informative and useful content has every chance of proving to be a seriously good investment.