Are EMDs Are Still Worth It for SEO – Guide

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Exact Match Domains (EMDs) are very helpful for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They can influence a website’s visibility and search engine ranking.

This quick read will discuss what you need to know about Exact Match Domains and their relevance in SEO.

Understanding EMDs can provide valuable insights for website owners and SEO specialists. This can help you get noticed online and give you a competitive edge.

What is an EMD Domain?

Let’s cover what an Exact Match Domain name is first. This includes how Google treats them, its strategic benefits for improved online visibility, and more info you may need to know.

Definition of EMD

As the name implies, an Exact Match Domain name (EMD) is a URL that exactly matches a relevant search query you’re trying to rank for a website’s content, products, or services.

Exact Match Domain can provide your website with a slight SEO ranking advantage. That’s because of their perceived relevance and potential to rank well in Bing or Google search results.

The Google rank for EMDs used to be influenced by the keyword match in the domain. However, the search engine’s algorithms have since become more sophisticated.

What you look like to Google and other SERPs is no longer limited to EMDs. Content quality and user relevance also factor in website rankings, thanks to the PageRank algorithm and other Google tools.

Note that some website owners use EMDs with spammy tactics.

For example, keyword stuffing and low-quality backlinks. These spamming tactics are meant to boost their search rankings in Google, which goes against modern SEO best practices.

NOTE: Many websites that relied on keyword-rich EMDs noticed a significant drop in their search rankings in Google. This was caused by the Exact Match Domain update by search platforms like Google.

Examples of EMDs

Here are some examples of Exact Match Domains (EMDs). These domain names align with the exact keywords or key phrases they’re targeting.

  • This Exact Match Domain matches the search term “best pizza delivery.”
  • This Exact Match Domain aligns with the search phrase “hiking boots.” When clicking on this, you’d expect to reach a website specializing in hiking boots.
  • Exact Match Domains like this look like a website selling affordable laptops.
  • This Exact Match Domain is for a site targeting readers who want to eat healthier.

NOTE: Domain squatters often resell EMDs at higher prices, exploiting the perceived value of a keyword-rich domain name. These bad actors usually take a domain name that’s previously been trademarked.

Importance of EMDs in SEO

Exact Match Domains have become more important in SEO because they rank well on Google. Here are the ways they can give you a competitive advantage.

  • Relevance and Clarity: EMDs enhance website name clarity, relevance, and click-through rates. That’s because they match domain names with users’ search queries, enhancing user interaction.
  • Keyword Emphasis: EMDs, which rank well in Google and give other search engines like Google Search a slight ranking advantage.
  • Memorability: Exact Match Domains can be easier to remember for users. They’ll also likely drive traffic as users type in the domain name. This can contribute to the visibility of a website.
  • Brand Recognition: Exact Match Domains can enhance brand name recognition. By associating with the keyword you’re trying to rank in Google, they can improve your marketing efforts.
  • Local SEO: Exact Match Domains with location-based search terms benefit local businesses. For example, the EMD “” is helpful for targeting local customers in New York.

EMD vs PMD: A Comparison

This quick section should make comparing EMD and PMD domains easier for beginners.

Definition of PMD

A Partial Match Domain (PMD) is a domain name that contains only a partial or modified version of a relevant web query or search phrase. It is related to a website’s content, products, or services.

Partial Match Domain (PMD) is strategic for website owners. They seek to combine keyword relevance with brand name identity while following search platform guidelines.

Differences between EMDs and PMDs

The primary differences between EMDs (Exact Match Domains) and PMDs (Partial Match Domains) lie in the level of keyword match. Here are some strategic considerations associated with each type of domain name:

Keyword Match

  • EMDs: EMDs are domain names that match an exact keyword or keyphrase. It’s for a website’s content, products, or services, like “”
  • PMDs: Partial Match Domain names are partial matches of a keyword. For example, “” for a shoe website, uses a modified version of “best online shoes.”

Keyword Relevance

  • EMDs: Exact Match Domains are relevant to the exact keywords they incorporate, which can be helpful for SEO and user understanding.
  • PMDs: Partial Match Domain names offer flexibility in branding. They also maintain keyword relevance and avoid search platform penalties for keyword over-optimization.

Branding and Memorability

  • EMDs: EMDs are often straightforward and may lack distinct branding. But they can be memorable and clarify the website’s content or purpose.
  • PMDs: Partial Match Domain allows for a greater focus on branding and can result in more memorable domain names. They strike a balance between keyword inclusion and identity.

NOTE: In recent years, Google’s SERPs have focused more on delivering premium and relevant content to users. It diminishes the influence of EMDs as a primary ranking factor. Before the EMD update, EMDs strongly influenced Google’s SERPs.

Pros and Cons of EMDs and PMDs

Let’s explore the pros and cons of both EMDs (Exact Match Domains) and PMDs (Partial Match Domains) in the context of domain selection for websites.

Pros of EMDs (Exact Match Domains)

  • Keyword Relevance: Exact Match Domains offer high keyword relevance. It can help achieve great rankings for the exact keyword or key phrase you’re trying to rank on Google.
  • User Clarity: An Exact Match Domain provides immediate clarity to users. Clarity about the website’s content, products, or services can help you rank high and lead to higher click-through rates.
  • Memorability: EMDs are often easier to remember for users. It increases the likelihood of direct traffic as users type in the domain name.

Cons of EMDs

  • Over-Optimization Risk: Overusing keywords in EMDs or pairing them with low-quality content can lead to penalties. Search engines like Google may penalize your site for keyword stuffing and over-optimization.
  • SEO Dependency: The traditional SEO tactic of relying purely on an EMD is no longer effective. Search platform algorithms now also consider content quality and user interaction.

Pros of PMDs (Partial Match Domains)

  • Balanced Relevance: PMDs balance keyword relevance and branding. It allows website owners to use a keyword-related domain while maintaining a unique identity.
  • Brand Building: PMDs offer flexibility for brand building. It enables the creation of memorable and distinctive domain names.
  • SEO Compliance: PMDs are less likely to incur penalties from search engines like Google, making them a safer choice for SEO.

Cons of PMDs

  • Lower Keyword Relevance: PMDs may not be as relevant to the keyword as EMDs, resulting in lower search engine rankings for that exact keyword.
  • Clarity Trade-Off: While still relevant, PMDs may not provide the same level of instant clarity to users as EMDs.

GOOD TO KNOW: Getting an Exact Match Domain and high-quality links from referring domains improves your brand.

Do EMDs Still Work for SEO?

This section tackles the current significance of EMDs in SEO for website owners and digital strategists.

Historical Significance of EMDs in SEO

EMDs were once crucial for SEO due to their precise alignment with competitive keywords. Their impact on search engine rankings in Google was significant.

  • Keyword Relevance: EMDs are relevant to their incorporated keywords. A good example is “,” which matches the keyword “best pizza delivery.”
  • Search Engine Algorithms: Search engines like Google viewed EMDs as significant indicators of relevance, authority, and credibility.
  • Ranking Advantages: EMDs enjoyed a ranking advantage due to their exact keyword match. This meant that websites with EMDs often ranked higher in search results or Google for the associated keywords.

TIP: Creating dedicated landing pages for EMDs can also improve organic traffic, mainly by providing relevant content and increasing conversion chances. Ensure your landing pages provide valuable information to users. Effective landing pages are now more vital for achieving visibility.

Current Relevance of EMDs in SEO

Next, let’s examine the current relevance of Exact Match Domains (EMDs) in SEO.

  • Diminished Impact: EMDs’ influence on search engine rankings has diminished due to the algorithm refinement of Google. This makes their ranking impact less pronounced today.
  • Algorithm Sophistication: Algorithms now consider other ranking factors. This includes content quality, mobile-friendliness, load speed of web pages, and social signals.
  • Quality Content: The quality and relevancy of web page content are now more crucial for SEO success than the choice of domain name.

Factors Affecting the Effectiveness of EMDs

Understanding the key elements that influence the effectiveness of EMDs is crucial for website owners.

  • Relevance to Content: The efficacy of an EMD depends on its relevance to the website’s content, products, or services and reflects its core focus.
  • Quality of Content: Engaging content is vital for SEO success. Even with an EMD, subpar or irrelevant content won’t yield good search results.
  • Local SEO Considerations: An Exact Match Domain targeting local markets selling domains can be valuable. EMDs with local keywords can help improve local SEO rankings.
  • User Experience: SEO relies on positive user interaction. It is influenced by website design, navigation, mobile responsiveness, and page load speed. Regardless of whether your domain name is an EMD or not, don’t neglect UX.

NOTE: An experienced SEO agency can help identify and execute strategies for long-term success. From research to content production, an SEO agency can help you stay ahead of your competition.

How to Use EMDs Effectively?

This quick guide explores how to harness EMDs to their fullest potential.

Best Practices for Using EMDs

EMDs are used in SEO to balance keyword relevance with branding and user interaction considerations. Here are some best practices to follow.

  • Relevance to Content: Ensure the EMD reflects your website’s content, products, or services. The closer the alignment, the more effective the EMD will be.
  • Quality Content: Engaging, high-quality, and valuable content is crucial for retaining visitors and natural backlinks. EMDs alone are insufficient for success.
  • Branding: Consider the potential for building a strong and memorable brand identity. EMDs shouldn’t restrict your ability to create a unique brand.
  • Keyword Diversity: It’s important to diversify your keyword targeting. You can do this through content and other SEO strategies to reach a broader audience.

Tips for Choosing the Right EMD

Selecting the right Exact Match Domain is crucial. Especially for your website’s goals, target audience, local searches, and SEO strategy. Here are some tips for choosing.

  • Keyword Research: Research is crucial for selecting relevant keywords with high search volume and competitiveness. This will align with your EMD and likely generate brand value and traffic.
  • User-Friendly: Ensure that the EMD is easy to spell. Avoid complex or hard-to-pronounce keywords or domain names, which may deter potential visitors.
  • Memorability: Opt for a valuable domain name that’s easy to remember. A memorable EMD can lead to direct traffic, as users might type it into their browsers.
  • Brand Compatibility: Build a robust brand around the EMD. Ensure the domain doesn’t hinder growth or limit your ability to expand beyond the initial keyword.

Strategies for Optimizing EMDs for SEO

Optimizing Exact Match Domains for SEO involves leveraging domain relevance. That also includes SEO best practices and implementing strategies for effective SEO.

  • High-Quality Content: Focus on creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content. Write content that aligns with your Exact Match Domain. Valuable content is a fundamental element of SEO success.
  • Keyword Variation: It’s essential to diversify your keyword usage within your content. Incorporate variations of the main keyword to capture a broader audience.
  • On-Page SEO: Establish on-page SEO best practices. This includes optimizing meta titles, descriptions, header tags, and image alt text. Try to include the target keyword without over-optimizing.
  • Backlink Building: Build high-quality backlinks to your website. EMDs, when associated with valuable content, can attract natural backlinks. This contributes to SEO success.
  • Local SEO Focus: Ensure that your Exact Match Domain (EMD) includes location-related keywords to enhance local SEO efforts. Also, claim and optimize your Google My Business listing.

One SEO strategy for optimizing EMDs is obtaining expired domains as EMDs off the bat. This can provide a head start in domain authority and backlinks.

NOTE: Using EMDs for ranking can lead to low-quality domains that offer little value to users. Avoid focusing on keywords over content quality and user experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

if you’ve still got questions about EMD domains, check out this section.

What Is the Difference Between an EMD and a PMD?

The difference between an Exact Match Domain (EMD) and a Partial Match Domain (PMD) is the degree to which they match a specific keyword or key phrase.

EMDs match the keyword, while PMDs incorporate only a partial or modified version. EMDs are more specific, while PMDs offer more flexibility for branding.

Are EMDs Still Relevant for SEO in 2023?

EMDs are less relevant for SEO rankings in 2023 compared to before. Search engine algorithms now focus on content quality and user experience over EMDs.

How Can I Use an EMD Effectively for My Website?

To use an Exact Match Domain, align it with your website’s content. Concentrate on user experience and build high-quality backlinks. Diversify keyword targeting and adapt to algorithm changes.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using an EMD?


  • Keyword relevance and clarity.
  • High click-through rates.
  • Memorable domain names.
  • Brand recognition.


  • Risk of over-optimization.
  • Limited branding potential.
  • Reduced SEO impact in recent years.
  • Limited to exact keyword focus.

Can an EMD Negatively Impact My Website’s SEO?

Yes, an Exact Match Domain (EMD) can negatively impact your website’s SEO if overused or paired with low-quality content.

This can result in search engine penalties for over-optimization and keyword stuffing.


EMDs are still useful for SEO, even now. It enables precise keyword alignment, enhancing click-through rates and fostering brand recognition. It also provides keyword clarity.

The SEO landscape has shifted, and EMDs’ direct influence has waned. However, they still have a role when integrated within a holistic SEO approach.

Understanding EMDs’ nuances and evolving roles allows us to leverage them for digital prominence. This will ensure content quality, user experience, and compliance with modern SEO best practices.

Odys Global Founder and CEO

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