Published in: Background, Tips & tutorials

In one of our previous posts we have already examined, what the six most important characteristics of a good domain are. This time, we will have a closer look at the domain name and we compare Partial Match Domain (PMD), Exact Match Domain (EMD) and Brand Domains with each other. Which domain name provides which advantages and disadvantages for different sectors?

When potential customers search the Internet for a specific search term, it is of course an advantage for the vendor to land at the top of the search results for this phrase (keyword). The ranking of our most used search engine Google is thereby dependent on hundreds of factors. One of them is also the domain name. This of course also plays a role in the decision of the Internet user, whether he actually clicks on this search result.

Exact Match Domains

So called Exact Match Domains, domain names which have the actual keyword in the name, such as "car insurance comparison", are commonly used. This increases the relation of the user for the keyword, because he immediately recognizes what this site is about and that it corresponds to what he is looking for. Also with the linking of such a domain, the site operator has advantages because the keyword is included in the URL. So the click-rate increases. Google has adapted these tactics and more accurate checks since 2012, whether the content of the website coincides with the title of the EMD. Does the website just use the domain name and not provide the expectable content, then a punishment in Google ranking follows. The domain name, however, has lost importance as a pure ranking factor during the last years.

However a keyword domain is a good idea for regional companies, that have a relation to their location in the domain name, such as "". If this name appears up in search results, it gives the user the impression of highest relevance. With targeted optimization and in combination with Google Places such a domain can be very successful.

Brand Domain Names

Another approach is the establishment and use of a brand name. The name of the brand has to remain in the memory of customers and thus shell be searched for by them on the Internet. The brand name carries the company's image and products. If the trademark is used in the domain, it gives the customer authenticity and trust.

If the trademark is yet to be developed, also a possible domain name should play a role during brainstorming. A good brand name is short, concise and memorable. Customers should keep it fresh in their minds, and it should be easy to write and spell.

A good Brand Domain can be spread better via Social Media. However, high click-through rates are more dependent on other marketing factors outside of search engine optimization to increase the brand awareness.

Partial Match Domain – Combination of Brand and Keyword

Ideally, you can use a combination of two elements for a domain. The domain name then includes partially the keyword, but also the brand. However, close attention should be paid here, that the domain does not seem dubious or as a copy of other pages. Simply attaching a ... or similar concepts are not always promising. Also too long PMDs have to be evaluated critically. However, an advantage of a PMD is a better chance in Google rankings because the domain name is one of the first factors, used by the search engine.

Conclusion: EMD, Brand or PMD?

Each concept of the domain name has its advantages, with rather few products on the same subject an EMD makes sense. Niche products or local offers may benefit from a PMD. But it is important, that the used keywords have the highest possible relevance for the topic. If the marketing is running on different channels, a Brand Domain can be the right option.

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Useful Domain Names by Keyweb AG is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.