Let’s talk about websites. Specifically, your site domain, which is located just to the right of the “www.” Now, whether you built your own website or just manage one for your company, odds are that a lot of work went into choosing the domain. It should be easy to spell, typo-resistant, and memorable. Stamps.com is a great example, because they’ve got wonderful consistency. Stamps.com is the name of the business, and their website is simply www.stamps.com. Easy to find, right?
Well, a lot of people apparently had the same thought, because there’s a phenomenon amongst the SEO community known as EMD (Exact Match Domain). That’s where people try to rank for search terms by buying a domain that’s an exact match. For example, a common Google query is “USB won’t eject, says still in use.” We’ve all been there. But would you click on www.usbwontejecthelp.com? Probably not, because that looks pretty spammy.
It’s easy to see how EMDs can get that way, isn’t it? Think about how often people search Google for things like “free internet” or “free oil change coupon.” Legitimate businesses, like an auto maintenance shop or an internet provider, may be trying to advertise their competitive prices online. Google knows better than to rank “www.freeinternetnow.com” over Time Warner Cable’s website, but a lot of spammers still try their luck.
So then, a lot of SEO advice steers you away from buying an EMD. It looks spammy to Google, and search engines are smart enough to look past the domain name of a website and make sure that it’s got good content, architecture, links, etc.
But, if you’re a car dealership, having an exact match domain may be good thing, not a spammy thing. Why? Clickability.
Now, as a quick review, SEO is the practice of optimizing and improving signals to/from your website. The goal is for your business to naturally (or “organically”) show up in search results. Your domain name is no small part of the SEO equation. For auto dealers, aiming for an EMD can work in their favor, big time. If someone is looking online for “honda accords in Dallas,” then having a domain like “www.dallashonda.com” is actually a solid win! That’s exactly what the potential customer was looking for, so it makes total SEO sense to have that domain.
A friendly reminder: SEO advice and best practices aren’t always universal. That is, there’s usually an exception to the rule and you can get into a lot of trouble by trying to follow every single rule ever invented about SEO. This EMD phenomenon is a great example, because Google knows that www.dallashonda.com is going to be a reputable site that will return a lot of value to their visitors.
And c’mon, we never miss the chance to make a Star Wars Reference on our site.