Google Declutters Low-Quality Exact-Match Domains

Still believe that registering for a domain name that is an exact match for a high-ranking search term is a part of Google SEO 101? Think again. Late last month, Matt Cutts, Head of the Webspam Team at Google, tweeted that a “small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.”

Google’s algorithm has historically favored keyword matches in the domain name and URL of a website. However, in an effort to eliminate some of the clutter of low-quality websites that were created solely for ranking higher on SERPs but offer poor quality content, the update was a smart, strategic move.

Google later expounded upon Cutt’s tweet, explaining that the change to the algorithm will effect roughly .6 percent of US English search queries, amounting to about 2.3 million search queries per day.

Although it seems like a relatively small amount of daily queries, the algorithm change throws a wrench in what has been a winning business model for many SEO and PPC experts. Buying a domain name that is an exact match for a keyword or key phrase that receives decent search queries, adding keyword-rich content and incorporating some AdSense code on pages has worked for Internet marketing professionals for years.

Clearly, not all existing exact-match domains will be penalized due to the change, but the most flagrant of them will no longer enjoy a boost in rankings. This is just another step in Google’s efforts to provide search results that deliver relevant information for users.

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