A few years it was a well known SEO tactic to buy domains which included your target keyword in order to get a good ranking. Indeed the tactic became pervasive and people bought many domains to cover a wide range of keyphrases they wanted a rankings for.
If you sold widgets getting the domain www.widgets.com and an range of domains pointing to it – www.bluewidgtes.com, www.redwidgets.com and others was a good tactic. Does this still work today?
As part of Googles clamp down on low quality sites they introduced a algorithm modification a couple of years ago to downgrade such sites (http://searchengineland.com/low-quality-exact-match-domains-are-googles-next-target-134889).
We all thought that was the death of what was referred to as EMD (Exact match domain) SEO tactics, but today if you do a search for ‘ cheap flights’ you get…
You can see that www.cheapflights.co.uk gets a higher ranking than both expedia and latminute.com even though you can see that both these sites have a higher domain authority than cheapflights.
Here’s another anomaly….
For a search for ‘watch movies online’ You can see onlinemovies.pro and watchmovies-online.ch have a better ranking than Blinkbox which has a massively higher domain authority than them.
So EMD still seems to work. In fact here is a recent study from the canirank blog (http://www.canirank.com/blog/) which seems to support the situation.
And here’s a compelling item from their study which shows that you need around 3 times as many links to rank equally if you dont have keyword rich domains…..
So, do you go out and buy keyword rich domains still? A few points…
Buying multiple domains with keywords in and having them pointing to the main domain wont work anymore (for many reasons)
Having a keyword rich domain will still give you an advantage HOWEVER you will still need to satisfy all other SEO requirements – good quality links, good quality content, proper SEO on metadata etc.
So, its not a alternative to good SEO ( as it once was) its an important factor so long as you SEO the site properly as well.
Having said that how important is it to rank well for one major term? It probably isn’t for most sites– most sites nowadays get their best conversions from many ‘long tail’ phrases rather than from one or two major ones.
Another point to bear in mind is that what works on Google now may not in the near future. So, all things considered our advice would be don’t obsess about buying keyword rich domains – if you have one, great but make sure the SEO is good quality as the EMD itself will never be an alternative to good SEO.