There are a lot of people online right now, claiming that exact match domains are no longer effective in getting listed high in the search engines.
Is This Really The Case For Exact Match Domains?
From what we have seen this statement could not be further from the truth there have been changes to the way these domains are indexed but not in the way you may think.
We can honestly say that it is definitely not because of the domain name.
Initially when Penguin was released many of these domains did get hit which is what brought about all the posts and articles saying that they were no longer effective.
Once the dust had settled and everyone including me started to get more of a bigger picture about what was happening it was clear that these sites were simply being penalized for over optimizing.
Why Did Some Exact Match Domains Get Penalized?
As with nearly everyone online that knew something about SEO they were doing it all wrong, using every technique that some months back was acceptable but now a huge “Red Flag”.
Having an exact match domain made it even worse simply because every aspect of on-page and off-page optimization was being used to target their primary keyword which also happened to be their domain. This included their primary keyword with-in internal links as well as using bold text, italics and underlining in their site content.
In some cases multiple title tags were used, the primary keyword used in every instance of H1, H2, H3 tags and again in the meta tags of the site and on each and every page. Especially if you were repeating those primary keywords in your Meta keyword tags and site title.
As a result of this those sites then started to receive penalties depending on the extent of the over optimization.
I would also like to add that many of these exact match domains were not offering very much quality content, some were of course, but many were created simply to promote a product or service which resulted in a very low quality score unless they had built additional content around the product or service to increase the user experience and social influence of the site.
As far as Google is concerned with these sites it looks to them that they are trying to game the system and increase their listings through what is now associated with Black Hat tactics.
Did Any Survive The Penalties
As with just about every site currently online some were hit and others have seen no change or have seen an increase, this is the same for the exact match domains. Those that have done very little to no optimization and have added value to their site through quality content that is shared and linked to from other sites in a natural way saw no change and some saw massive improvements in their listing.
Many of the sites that have been penalized either by Panda or Penguin had one thing in common, and this is not me making this judgement but Google, they were all low quality and presented no real value to the user.