Exact Match Domains (EMDs): Can They Help Your Website Rank Higher?

May 12th, 2021

You can’t launch a website without registering a domain. Whether you’re planning to build a blog, an e-commerce store or any other type of website, you’ll need to register a domain for it. Domains reflect the internet addresses of the websites with which they are used.

For higher rankings, though, some webmasters register an exact match domain (EMD). EMDs work like all other domains by defining the internet addresses of websites while subsequently making them accessible to visitors. So, can an EMD really help your website rank higher?

What Is an EMD?

An EMD is a domain consisting entirely of a search engine optimization (SEO) keyword. They can have different extensions, such as .com, .net and .org. Regardless, all EMDs consist of an SEO keyword in its exact spelling.

SEO keywords, are the words and phrases for which you are trying to rank your website. You may have over a dozen SEO keywords identified for your website. A domain consisting of one of these SEO keywords — typically your website’s primary and most important SEO keyword — is an EMD.

A Look Back at the History of EMDs

EMDs have been around for decades. During the internet’s infancy, in fact, they were particularly widespread. Webmasters would register EMDs to rank their websites for SEO keywords. It allowed them to easily achieve high rankings while spending little or no time creating content. As long as a website’s domain contained an SEO keyword in its exact spelling, search engines would respond by ranking it high for that keyword.

Search engines began to take a different approach to EMDs in 2012. In September of that year, Google released a major update to its organic ranking algorithm. Known as the EMD update, it negated the otherwise positive benefits of EMDs.

The EMD update didn’t penalize websites for using an EMD. Rather, it negated rankings attributed to EMDs. Low-quality websites that previously ranked high for an SEO keyword because it was featured in their domain saw their rankings drop after this update. High-quality websites with lots of relevant content, on the other hand, weren’t affected by the EMD update, regardless of whether they used an EMD.

Bing has since adjusted its organic ranking algorithm to devalue EMDs as well. In a January 2014 blog post, Bing confirmed that keyword-rich domains, such as EMDs, worked in the past but are now automatically devalued by its organic ranking algorithm.

According to Bing, EMDs may even be interpreted as spam. If you register an EMD for your website and fail to create relevant content around that SEO keyword, Bing may assume that you are trying to spam its index. Like in all cases of spam, Bing may then lower your website’s rankings or completely drop your site from its index.

How Search Engines Treat EMDs Today

Search engines today treat EMDs differently than they did in the past. They no longer use EMDs as a ranking signal. When they encounter a website with an EMD, search engines will crawl and rank it just like any other website. EMDs don’t have any positive influence on rankings.

In some cases, EMDs can have a negative influence on rankings. Because they are associated with spam, they raise red flags with search engines’ algorithms. If you register an EMD for your website, and your site exhibits other signs of spam, you may struggle to get it ranked.

With that said, an EMD alone shouldn’t cause your website to lose rankings. There are plenty of reputable and high-ranking websites that use an EMD, such as travel.com, boats.com and officechairs.com. An EMD just won’t help your website rank any higher. Search engines now devalue EMDs, so don’t expect an EMD to artificially lift your website’s search rankings.

Alternatives to EMDs

Instead of an EMD, you can register a branded domain for your website. Branded domains are devoid of SEO keywords. They consist of a unique brand name with which your website identifies. If you’ve already come up with a unique brand name for your website, you can use it for your site’s domain.

Branded domains are often better than EMDs for several reasons. For starters, branded domains are easier to register because more of them are available. Millions of common EMDs have already been scooped up by webmasters and domainers. You can still try to register an EMD, but you may discover that domains with all your preferred SEO keywords are taken. You’ll have an easier time registering a branded domain simply because more of them are available.

A branded domain may indirectly help your website rank higher. Visitors, for instance, are more likely to remember a branded domain than an EMD. As your website attracts more returning visitors, search engines will acknowledge it as being popular. Therefore, they may rank it above other, less popular websites that attract fewer returning visitors.

A branded domain can help your website earn more organic backlinks as well. It will make your website look credible. EMDs, unfortunately, have become synonymous with spam. If you register an EMD for your website, other webmasters may perceive your site as spam.

Other webmasters won’t create organic backlinks to your website if they think it’s spam. A branded domain will create a higher level of credibility so that more webmasters create organic backlinks to your website. All of these new organic backlinks may then bump your website higher up the search engine results pages (SERPs).

For your website’s domain, you generally have two options: You can register an EMD, or you can register a branded domain. EMDs are domains that contain an SEO keyword in its exact spelling, whereas branded domains are those that contain a unique brand name. They both reflect internet addresses for websites, but they require different formatting.

Because search engines devalue them, EMDs don’t offer any SEO benefits. A better choice is to register a branded domain for your website. Branded domains are easier to register, attract more returning visitors and can help your website earn more organic backlinks.

How to Build Backlinks By Publishing Press Releases

May 4th, 2021

If you’re struggling to build backlinks to your website, you should consider publishing press releases. It’s a time-tested search engine optimization (SEO) tactic that’s helped countless webmasters achieve higher rankings in the search results. In January 2021, Google’s John Mueller even confirmed that press releases are equally if not more important than technical SEO processes. By publishing press releases, you can let the world know about your website while simultaneously building SEO-friendly backlinks.

Choose Newsworthy Topics

Press releases aren’t the same as traditional forms of website content. They are specifically designed to generate publicity through an announcement. Traditional forms of website content, on the other hand, are typically used to educate visitors. You can still include educational information in your press releases, but you should choose newsworthy topics for them.

Each press release that you publish should focus on a unique newsworthy topic. Publishing purely educational and evergreen press releases won’t work. The platforms to which you submit your press releases may reject them. Most press release distribution platforms only accept press releases that cover a newsworthy topic. Without a newsworthy topic, they’ll reject your press releases.

Newsworthy topics for press releases include the following:

  • Rebranding of your website
  • Launching a new line of products or services
  • New partnerships or affiliations
  • Results from a recent study or survey conducted by your website
  • Announcing upcoming events, such as webinars or livestreams
  • Awards given to your website by a third party

Use Naked Or Branded Links

You should only use naked or branded links in your press releases. Naked links are those consisting entirely of your website’s address, whereas branded links are those featuring your website’s brand name as the anchor text.

Some press release distribution platforms only support naked links. In other words, you’ll have to enter the address of your website’s homepage — or a subpage, depending on the topic that you choose — without any Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) formatting. Even if a platform supports HTML formatting, though, you should avoid using keyword-rich links.

Keyword-rich links are those that contain an SEO keyword as the anchor text. If you want to rank your website for a keyword, you may build links using that keyword as the anchor text. But the problem with keyword-rich links in press releases is that they often perceived as being artificial. Search engines identify them as being unnaturally created, so they devalue their ranking influence.

Naked and branded links are safer than keyword-rich links. They may not bolster your website’s rankings for a specific keyword, but they’ll project a more natural link portfolio. Therefore, naked and branded links in press releases can make it easier to rank your website for all keywords.

Craft Catchy Headlines

The headlines of your press releases will affect the value of their links. Links in press releases with a catchy headline will prove more valuable to your website than those in press releases with a dull headline. With a catchy headline, more users will read your releases and follow the included links.

Using numerical figures in your press releases’ headlines can make them more catchy. The presence of one or more numerical figures will make your press releases stand out from those with only letters. You can also craft catchy headlines by using compelling words. Choose words that are relevant to your press releases but instill an emotional response.

Limit Syndication

Don’t go overboard with syndication. Syndicating your press releases to a few high-quality channels will often yield better results than syndicating them to hundreds or thousands of low-quality channels.

Syndication is a service offered by most press release distribution platforms. If you opt for this service, the platform may send your press release to news websites, journalist blogs, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, social media networks and other places.

While syndication can lead to more exposure, it may cause a loss of link value. Syndication will place your press releases, as well as their included links, on many channels. As search engines encounter these duplicate press releases, they may devalue some or all of the links. You can syndicate your press releases; just choose a small and limited syndication service so that your website has a more natural link profile.

Diversify With Nofollow

Publishing press releases with nofollow links can still benefit your website’s rankings. Nofollow links are those that feature the nofollow HTML attribute. When given the nofollow HTML attribute, links lose some of their ranking influence.

Nofollow links might be less influential than standard links, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. Whether included in a social media post or a press release, they can provide SEO value that lifts your website’s rankings.

Google has changed the way in which it interprets nofollow links. Until recently, Google didn’t use them to calculate rankings. The search engine changed its tune on nofollow links in 2019. Since then, Google has been using nofollow links as a minor ranking signal. Some press release distribution platforms automatically make all links in press releases nofollow. Whether the links are standard or nofollow, however, they can provide SEO value.

Follow the Guidelines

Be sure to follow the guidelines when creating press releases. All press release platforms have guidelines. In addition to a newsworthy topic, for instance, many of them require a third-person point of view writing style. News stories are typically written in a third-person point of view, so press releases follow this same writing style.

Some platforms require a specific format as well. You may have to format your press releases with a headline, summary, body and contact sections. Other platforms require a minimum and a maximum number of words. To avoid rejection, you should check the platform’s guidelines before submitting a new press release to it.

You don’t have to resort to spammy tactics to build backlinks. You can build them by publishing press releases. Search engines will crawl your press releases just like a traditional web page. Upon discovering the included links, search engines will factor them into their ranking formulas.