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Trell.ShopTop Contributor
Google on Ranking Power of Keyword Domains

Google’s John Mueller settled a long running debate as to whether keywords in the domain name matter. He also provided four insights about choosing domain names and ranking.

History of Keyword versus Branded Domains

A keyword domain is a domain name with keywords in it (example, A branded domain is a domain name without the keywords in it (example,

There was a time when Internet users typed the name of a product or service they wanted. This was called Direct Navigation. This earned ad revenues to those who owned those domains and “parked” them. Parking the domain was setting it up so that the domain names showed ads and only ads.

The search engines helped the keyword domain industry by ranking those parked domain names in the search results. Then in 2011 Google removed parked domains from the search results. The parked domain industry suffered after Google updated its algorithm to remove parked domains. More on this in section 3 below. Source..

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Thanks for sharing, and the article is well supported with quotes and evidence.

It is important also, however, to keep in mind the arguments in this post:

They start with the Google statement that exact name match in domain does not matter for search, but then show cases where exact match in some new extensions does seem to get ranked high fast, and ask the question how can that be.

They speculate one reason is that an exact match with no unrelated extension can become a precise link simply by deliberately or by accident including a period. That is, if you are typing into a browser URL window and type you go to that site, whereas to get to one with a .net, .site, .com etc would need to enter the full three words with two dots which would seldom happen by accident. In Twitter, all it takes is the period to make into a clickable URL.

I had a couple of personal cases that made me realize there might well be truth in the NamesOfLondon reasoning. Just over a year ago I began to invest in ngTLDs that made a phrase. I have for some years been interested in the topic of diversity in science and technology, so I purchased the domain name I used it as one of several examples that I set up redirects to show how it works, but the redirect page has no detailed text on how to promote diversity, etc. - rather just mentions diversity and then brief information on domain name phrases in general. Our website at the time (and still) was not very popular - I think something like 12 million most popular in world then, around 7 million now. I did nothing beyond one tweet to promote the idea. And yet, for fun one day just a month after I bought the domain and a few weeks after I did he redirect, I entered the words <diversify science> in a Google search (not with brackets or quotes just as two words) and i was number 2 on the first page of Google! I have since set it so that the simple domain directs to my marketplace for sale page, while a few expressions like direct to my domain phrases site. As I write this I tried a Google search again, now almost a year later, and at least here in Canada Google has 12 million plus pages dealing with diversify science and it lists my domain phrase page as number 5 on page one! Many, many sites have way more and better information on the causes of lack of diversity, and what to do about it, but Google is somehow pointing to my domain name site among the top choices.
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Brand Ambassador INDIATop Member Staff
Google can't tell everything, Google all after "Content" "Quality" "Back links" "User Friendly Design" now "SSL".

That's is, they don't even think about "Domain"

When I searched "Coffee" I got this one on first page.

Imagine if I tried selling this name here, I would nearly got $5.
Note that Google will more favorably rank a website you have visited before. I recall with some developed sites of mine they would rank much more favorably on my home computer than say at the library.


Brand Ambassador INDIATop Member Staff
Note that Google will more favorably rank a website you have visited before. I recall with some developed sites of mine they would rank much more favorably on my home computer than say at the library.

I searched "Coffee" first time, it was my first to there site


Established Member
I believe domain with keywords I had seen before many a times. Then sites with useless content get ranked top just cause they had a good keyword domain. But search engines have changed a lot and now more focused to content. Domain with keyword give a preference.

Chris Wright

OwnerTop Contributor
When you run an Adwords campaign, keywords in the domain UNDENIABLY help your Adwords Quality Score. Why would EMD's be so important inside Adwords and so "neutral" outside of it?

Google tried to neutralize EMD advantages in search. People were tired of seeing thin and unhelpful sites rise on the strength of a keyword domain ALONE.

Plus, Google has a huge incentive to kill SEO. They make more $ when more people advertise. And, as a public company, they have a legal obligation to make more money for their shareholders.

However, one SEO SaaS has proven that the advantages of keyword domains were not erased by Google.

Can I Rank
don't sell domains or advertising. And they use a brandable for their own business. So, they aren't biased in any way. It's quite a rigorous analysis. I haven't see any Google research to counter it.
Amazon is both a branded domain name and a keyword domain name.
A keyword domain does not stop being a keyword domain name
because it is branded. Also, a keyword domain name has poor trademark
protection just because it is a common word..
Sorry, but google does NOT have any legal obligation to make money for anybody.

When I search "coffee", I first get LOCAL places that sell coffee.
And only 3 of the searches on the first place are NOT local....
One is wikipedia, and another is the National Coffee Assc.

Now for domains with or without a keyword?
It is pointed out AMAZON is not a keyword....but I would say, IT IS A KEYWORD!
Starbucks does not have a keyword....but again, Starbucks is a keyword now.
And coffee does bring up starbucks (in my case, the starbucks locally).

It boils down to the domain itself.
What is on the domain?
Search FORD and see all the FORD dealers that do not have the word FORD in the domain.


XYNames.comTop Member
If a lot of people are still going straight to a domain, it will still appear very high in Page Rank, parked or not.

Google did not remove parked domains from searches absolutely, rather - it stated that "In most cases, we prefer not to show them" and that was something they said, in passing, seven years ago, who knows whether they still follow it now.
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Account Closed (Requested)
Yes, it's a known fact that keyword domains in .com are horrible! Google hates them and they are completely destroying the environment. Especially those terrible exact match keyword domains.

Get rid of all your EMD's now!!! I will thank you later, once I've grabbed them and they are sitting nice and warm and snug in my portfolio.


XYNames.comTop Member
Just as wurdd alludes, any domain with traffic gets a good page rank, so LOL if you're determined to think otherwise just give us old schoolers your EMDs!


New Member
Keywords in domain still matters and rank.
I was searching for 'godaddy coupons' and found few sites in top 10 SERP having coupons in their domain keyword. Well, on next page (position 13th or 14th), there was a site whose domain included 'deals' and no mention of coupon.

So I searched again with a new query as "godaddy deals" and the domain name who had "deals" in its name suddenly ranked on 3rd position on page 1. The title of their web-page was : Godaddy Coupons, Promo Codes. There was no mention of 'deal' in title meta tag. But domain had the word: deals.

this shows for some keywords, google still weighs keywords in domains.


Another thing I found (Many-a-times) in same niche, having sub-domain outranks sites with sub-folders.
Example: will rank higher than

I tried on my domain, creating two blogs having HELP keyword in sub-folder and HELP keyword in sub-domain. It was related to seo services help site. Now when I entered my title in search box along with help as suffix, suddenly used to popup in top 10 results, while was always displayed on Page 2 of search results.