Is it necessary that your domain name be an exact match for your primary keyword? Many SEOs still believe that it does, and many of them teach their clients that it does. However, many websites have been successful without exact match domain names. Here are a few:
- Small Business Mavericks
And of course there are plenty more!
Small Business Mavericks is not exactly a perfect example, however. I would consider it a partial match domain name since we do cater to small businesses, however, we provide online marketing services for small businesses. That makes the domain name a partial match, not an exact match per se.
Nevertheless, the principles of exact match with regard to your domain name hold for us as well.
SEOmoz conducted a study on exact match domain names and found that they are in decline in the search engines. But, they were careful to point out that this is not due to the search engines targeting exact match domains in any way. It could just be collateral damage resulting from other algorithmic changes.
There are times when securing an exact match domain could benefit you, but if you do it strictly for SEO reasons, then I’d say it’s probably not going to help you. If it does, it won’t be by a large stretch. And if you engage in on-page SEO spam, then it likely will hurt you.
A good time to select an exact match domain name is when your primary keyword is in your business name and you want the domain name for branding purposes. Remember, you are building an online business so you should think long term. Don’t get shortsighted about SEO tactics and forget that you are building a brand.