Exact-match generic keyword domains may now be over-optimized
 by Kristi Hagen

Exact-match generic keywords domain may be over-optimized?

  • We're creating a new (legal services) Directory and are struggling to choose which of the two domains would be the best fit:
    • FindSpecificLegalService.com


    • SpecificLegalService.us

    Since each domain uses the same keyphrase, which is an exact match to a high volume of searches, we think both domain names are pretty good. But, we're leaning toward the .us version because it's an exact keyphrase match (without the word Find). Which would you recommend we choose?


We've recently noticed that Google might be sandbagging generic exact match domains.

Right now, we're experiencing a case where a newly registered exact match .com, which targeted a specific generic phrase, has struggled to gain traction in Google. We expected it would be easy to rank because it has low competition with several good links, all on topic, not purchased and all from relevant sites.

By all measures, this site should be ranking much better. Nevertheless, it's been at the 20+ position for about 6 months now, regardless of our tweaks.

Why? ...the only explanation we can think of is the page is over-optimized – which makes sense because every page on the site is 100% focused on the exact keyphrase, which also matches the .com domain name.

We finally, just recently, scored a position zero ranking for some related phrases but still no first page rankings for site's main keyword phrase. Our experience tells us the site should be killing it, ranking-wise, so this is surprising.

Obviously, something is holding it back, and we're betting it's some sort of over-optimization filter for being "too" focused on the keyphrase.

Therefore, based on what we see lately, you might consider focusing more on a brand/keyword sort of domain name rather than a generic exact-match domain. And, when all else is equal or anywhere close to it, we also recommend choosing the .com domain name over any other domain name extension.html>