Google filed a patient in 2003 describing how they might handle the issue of exact match domains getting better rankings in the search engine results compared to other sites. That patient was just approved.
There appears to be some strong evidence (at least at the local organic level) that Google has already started making changes in the SER based on discounting the value of a domain with an exact match domain name. We have several sites that have exact match keywords in the domain that we built more than 6 years ago. In the last few days, one fell from the first position for its exact match keyword, to the 11th position. This is a local site. None of our customer domains are using this strategy, just sites we built throughout the years for one reason or another.
We also have seen our non domain exact match sites move up, and in some cases significantly. This blog is a great example, as two days ago it was ranked number 11 under SEO in Denver, and today it is third. It should be noted we don’t do any specific SEO program to our site; we are just active on the Internet in natural places. No one spends 8 hours a week or month or year doing SEO work for the site.
Architecture of a Web crawler. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I would love to hear if you are seeing a change in your site based on exact match domain names. The fact that Google has made two major changes in the last two weeks that have also had a large effect on many local rankings will make this a little more difficult to figure out the old causation versus correlation of a change.
It also appears that this change has had no effect on the Google Maps results. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see the Maps rankings change some based on this as well, but the Google Maps listings have a tendency to follow organic changes after a period of time.