Keyword domains have traditionally played a major role in influencing search results and search engine ranking. It makes sense that when someone types a specific branded word into a search box on an engine, the Web site containing those words will return in the query at the top of the list. Through time, the power of those words diminished as a result of Google's Exact Match Domain update. True? Maybe not.
A project from CanIRank, using its competitive analysis platform, analyzed 10,000 URLs to determine whether keyword domain names still hold significant search engine optimization (SEO) value and can provide measurable return on investments (ROIs).
The company wanted to know what role, if any, keyword domains play in SEO, and whether it's still worth "spending tens of thousands of dollars for a category-defining domain name if it’s not an automatic ticket the front of the line." They also wanted to know how much they help, in what ways they help, and what the financial gain would be.
After years of declining use of exact-match domains, the research suggests that keyword domain names still provide a positive impact on SEO. To determine the findings, CanIRank pieced together a picture of how keyword domains perform differently than non-keyword domains. It turns out that keyword domains rank on average 11% higher than branded domains. Branded domains need an average of 40,000 more links to hit No. 1, and 35,000 more links to place in the top 10. Branded domains need 69% higher domain authority and 22% higher page authority to rank in the top 10.
Keyword domains were able to hit No.1 with half as much content, and only using the keyword half as frequently. The ranking factors clearly demonstrate that keyword domains rank more easily because of higher Web site relevancy and Web site Ext relevancy scores, per the findings.
CanIRank details each one of the findings here.