There was a study conducted by Can I Rank, the company is run by former Sedo CEO Matt Bentley, the study looked at the effect keyword domains have on organic search.
The results of CanIRank’s research show that high-ranking keyword domains:
- Consistently score higher than brand domains in factors related to Website Relevancy, which measures the quality of thematic content on a site, and Website External Relevancy, which measures the use of relevant keywords that link to a site
- Score about the same on Page Relevancy and Page External Relevancy, which measure similar factors for a specific page as opposed to an entire site; and
- Score much lower on Page Strength and Website Strength, showing that keyword domains rank highly despite having fewer quality links pointing to them.
The research provides hard evidence that companies could save significant sums – sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars – by investing in keyword domains despite recent moves by Google to reduce their influence.
After studying more than 10,000 URLs, CanIRank’s research found that websites using keyword domain names rank higher than brandable domains and are able to attain top rankings more easily. Websites that contained a matching keyword in their domain name earned a top 10 Google ranking with an average of 35,000 fewer links from other sites, half as much content and keyword usage, and nearly 70 percent lower website strength than those without a matching domain.
Keyword domains have historically played a large role in search engine rankings, but as early as 2011, Google began to talk about dialing down their influence. In 2012, Google announced an algorithm change that it said would reduce low-quality ‘exact-match’ domains in search results. However, there’s been little evidence regarding the specific impacts these changes have had.
“CanIRank’s competitive analysis software provides unique insight into the influence of over 200 different factors on search engine rankings, and we used that information to help gain a better understanding of how keyword domains perform differently than brandable domains,” said Matt Bentley, founder of CanIRank. “While previous studies have simply looked for a correlation between keyword domains and high rankings, this approach lets us see exactly why keyword domains rank more easily and allows us quantify their benefits to an SEO campaign.”
CanIRank’s complete research data, including an explanation of each factor measured, can be found at: http://www.canirank.com/blog/