Law Quill | Pros And Cons Of Exact Match Domain Name Websites
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In the SEO world, many marketers have lauded the benefits of an exact match domain (EMD). Understanding EMD may help create a more effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy for your law firm. However, there are a few drawbacks. While exact match domain websites have been an effective way to boost traffic and rank higher, will it work for your legal practice? When you schedule a consultation, Law Quill can help determine whether to use EMD for your law firm.  

Why Is A What Is an Exact Match Domain?

According to USAGov, SEO practices optimize content to rank well on different search engines. An exact match domain is an URL or web address that uses a keyword that matches a specific search query. EMDs are almost identical to a search phrase entered into Google or another search engine. These domain names can improve the SEO of a particular website to help drive traffic. An example of an EMD for a criminal law firm in Florida may be “floridacriminallaw.com.”

While some may argue that the effectiveness of EMD has waned over the years, many marketers still use it for their clients. EMD does not have to be an exact match of a keyword; combinations of the keywords are also used. Any keywords that match the search query can be utilized for the client’s websites. In the past, marketers used exact match domains to redirect pages to other sites as a way to build a network of backlinks. There has been some controversy surrounding EMDs. In the past, a few marketers would use exact match websites to rank higher without putting effort into their content or website design.

 

What Is a Partial Match Domain?

Some websites may use a partial match domain (PMD) instead of an exact match domain. As previously mentioned, these domains will contain a partial keyword from a search query. For example, if you have a legal practice in Chicago, you may not be able to purchase “ChicagoAttorney.com.” In this situation, you may need to buy a domain with a name like “LawyerInChicago.com” or “ChicagoLawFirm.com.” While the initial EMD is the most effective, partial match domains can also have excellent ranking power, especially when combined with the right SEO strategy. While a PMD might seem like an alternative solution, avoid any hyphenated phrases in the domain since they can look spammy and be difficult to market.  

How Important Is an Exact Match Domain?

Exact match domains can be very beneficial for law firms as long as the website has relevant content and does not just rely on a domain keyword for its SEO. With those combinations, a legal practice has a better chance of ranking for that particular phrase. Google does like exact match domains as long as they do not come off as too spammy. The domain should indicate the user’s intent when searching for an attorney in the local market. 

A law firm must consider using specific SEO strategies with an exact match domain. These domain names should match the brand as well. If the domain name is not relatable to your practice or just sounds too spammy, it can hurt your chances of building a high organic position on the search engine results page (SERP). Even the Federal Trade Commission has warned customers against spam. At one time, Google penalized websites for having catchy EMDs. However, the company reversed course and issued an update to its algorithms. Still, it is essential not to use a low-quality exact match domain. If you want to learn more about EMDs that can help your SEO strategy, make sure to contact Law Quill.  

Why Is Your Law Firm’s Domain Name Important? 

A law firm’s domain name is an essential part of its online identity and can have a significant impact on its overall digital marketing success. Here are some reasons why a law firm’s domain name is important:

  1. Establishes Brand Identity: A domain name is the foundation of a law firm’s online presence and serves as a primary identifier for the firm. It provides a unique identity for the law firm and establishes its brand identity.
  2. Increases Online Visibility: A well-chosen domain name can improve a law firm’s search engine optimization (SEO) and increase its online visibility. A domain name that includes relevant keywords can help potential clients find the firm more easily online.
  3. Builds Credibility: A professional and memorable domain name can help establish the credibility and reputation of a law firm. A domain name that accurately reflects the law firm’s brand and practice areas can help create a positive impression on potential clients.
  4. Enhances Client Communication: A domain name can also serve as an important communication tool for a law firm. It can be used to create a professional email address for the firm, making it easier for clients to communicate with the firm and its attorneys.
  5. Protects Intellectual Property: Choosing a unique domain name can help a law firm protect its intellectual property rights. Registering a domain name that is similar to an existing trademark or domain name can lead to legal disputes and damage the reputation of the firm.

Are Exact Match Domains Good for SEO?

Great exact match domains can be beneficial for your SEO strategy. Consider the following important points: 

Provides Consistent Brand Identity

Brand identity goes a long way to help rank and promote your law firm. By aligning your domain name with the brand, you can create a consistent identity for your practice. Remember that any inconsistent branding can make your firm look unreliable in the eyes of potential clients. Using an exact match domain will help build trust with site visitors. If the domain name seems too spammy, many people will not even bother to click and visit your site.  

Secure Your Brand 

With any SEO strategy, the primary concern is to bring traffic to your website, leading to higher rankings and, eventually, more leads. Using a domain that does not match the brand can lead to losing traffic. In the end, failing to capture traffic will affect the bottom line. 

Today, all website visitors are concerned with data leaks, especially when asked to share private information. When you use a professional-looking exact domain match, it can put your audience at ease. Ultimately, they will be more willing to visit the site, request more information, or schedule a consultation with the firm.  

Increased Trust

Any domain is a vital part of your brand’s identity. Exact match domains can generate instant trust, credibility, and authority in your specific field. With that, you can have competitive advantages in the local market, which will help boost your click-through rates. In many cases, when someone sees a domain that relates to their search phrase, they are more likely to click on that website.  

 

What Are the Drawbacks of an EMD?

Of course, not all exact match domains will work for every law firm. Sometimes, you may not want to use an EMD for your websites. These drawbacks include the following: 

Cannot Market in Multiple Locations and Specializations

What about a firm that wants to use an exact match domain but has several fields of law? Sometimes, a practice may include lawyers who work in different areas, like family law, traffic law, or civil law. How do those firms market their practices? While the domain may rank well for criminal law, someone searching for a family lawyer could dismiss your firm based on the EMD.  

Law Firms May Change Locations

Using an EMD, a law firm will focus on one primary location. Some law firms do not stay in the same location. While it is for large firms to move from one city to another, smaller practices and individual attorneys often make a move to another site. If you have an EDM with a specific town, it will not mean much if you move out of state or to another city. Some practices have several locations and want to market to those areas. Locking the EMD down to one city could mean missing out on leads and clicks.  

Exact Match Domains Are Not Guaranteed To Rank

This is important to understand and remember when deciding on a domain name for your law firm. Purchasing an exact match domain does not mean your law firm will rank for that phrase. Some spammy resellers want clients to believe that buying a domain will automatically boost their relevance in Google. EMDs are one piece of the puzzle. Ranking higher will not happen automatically. It takes hard work and a solid strategy to reach the top position in SERPs. Using a keyword in a domain can help, but there are no guarantees of success.  

Limited Number of Exact Match Domains

The possibilities of domain names are not endless. Over the years, most of the best names have become expensive. As a result, it can be challenging for a law firm to find the proper domains without sounding too wordy or spammy. Additionally, what might seem like the ideal EMD at the time, a keyword’s relevance can wane over time. What does that mean? Your EMD might actually hurt your brand’s reputation, preventing your law firm from developing and growing the practice.  

Is It a Good Idea To Use an EMD in 2023?

With all that, should a law firm use or avoid an EMD in 2023? Today, using exact match domain websites are unnecessary, but it can help if the name doesn’t come off as spammy. If you have a cheesy URL as your domain name, many potential clients could fail to take you and your law firm seriously. 

 

When it comes time to market your firm, you want to use a domain name that can be readily marketable and resonate with those who may be searching for your services. However, purchasing the exact match domain to rank higher in your chosen practice area is not necessary.  

Bottom Line: Is It Important For a Law Firm to Have an Exact Match Domain Name? 

While having an exact match domain name (EMD) that includes keywords relevant to a law firm’s practice areas can improve its search engine rankings, it is not as important as it used to be.

In the past, search engines like Google placed a higher emphasis on EMDs, as they were seen as an indicator of the relevance of a website’s content. However, in recent years, search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated and now prioritize high-quality content and user experience over exact keyword matches.

That being said, an EMD can still be helpful in some cases. It can make it easier for potential clients to remember a law firm’s website address and can improve click-through rates in search engine results. However, it is more important to choose a domain name that accurately reflects the law firm’s brand, is professional and memorable, and is not too long or complicated.

Ultimately, the most important factor in a law firm’s online success is the quality of its website content, user experience, and online reputation, rather than the specific domain name itself.

How Law Quill Can Help

As you may already know, EMD must be used in combination with a solid SEO strategy that focuses on content creation and marketing. You will be sadly mistaken if you think exact match domain websites will help boost leads and revenue by themselves. It is also imperative to look at your strategy for the long term. Working with a reliable and professional agency specializing in law firm marketing can help you make the right decision for your practice. Yes, EMD may have advantages, but you need to use the name correctly to see any benefits. 

We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your law firm website’s conten, and to help you grow your law firm online! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at support@lawquill.com.