Partial Match Moving to an Exact Match Domain: Will there Be a CTR Increase in Google Search for Ranking Terms?

As I mentioned in an older post introducing this Exact Match Domain case study, I am moving an established website from a Partial Match Domain (PMD) Name that gets around 2000 visitors a day from Google organic search to an Exact Match Domain Name (EMD).


While there is no real need to migrate the domain, I want to test a theory that moving from the partial match to the exact match will increase the CTR click rates from the search engine.  There are some studies done that state Exact Match Domains yield higher click rates, both for Ads and for search engine clicks on your URL for the exact keywords (and close variations) in the EMD.

Well. I want to actually TEST this in the field.

Even though I’m getting about 2000 visitors a day (I bought the domain as expired domain about 2 years ago and revamped it), I haven’t tried to monetize it yet. And it’s still on a pretty basic (and quite ugly) layout that’s in drastic need of a modern update. I’m planning over the next two months to put a brand new website design in, add a lot more new content, update existing content, and basically, make the site into something proper.

But I have a couple months until then to answer the question this case study poses: are Exact Match Domains still worth it?

Now, I wasn’t able to do this experiment a few months ago because my website in question was not yet linked up to Google Webmaster Tools, and because of this, I lacked data related to the search terms the site ranked for in Google AND the CTR for those search terms — both stats you can specifically track if your site is linked to Google Webmaster Tools.

So about three months ago, I added the site to Google Webmaster Tools so I could get this data. I now have a few months of data to compare against.

So, now I’m going to actually migrate over to the new domain (I will transfer the entire site to the new EMD domain, and do a 301 redirect from the PMD to the new EMD). I’ll then collect a month of data with Webmaster Tools for the new EMD domain (specifically the ranking terms, the traffic, and the CTR of the ranking terms in google) then post the results to conclude this specific case study.

I am not changing anything else about the website for the next month, other than the domain name. The content, the layout, and everything else will remain the same. The old PMD will 301 redirect to the new EMD, so all the traffic will be retained (duh).


So here are my three predictions. I could be wrong — but either way, we’ll find out with some solid facts, not guesses when the case study is done in a month and I have the data.

1) An increase in the CTR for Google Search Clicks — especially for the Exact Match Keyword Term or variations of that term

2) An increase in search traffic because of #1

3) Over the long term, a slight (or large) ranking increase for key terms related to the main keyword term, perhaps due to a slight boost because of the EMD and because future links will contain the exact keyword term in anchor text links.

The Final Word

I’m curious to see exactly what the results will yield here. I’ve spent about $100 USD on the domain name and hours of work just to test how much more (if at all) effective the EMD will be in the search. I know the supposed benefit of EMD’s is non existing, as far as google ranking factors go, but perhaps for older established sites like my own in this case study, the EMD can add a bit of a boast. As for increasing the CTR for clicks on the website in the search engine for the keyword related to the EMD name, this to me, seems kind of common sense.

But we shall see!

p.s. If you guys have any comments or idea what will happen, I’d love to hear them.



Comments 2

  1. Roland October 25, 2015
    • BenK October 25, 2015

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