Why Exact Match Search Volume and CPC Metrics Matter
Today I want to talk about two characteristics of domain names that help determine value. They are: exact match search volume and cost per click.
Exact match search volume is defined as the number of searches for an exact phrase and it’s quantity is given per month.
So, for example, searching for “bread maker” on Google would be an exact match search phrase – which is likely the phrase correlated to someone interested in buying a bread maker.
Whereas searching for “bread maker mixes” or “bread maker recipes” would be phrase match, because they include the phrase “bread maker” in a larger search. Broad match search volume doesn’t necessarily indicate interest in buying a bread maker — but more so in operating a bread machine.
So to be crystal clear, I’m not referring to broad match search volume and I’m not referring to phrase search volume, both of which are helpful metrics in pay-per-click advertising campaigns. I’m referring to exact match search volume.
As a quick aside, there may be phrases that better match consumer intent to purchase, like “best bread maker” or “buy bread maker,” but those phrases tend to have less search volume.
Why does exact match search volume matter?
Because if you own the exact match domain name for the exact match search volume phrase, you can benefit for four main reasons:
Number 1. It shows you are trustworthy because you own the best domain name possible for the matching exact match search phrase.
How could you own domain names like Mortgage.com or Cancer.org if you weren’t around for years or didn’t spend a lot of money to acquire them?
Number 2. Some exact match domain names receive type-in traffic, either because people expect there to be something at the domain name related to the phrase or because the phrase is an upgrade for another domain name.
For example, people might type in GreenHouse.com thinking they’re going to GreenHouseSupplies.com or GreenHouseArizona.com.
Number 3. A good exact match domain name can reduce an advertiser’s cost per click in a pay-per-click advertising campaign.
According to a 2011 study by Edwin Hayward of Memorable Domains, having an exact match domain can double your number of clicks in a PPC campaign. A link to that study is dnacademy.com/emdstudy.
Some will quickly disregard this study from 2011 because of it’s age, but I am not so quick to do so because consumer habits don’t change that often.
Number 4. If an owner builds an authoritative website on an exact match domain name with proper SEO they can get it ranked in organic search results, increasing their reach and – or reducing their need to buy PPC advertising.
So exact match search volume is a useful metric.
200,000 exact match searches per month is awesome, whereas 100 exact match searches per month is not worth your time. Everything else in the middle is a grey area.
There can be domain names with high exact match search volume that are worthless like the name of an incurable disease that affects people.
Fragile X, for example, is a genetic disorder with no cure. It affects affects approximately 1 in 6000 people. And it has an exact match search volume of about 10,000 per month.
And there can be domain names with lower exact match search volume that are very valuable, like some financial products that very few people need.
For example, I have no idea what variable annuities are, but people buy them. They just don’t have much search volume.
But exact match search volume by itself is not the whole story. We need to couple exact match search volume with one other characteristic to get the full picture.
The other characteristic is cost per click, or CPC, which is the average cost active advertisers are paying per click on ads that display above and below organic results on search engines.
Why does CPC matter?
CPC matters for two reasons:
Number 1. It’s an indication that there are real companies paying real money to reach people who have indicated interest in a keyword phrase.
Number 2. Companies who have advertising budgets are more likely to look for ways to optimize their spend, and are more willing to consider other, better ways to spend their advertising budget…like buying an exact match domain name.
When you couple exact match search volume with CPC, it’s a powerful “one-two punch” for a domain name, indicating both buyers’ intent from exact match search volume and advertisers who are paying money to advertise products and services to them.
So what are the best tools for determining exact match search volume and CPC?
For finding the exact match search volume, I think both SearchVolume.io — what Josh Reason suggested last week — and Estibot.com are both accurate.
In my data analysis, I thought KWFinder.com’s search volume was high because I think they might be grouping together exact match search volume with misspellings and related phrases.
However, for cost per click data, KWFinder.com is my go to source.
SearchVolume.io doesn’t provide CPC information, so it’s a tool you need to use with something else.
Estibot.com’s data is unique and smart. They understand what’s going on at Google with Google in 2019 trying to “dumb down” the advertisers’ experience and at the same time trying to boost search volumes by grouping together similar phrases — or what they think are similar phrases — to make more revenue.
For example, when you look at the CPC of “lawn mowing” on Estibot, you won’t get grouped results for “grass cutting,” a phrase that Google will lump in with your search volume even if you didn’t specify you wanted it. So technically Estibot is more accurate with respect to the CPC of a domain name, but I do prefer to see the grouped CPC of KWFinder as an indication of the broader interest by advertisers.
Are there any rules for exact match search volume and CPC that we can rely on?
Some domain name investors used to recommend buying exact match domain names with at least 1,000 exact match search volume *AND* $1 CPC. They don’t any longer because they just aren’t sellable at that range.
I own a domain name with 135,000 exact match searches per month — which sounds great. And the CPC is 42 cents, but if you actually go to Google or other search engines to verify advertiser usage, you will not find a single advertisement.
So is my domain name a valuable or worthless domain name? It depends.
There are six types of domain names:
Generic, like Apple.com or Rose.com
Exact Match, like CloudComputing.com or OfficeSupplies.com
Brandable, like Google.com or Spotify.com
Acronym, like Z.com or DATL.com
Numeric, like 123.com or 8855.com, and
Alphanumeric, like X3.com or 66G.com
Every single domain name in the world fits into these six buckets.
All six types may have search volume, but ONLY exact match domain names have both exact match search volume and CPC in order to make them valuable.
The other five types of domain names are valuable because of other characteristics, which we won’t go into today.
Thanks again to the Joshes and Luc for their assistance in helping me think through this discussion topic.
So that’s it. Any questions about exact match search volume and CPC that I can answer for you or open up to the group?