It’s long been debated about whether or not keywords in domain names positively influence a website’s search rankings, and while that debate will likely continue for some time (especially as more businesses adopt new GTLDs), there is some definitive proof that the share of keyword domains in the search results has decreased continuously in recent years.
In its 2015 Google ranking factors study, Searchmetrics has analyzed the top 30 search results for 10,000 relevant keywords and 300,000 websites appearing on Google.com and found that while 9 percent of the URLs (in the top 30 results) included the keyword in the domain in 2014, this figure is down to just 6 percent in 2015.
As a refresher, domainers, and those looking to give their sites an organic boost, would choose “www.cheapairfairtoeurope.com” if they were in fact selling cheap airfare to Europe.
The data from Searchmetrics certainly shows a decline in keyword-rich domains in the top 30 search results, but also, wisely, points out that this drop also likely has to do with the poor user experience that these websites (especially exact-matching ones), in most cases, provide. For those companies offering strong user experiences (indicative of low bounce rates, high time on site, etc.) on their keyword-rich domains, may still appear high on the SERPs.
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