Search relevancy algorithms are ever changing, but I recently snagged a good example of Google placing significant weight on exact matching domain names. When you search Google for search engine history there are over 20,000 exact phrase match pages and over 90,000,000 matching pages. The #6 result in this screenshot is SearchEngineHistory.com, which is a site that I never really developed. It has no inbound links on Yahoo!, Google, or MSN (as you can see on this screenshot and that one). Also worth noting that SearchEngineHistory.com is a single page site, and with NO link authority it outranks a LifeHacker post that has the exact matching phrase in a page title (and LifeHacker is an extremely authoritative site).
Why could Google trust domain matches so much? Because they are often associated with brands which protect their trademarks more vigilantly than in the past, and there are so many domainers and so much vc money placing premiums on domain names. To get an exact matching domain it is probably going to cost you something (either lots of money or the foresight to be an early believer in a new field), so that in and of itself is some sign of quality. For example, today I tried buying a non-word 5 letter domain for $1,000 and the domainer turned me down stating that he turned down 5x that much last week. About 3 years ago SeoBook.com cost $8, largely because the standard frame of thought in the SEO market was that there was no market for a book or ebook.
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