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I lucked out and managed to buy a two word .com EMD for the most important key-phrase for our b2b SaaS startup.

Shutting down our branded domain isn't an option, we've already got too much invested in that brand (not in terms of SEO but in terms of other marketing efforts).

The brand domain at present hasn't really been optimised for this key-phrase and we haven't invested any effort in SEO to date on that domain, but now we have some resources and want to make a big push for that key-phrase.

So what is the best strategy for an EMD when you want already have a branded domain that you don't want to close or have penalised in some way?

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Now is a bad time for EMDs, as Google seems to not be valuing it as much as it used to.

What this means for you is that you are going to have to spend a lot of time and money on creating a quality unique minisite for it to bring back any returns. And I'm guessing since it is an important keyword, the SERPs must have quite high competition, making it extra hard to rank.

Why not just create the minisite on your main domain instead (http://domain.com/keyword)? At least that way, all the time, effort and money you spend on creating quality content for this particular silo will benefit your main website overall. In addition, you may be able to cross/up-sell your product as you will have more information on your main website.

You may still manage to rank your http://keyword.com domain but is it worth it since you have already built up a brand?

Personally I would keep the EMD so your competitor can't get it, and just redirect it to your main website (in case someone types it directly). Unless the search volume is very high and competition low, it may not be worth spending resources on a new website when they could be used to make your existing one stronger.

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Actually the competition isn't that strong. It's a niche and where the current 1st position is MyKeyword.net (we've bought MyKeyword.com) which is an old site that hasn't been updated in years. The others on the front page haven't really optimised for this keyword but have high domain authority and happen to be using the phrase in some pages. –  ChrisInCambo Oct 29 '12 at 9:16
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