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There are two cases I'm thinking of:

  1. If the search string is "we buy homes", and the domain is webuy.homes

  2. Same search string, but the domain is webuyhom.es

I see more and more domains using the 2nd strategy as a creative, gimmicky way of structuring their domain to make it entertaining from a human's perspective. But I'm wondering if the same strategy would garner any juice from an algorithmic perspective.

I'm guessing the first domain would rank higher than the 2nd, but I'm wondering if Google would even consider the 2nd domain to be a match at all?

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    My recommendation is not to worry about domain name SEO. It may have been a significant signal a decade ago, but Google relies increasingly on other things like incoming link anchor text, and body text, since anyone can register a domain name that says pretty much anything they want it to. – Maximillian Laumeister Aug 15 at 2:36
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The time of exact match domains is finally gone. Don't expect any SEO effect from the placing a keyword into domain name. The only effect you'll achieve with it, is your users will better recognize and notice the domain name and its purpose.

The optimal way to go would be to have

  • a keyword in the domain name,
  • a geo-TLD of the country your business is acting in.

Useless to say - the keyword in the domain name should be better in the language of the country your business is acting in.

I.e.: www.comprar-casa.es, www.buy-homes.co.uk, www.haus-kaufen.de.

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You can't use country code domains such as .es as vanity suffixes. Google will only rank content on .es domains for searchers from within Spain. See I'm using a vanity country code top level domain (ccTLD), can I persuade Google to geotarget a different region? Between your two examples only webuy.homes will rank worldwide because Google thinks that most country code domains are to be exclusive for users within that country. There are some country code domains that Google treats globally: .ad .as .bz .cc .cd .co .dj .fm .io .la .me .ms .nu .sc .sr .su .tv .tk .ws. So maybe you-want-to-sell-your-home-b.ad could work.

Other than the restrictions on ranking country code domains, the keywords in your domain name are not going to matter much. I tend to choose domains that are easily usable for humans. That usually means not putting a period in the middle of word unless you can make the domain significantly shorter because of it. webuy.homes would be very usable, so would hom.es, but webuyhom.es is long, confusing, and spammy looking. I also prefer using .com as the top level domain because it is so common and people are used to it. See this related question: Exact Match Domain Extension Value

To directly answer your question, Google wouldn't consider webuyhom.es to mean "we buy homes". Google would probably be able to get the keywords out of webuy.homes, but it doesn't really matter. Google no longer uses exact match domain name keywords as a significant ranking factor. A few years ago Google specifically tweaked their algorithm so that exact match domains don't get a ranking boost. These days it is far better to build a brand on a strongly branded domain name. See Best Strategy for Exact Match Domain (EMD) Along Side Branded Domain

  • country code domains as vanity suffixes - this was good:) – Evgeniy Aug 16 at 11:17

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