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Algo Change Targets Low Quality Exact Match Domains 9-28-2012
martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 9:13 pm on Sep 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt tweeted [twitter.com]:
small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality "exact-match" domains in search results.

 

farouk111



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 9:11 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Robwoods
this makes sense

i was hit by panda 1.2 and lost 20% of traffic, 2 month later my traffic jumped 100% so resulted in an 80% gain
the same stupid panda that pushed me down is the one that later pushed me up
lets wait, i think that's the best option now until the dust settles

WebPixie

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 9:37 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@robdwoods

Of course ease of ranking is one of the reasons people use EMDs. Another is that they carry a higher level of trust with users. If you are looking for blue widgets and you get to BlueWigets.com you are more likely to hang around.

But beyond that, you seem to be implying that using EMDs is a bad business model. Well as of last Friday you might be correct. But in the 12 years I have been making a living online EMDs have made me a good deal of money and even if I never make another dime off any of my EMDs it was still time well spent. The internet changes, Google clearly changes and we adjust. But I have to strongly disagree with any notion that using EMDs for some projects was a bad idea.

Nostalgic Dave

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 9:40 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've got three low traffic EMD's that were not hit. All monetized with affiliate links. All are ranking at or near #1 for their exact match terms. The domains look like ####brand.com, where the brand is a trademark name and #### is a vintage year. One of these domains deserves a EMD filter, as it is just a few pages and 90% affiliate links yet it holds strong at #1. The other two are legit and naturally linked.

robdwoods

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 9:47 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

@webpixie I hear you. I like using EMDs and will continue to for the branding, memorability, direct type in traffic, inherent "trust" from users, etc. What I'm saying is that is you bought BlueWigetsBrandNameCityState.com and the reason you bought that is 99% to rank for that keyword and 1% all the other reasons, look ahead and expect that's something Google is going to target as undesirable.

romerome

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 11:37 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

tim wrote "Someone has already said this (sorry, don't remember who) and I agree, I think this update simply removes any "bonus" a site may have had because of their domain name. "

Most of my EMD's didn't get hit. Maybe 5% of the traffic was for the EMD. But they got hit on the rest of the traffic as well. So I am pretty sure they didnt just lose the bonus.

Curious does anyone know how this has affected the domain market?

Even though most of my sites are ok I am certainly staying away from EMD sites in the future.

SevenCubed

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 11:50 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Even though most of my sites are ok I am certainly staying away from EMD sites in the future.


I have one EMD for a very popular international search term (keyword1-keyword2) that I will be launching next spring/summer, a personal project, I have no intention on backing away from it even though I still can because all the content is still locked in my head. Full steam ahead.

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 2:20 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think one thing is evident from all of this. Matt Cutts said this was a small change like it was no big deal. This is a very big change from what I am seeing. The fact that this thread is now 13 pages long gives you the idea of how much this update has effected webmasters.

I really can not make sense of this update, though. A EMD website that ranked number1 for its EMD is now nowhere to be found at all. How is it possible that domain was ranking as high as it was simply based on its domain?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 2:25 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

How is it possible that domain was ranking as high as it was simply based on its domain?

A lot of webmasters suspected this, but Google people kept saying it wasn't the case. Then last year at Pubcon in th Q&A with Matt, he said they would take a closer look. Apparently they did see something.

The fact that this change destroys EMD rankings for some sites doesn't really surprise me. Most of the new Google algo changes start out very heavy handed in recent times. It takes many months for them to moderate.

supercyberbob



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 4:06 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

So either they lied about EMDs or they don't really know what they're doing.

Either way = super scary.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 4:14 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

How do you see a lie there? Google certainly did address EMDs (the "low quality" sites they say), and many webmasters have been complaining about that unfair advantage for years.

There are many examples of other areas where webmasters noticed things about the SERPs before Google did. I remember very well the "Sandbox" for example. Only when the reports accumulated over months did they take another look. And them they saw the sandbox was an intended consequence.

Yes, the algorithm is extremely complex, and their "quality control" is looking for percentage accomplishments as determined by their human editorial staff - not something like a zero percent error which cannot be achieved.

And yes, that is a bit scary.

kidder

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 4:38 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just noticed one of my 2005 domains has lost most of its Google traffic today. It could be considered an exact match but it was ranking for plenty of long tail results as well. All gone now, can't see any Google ref's in the stats. Its been so good to us over the years we've pretty much left it alone and added a bit of content from time to time just to keep it fresh. No link work to speak of, no adsense. The revenue will dry up soon but plan B went into action last October when all this sh1t started so life goes on, not a good month for SEO... Google must be banking on a revenue boost just before Christmas each year to pay out the staff bonuses or something.

supercyberbob



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 4:48 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

tedster

I just find it hard to believe that they couldn't see the EMD advantage, for such a long period of time, AND after getting direct feedback from webmasters.

But to clarify, I don't know what went on exactly, it just sounds like the "extremely complex" algo is a bit of a mess right now.

I don't own any EMDs and I'm spectating. Just need more popcorn.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 5:19 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

On a positive note, I am seeing EMD's with fairly good content rising, especially if the business name match's the EMD. So it's not all losers - there are some winners.

I did sight another sample of brand name EMD's that ranked considerably well - many of those were passing themselves off as the original brand and would confuse visitors of which one's were bonafide or not. Leaving the trademark issues aside, i couldn't tell the difference - i think Google would also find it hard, and the brands were likely supported by manufactured goods breaching IP regulations - you know where i mean :)

But as i said before, any SEO strategy needs to be strengthened if you are putting up sites with EMD's purely for ranking purposes. It's been talked about for years, and warned about. Very definitely there was a shift around Penguin time, before G put focus on this.

Either you ditch the domains, or you invest highly in the quality of the domains to have them work well for you. Not easy if you've been pumping out 1000's of these sites as your central SEO business model.

IanTurner

WebmasterWorld Administrator ianturner us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 8:15 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@chicagohh

I have found that most websites that are not testing user behavior are under-performing. Often, dramatically. Averaging 6 pages/visit may look great, but if other sites are running 9 or more then your 6 is actually not good at all.


This depends on the type of site, if you are an industry news site having people see six pages with an industry average of nine would be bad, as people are reading less of your stories. If you are a technical help site having an average of six pages when your competitors are averaging nine would be great as you are getting the visitor the information they want faster than your competitors. (In fact if you are a technical help site and averaging more than a couple of pages per visit you have got it badly wrong for your users)

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 8:47 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

The internet changes, Google clearly changes and we adjust. But I have to strongly disagree with any notion that using EMDs for some projects was a bad idea.

I agree. What Google has done this time is to penalise (call it what you like!) many long established websites that used standard and acceptable SEO practice to rank in the SERPs. Businesses have been doing this for years to the extent that EMDs became an industry as long as 15 years ago. There should be nothing wrong with using established EMDs and no penalties for doing so.

If they decide that they are going to crank down on new websites that are over doing it then fair enough but many people paid large sums of money for these names based on Google's reverence of them. I have a couple of EMDs that have not really been affected (so far). My anger at this situation is not as a result of any personal penalty.

I also launched a website last year with a domain like "freebluewidgethelp". The EMD was spammy and the site never got close to ranking . The content was good enough and I wrote it myself but I think the domain rang too many warning bells. I was not bitter at this. I realised my mistake and accepted it but to demolish legitimate, established sites on a whim like this is unnaceptable.

themistral

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 8:57 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Not liking the idea of the brand PMD potentially being hit in the future.
We have a number of online shops based on brand name - with the approval of the brand!

The saving grace is that no-one has ever done any link building for these sites, so the link profiles are practically non-existent.

I am pretty convinced that for our EMD, we are essentially being treated as though we had bought randomdomain.co.uk - the EMD was giving us a boost even though we only went live in June.

I am not going to panic - as it's a site that doesn't make us a lot of money, I'm going to wait this out and see what happens.

tigger

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tigger us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 9:17 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm still sure that a lot of the problems with EMDs is where too many links have been set up using the url - I've got 5 sites all affiliate sites and only 1 out of the 5 has been effected with this update ..all the other EMDs have not moved and all of them have poor link development...The only site that has dropped has not been updated and TBH forgotten about

arikgub

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 9:19 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Like many others reported here, me too just noticed that one of the domains I have had that used to rank #1-#2 for a low volume search keyword got -950 penalty in this update.

What do we know about the -950 penalty that happened in the past? I can see a lot of threads from 2007/2008 suggesting that it was not a site-wide but a keyword specific penalty. Was that an anchor text over-optimization penalty? The EMDs are likely to have a disproportional amount of exact anchor text links, so just wondering if may be related to the old -950 penalty ..

Maurice



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 9:42 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Interesting I am seeing a drop over the weekend for one of our sites non EMD and a Brand.

The senaky part of me thinks that we have been attacked by negative seo as some of the latest found links are nothing to do with us and low quality.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 9:44 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm still sure that a lot of the problems with EMDs is where too many links have been set up using the url
Wasn't that the whole point? :)
Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 9:51 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Wasn't that the whole point? :)


Precisely. I'd call this pEMDguin

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 11:00 am on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

The number of results shown for any given KW query ( of the sort KW returns EMD at #1 or SERPs has fallen ) ..
I have one which was #2 from 1.6 billion ..is as of today is #1 from 800 million ( other indexes that I'm watching my EMDs in are shrinking similarly )..usually if the index number stays lower than it used to be for 72 hours , IME the "update" will be over..

In which case "Pre-sorting" will be finished for this round..

driller41

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 1:26 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm still sure that a lot of the problems with EMDs is where too many links have been set up using the url.

Cant be true, URL links are the most common and natural form of linking, what is not natural is "best yellow widgets" type links.

atlrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 1:37 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think the most important question, after the fact, is whether this is a penalty or not. I.e. could you turn a "low-quality EMD" into a high quality one or are you penalized and could only hope of the next tweak to remove this penalty?

I see just as many people claiming they've lost 2-3 positions as those that say their EMD was completely gone.

miozio

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 1:38 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Unsubscribed from this thread and from Google search

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 1:38 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Cant be true, URL links are the most common and natural form of linking, what is not natural is "best yellow widgets" type links


I think that too much of any type of linking is going to trigger penguin. Whether it's best yellow widgets or best-yellow-widgets.tld there are too may yellow widget anchors. It may be that the EMD's would be even harder to rectify / control in the future than anything else. Much harder to get diverse anchors when your TLD is keywords, as is your branding, as is your title and so on.

dolcevita

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 1:41 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I;m not anymore sure about EMD because my site keyword1keyword2keyword3 still have first position for
main page keyword1keyword2keyword3 or keyword1 keyword2 keyword3.

Main page also score for other terms but slightly have lose position's (for example from 2 to 5 or from 5 to 10) but other pages from the site except 2-3 lost positions for all terms.

Main page have also lose positions for many other terms but not for all. Traffic is down for 25-30%.

It is authority domain in its field since 2005. Never ever had any issue in past till friday night.

farouk111



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 2:40 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

finally the confusion is over
matt cutts announced that there was another update taking place in the same time of the EMD
check this link out : [webpronews.com...]

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 2:45 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

That information was already already available here [webmasterworld.com...] well before the article you linked to was written..
and from Matt Cutts on twitter..

driller41

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 3:09 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

All he said was they roll updates out almost every day so it is hard to pin movement down to just one of them.

backdraft7

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4501349 posted 3:11 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

You would hope that old EMD's would be grandfathered out of this update. My domain dates back to 1999, back when being an EMD was "the big thing"!

My domain is "word1word2" dot com, but I still rank #1 for the "word1"+"word2" search, and many related, so I'm guessing I'm good, for now.

Seeing that I'm still good in the serps, I can assume the site is not considered "low quality", which is good too. Hmmm, positive feedback evidence?

[edited by: backdraft7 at 3:22 pm (utc) on Oct 3, 2012]

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