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




msg:4501351
 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.

 

backdraft7




msg:4503495
 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]

MrSavage




msg:4503506
 3:20 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Complete garbage. Couple points. The fact is EMD should be the authority. It's how the internet was built. It is how businesses are built. You are either some "brand" with no meaning or you are a business which uses your product and or service in your name. For a domain to be given a poison cocktail because it's matches what people are looking for? That's absurd. A .com with a given keyword or phrase should be the #1 site is it's quality is there. If not, then this whole thing is screwed based on a whim. Should there be some extra value in having a .com with a keyword phrase? I would say why the hell shouldn't there be? What's the argument against it? Because it's not "fair" or because you didn't get that domain in the first place? It was a cornerstone of the internet. It was one of the rules. If that goes, along with the other long standing pillars of what search was, the for sure Google is changing the internet. You will need your own brand more often than not then. I say good luck with that.

Please don't sidetrack this topic with rubbish about a 1 of 500 daily algo updates and that's what's happened. That's garbage. Stuff like this, drops like this just don't "happen" to thousands of webmasters during their apparent "daily" algo updates. That is a complete crock to throw something like that into this.

Okay, but regarding this situation, I have seen no changes AT ALL in terms of a bounce back. This is about day 5. No word on anything correct? I was hoping to read more optimistic news. I wanted to stay out of this thread but it's hard. I will continue to use a keyword phrase that matches my business and or content although I'm launching a new site or two now. If I have different rules because of it, then I'm afraid this is racism of the search world.

Nobody is mentioning image searches and if their drop in search ranking is equally as bad in image searches. I mean it makes sense if one if gone, then the other is gone. In my experience that isn't always the case. You should check your site search in image search, see what happens. Did your photos basically get "attributed" to different sites and they are now in those top rankings also?

backdraft7




msg:4503514
 3:33 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Savage - It's a casino, that's for sure. My site has been a pillar through all these updates, but has taken a bashing. Apparently the small changes I've been making along the way are finally paying off as I'm seeing some recovery. If I didn't know better, I'd say the last big update is now starting to settle out and hopefully the waves calm down for your site soon.

Don't get too comfy though, Google always has another Sumo sized belly flop on deck, ready to swamp our tiny ships again!

zarathustra2011




msg:4503515
 3:41 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

My site isn't an EMD, and the domain name doesn't mean much of anything really (it's a made up word), and rarely do people search for my site by the actual domain name. As I've lost 75% of my traffic, it couldn't have been propped up in the searches by the domain name. It's anything but low quality, so I don't know how the latest algo has processed things. The only thing I can think of is that I have overdone the image alt tags in the past (something I'm changing) and I don't know if my keyword density has become too high on certain pages. I wrote it in natural language and didn't check the density, but when your subject is on a particular subject where there aren't many synonyms, it's very hard to talk about it without using the word itself. I wasn't hit by penguin or panda, but this latest "minor" update, has wiped me out.

Leosghost




msg:4503518
 3:50 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Nobody is mentioning image searches


Probably because there is a separate thread about that
[webmasterworld.com...] ..

Discussion about different updates ( even if they are concurrent ) works better if they are kept separate ..

MrSavage




msg:4503530
 4:14 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

You're assuming they are different. I am considering it's part of the same update. Hard to know if it isn't discussed here. What do I know though.

The question if your EMD is down, is it gone from images also? Is that relevant enough to this thread?

Leosghost




msg:4503578
 5:27 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

they are concurrent updates..they are not the same update..nor are they parts of the same update..
Thus .I'm not assuming anything..merely trying to keep threads coherent / making sense..
for example..
The question if your EMD is down, is it gone from images also?

Doesn't make any sense at all as a sentence..

One's EMD may be down..but one's EMD cannot be gone from images..

Unless what you meant to say was..

If your EMD is down ( fallen in position in standard SERPs )for it's KW(s)..has it's position also fallen in image search SERPs for images which are on that domain and previously ranked highly..?

The problem about dealing with both those things ( EMDs and Images ) in one thread is ..an EMD very rarely has all of it's images also with a KW exact match to the domain name in their titles..

Also the main reason for falls in image search is "attribution"..or "dupes"..EMDs may be a factor in some peoples falls in image search, but you can't discuss every factor that you think might be in play, simultaneously in every post in every thread..

That results in cacaphony..[sic]<=faite exprès..;)

Google isn't attributing anyone's EMD to another domain..:) It has merely decided that it doesn't like them..either entirely..or for certain keywords..frequently those in the EMD name..

romerome




msg:4503623
 7:31 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

There were some discussions about a rollback. It looks like the opposite is happening. According to Mozcast

Domain Diversity started to fall on 9/27 it has continued to fall until the last date checked 10/2/2012.

EMD influence has bounced around but on 10/2 was at it lowest point.

Also the percent of traffic by the top 10 domains has increased every day since 9/27.

What kind of interesting is the more G simply serves up the largest sites the less people use Google.

The more google sends people to wikipedia, amazon and imdb the more people will go directly to those sites bypassing G.

Michael Corder




msg:4503626
 7:35 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have two blogs, one popular and long term, all 100% unique, and IMHO well written content. Both have dropped down to at least page 10 of the serps for many keywords, and gone entirely for others. My energy blog went from 150-200 visits a day to Zero on Sept 29, and still has not received any (or just a couple) visits. Appears even repeat visitors were googling the name to find it - just like I do for everything I visit.

My other blog had a couple hundred photos (again mine) that were in image search. Now they appear to be gone entirely as of Sept 29.

Neither one was for profit, neither one had ever been "marketed" in any way, and the personal blog had no advertising or 3rdparty content whatsoever.

robdwoods




msg:4503631
 7:39 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

BTW, I missed the question above somewhere on the effect of this change on domainers. In my experience this update isn't even on their radar. It affects a tiny portion of queries 0.6% and contrary to what one might think, domainers don't tend to think about the SEO value of a domain to a huge degree. Brandability and brevity still determine most of a domain's value and most domainers make their ongoing revenue through direct navigation, which is unaffected by changes in organic rankings.

mihomes




msg:4503655
 8:37 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?


I have an EMD that has been around since 2000 and saw a 10 page drop on main kw's and I would not consider it a low quality site by any means. Hopefully you are not affected, but it could also be it hasn't rolled around to everyone yet as well...

tlainevool




msg:4503661
 8:46 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm suspecting that a lot of what people are discussing in this thread was actually a Panda algorithm update release Thursday the 27th. [searchengineland.com...]

Leosghost




msg:4503677
 9:03 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Which correlates with the "non-EMD" falls reported..( and may explain much of what has happened in "non-EMD image" falls )..thanks for the confirmation tlainevool :)

ps.. I have noticed no real effects in French SERPS as yet..anyone else ?..removal of the domination of crappy shopping engines would have been chouette..

MrSavage




msg:4503682
 9:10 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Bingo, thanks for that. What a bizarre year this has been. Unreal. I'm lost for words. It does appear that optimism for a bounce back by doing nothing is pretty much nil. If anything it's nice to have clarity on this. I can't make sense of ranking in Google anymore. Very very disheartening to me. So this thread is locked now?

tedster




msg:4503687
 9:25 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Note - we now have a thread dedicated to the Panda 20 Update:

Panda 20 Full Update 2012-09-28 - mixed in with EMD changes [webmasterworld.com]

bushib




msg:4503710
 10:13 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Can Google guarantee it will not hit the Branded domains in the near Future?

Or

It simply wants to kill all websites which are doing SEO.

Mr. Cutts why webmasters were misguided for a long time that using EMD is good for SEO and where were your updates at that time?


Regards

robdwoods




msg:4503717
 10:31 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@bushib Google can and will do whatever it wants to do to make it's results better for users. They really don't care what SEOs think, nor should they, we aren't their customers or user base. Not all people will agree the results are better but if they large majority vote with their clicks that the current results are better, this update will stay and likely be refined.

Google isn't trying to kill sites that do SEO, they don't care if you are doing SEO or which sites show up or don't show up in the top 10, as long as there are 10 good results more often than there were before the update.

If SEOs were misguided or taking advantage (and yes I'm in the taking advantage camp) of the fact that EMDs worked really well that isn't all Google's fault. Has Google ever come out an recommended that you get an EMD when you build a new site? If they have never said that you SHOULD use EMDs then understand that they can and will change how EMDs affect rankings. Many of us SEOs were taking advantage of a loophole and now Google is closing that loophole a bit.

viral




msg:4503762
 11:57 pm on Oct 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@tedster

Note - we now have a thread dedicated to the Panda 20 Update:


Can these updates really be discussed separately? Most people have no idea which update has hit them. Which is what I think Google was trying to achieve here.

robdwoods




msg:4503770
 12:21 am on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

@viral

Can these updates really be discussed separately? Most people have no idea which update has hit them.


I think they can and should. If you have an EMD or PMD and your site dropped in the rankings for terms that are also in the domain, you likely got hit by the EMD update.

If you dropped for all terms or don't have an EMD or PMD that matches the queries you care about, you probably got hit by the Panda algo tweak.

You need to do some digging and deduction to figure out which one more likely affected you but if the algo updates are unrealted to each other it makes sense to talk about them separately.

Whitey




msg:4503775
 12:35 am on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Can these updates really be discussed separately

I think they can be seperated into silos :

Quality [ Panda ]
Over Optimization [ Penguin ]

... and sub sets of these :

Images, links, content, design, metrics EMD etc, etc

Panda was always going to morph into something bigger, as each element of Google's focus was made more visible as it becomes tweaked.

However, in the vertical i watch, SEO is really close to being redundant, as all the SERP's are occupied by Google assets on volume traffic keywords. So some of the above is irrelevant for some.

Google seems to be going through a combination of giant clean ups and elimination of visible sites, except for the very good ones, then replacing the positions with it's own assets in the verticals that can turn around revenue for Google for it's performance growth.

There must be a plan at Google HQ regarding the SE product and future timeline. Reading it might make for a scary story for webmasters.

Leosghost




msg:4503777
 12:38 am on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Agree entirely with the last post from robdwoods..

jslnwsky




msg:4503805
 2:50 am on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Wow lots of opinions

soccer_star




msg:4503978
 12:01 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

My EMDs have been hit, down 40% since Sept 28th. I'd hoped they wouldn't be seen as "low-quality" seeing as they all have handwritten, unique content, but the Google algo obviously disagrees. I'm trying to figure out why.

Doing some research here and then examining my sites I have noticed three things which might be the culprit:

1) My site bluewidgets.com is about blue widgets and I do seem to have blue widget or widget in most of my anchor texts. But I don't understand how I'm supposed to avoid that - 99% of people are going to link to me using blue widgets or bluewidgets.com. What anchor text should I be requesting?

2) All of my incoming links are to the home page.

3) I have no outbound links except for ads which I've nofollowed.

Are any/all of these three things the reason my sites are deemed "low-quality"?

jimbeetle




msg:4504025
 1:58 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Are any/all of these three things the reason my sites are deemed "low-quality"?

It might not be any of those three things. It all depends on how google defines quality.

This thread [webmasterworld.com] discusses a post by an Xoogler in which he states that user behaviour, interaction with a page or site (bounce rate, page views, repeat visits, etc.), might be an indicator of quality.

And over the past few days I've had this tug in the back of my mind that maybe entity analysis might be at play here. Is authorship assigned? Is the page shared by visitors? Basically any signals that might help determine if the "thing" really is a thing.

It's really almost impossible to tell what quality signlas Google is using at the moment.

Leosghost




msg:4504030
 2:18 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

3) I have no outbound links except for ads which I've nofollowed.

!

WebPixie




msg:4504060
 3:11 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just this morning we had an example of what concerns me about this update as I think it relates to Penguin. A well respected site that deals with our niche wrote an article recommending one of our articles and our site a whole. This was 100% natural, not bought or traded for. But when they linked to our site they used "Baby-Blue-Widgets.com" as the anchor.

This should be a quality link to our site and in theory a boost, but since they used our keyword URL as the link text might it actually be a negative? Do I write to the site nice enough to recommend our site and ask them to change the link text? That seems a little unappreciative. Even if I did ask them to change the anchor text, what would I ask them to change the text to? Our site is only about baby blue widgets.

gehrlekrona




msg:4504023
 1:56 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)


System: The following 2 messages were spliced on to this thread from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4504021.htm [webmasterworld.com] by tedster - 11:24 am on Oct 4, 2012 (EST -4)


Someone mentioned that they have seen that the old -950 penalty have resurfaced and in checking a site the other day I found out that it was indeed havoc.g a penalty. This morning, after griping about loss of visitors I found another site, my main sure, also have this penalty. I will check all other sites to see if it is a site penalty or a total overall penalty if what it is.
Did anyone else suffer from this after the latest updates? How did we recover last time and why is it showing up again?

tedster




msg:4504056
 3:09 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just because the final effect is sending some URLs to -950 doesn't mean it's "the same penalty." The original penalty was triggered by over-optimization or too much old-school SEO. This -950 drop is apparently triggered by something different.

It seems to be a problem where an exact match domain was ranking mostly because of the domain name but Google decided the website offered poor content. What we don't understand yet is how that "poor content" decision was made. How is it different from a Panda decision, for example.

Because Google updated the Panda algorithm just the day before the EMD Update [webmasterworld.com...] and continued to roll it out for another 3-4 days, it's not easy for webmasters to separate the two updates in their analysis.

However, I don't see how we can find real answers to act on without separating the two. Maybe just returning to the original Panda discussions to evaluate the "shallow content" effect will help. See [webmasterworld.com...]

Lady_K




msg:4504066
 3:34 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, when penguin affected my site in April, my site was moved to around 950 in the google SERPS for my most competitive keyword. Over 5 months later, my site is now on page 23. Before the penguin update I was on page 2, sometimes page 1.

My domain contains keywords, but it's because these words are what my site is about. Luckily the EMD update didn't seem to affect my site. Then again though, my site isn't exactly ranking well just now LOL.

gehrlekrona




msg:4504076
 3:50 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Something must have been turned on with this latest update that triggered the 950 for my site. It is not an emd but I think I can see one thing and tis it lost its "location" rankings. There is still the question about rankings that shows up but no traffic from them. AND there is the question about being able to get ANY stats from Google searches anymore.
Facebook just hit 1 billion users. If they star a search then Google is done and I think they know it. People spend average 30 minutes on FB every day, 5 minutes on Google.

jimbeetle




msg:4504102
 4:34 pm on Oct 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

It seems to be a problem where an exact match domain was ranking mostly because of the domain name but Google decided the website offered poor content.

Not quite, what Matt said was that the EMD algo 'will reduce low-quality "exact-match" domains in search results.' He made no mention of poor content. I think we have to be very, very careful with our language here because we've seen that there are different ways SEs might measure quality.

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