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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.

 

Whitey




msg:4505659
 11:04 pm on Oct 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can confirm my 2 word EMD sunk to last page of search result. No spam, no ads that are even remotely over-the-top, no SEO optimization. Simply sunk for looking a certain way. Wow, this is enlightening.

I'm begining to think that EMD sites overrode the Panda algo to some extent.

With the EMD update that may have been skewed the other way, with little weight given to EMD's if the quality wasn't strong.

The first Penguin update did knock a lot of EMD's around, but not all. This is partly why i think the EMD update was hauled out for special attention and preceded the last Penguin refresh.

@MrSavage - can you confirm this. You talk about possibly thin content and one of many sites. It kinda sounds like you were in the above category.

MrSavage




msg:4505720
 2:56 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm going to sound like a newb, but that's okay. What's a -950 penalty or when you are on the last page of results? Is that the result of over optimization penalty (requiring a reconsideration request) or just because you're on the last page of results it could be a result of Panda, Penguin, EMD algo updates? To be honest I've never looked on last page results until now. What I see I don't like!

tedster




msg:4505725
 3:18 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

The first time anyone noticed a site that previously had a top ranking demoted to position "-950" (in reality just somewhere near the end of the results) it was what turned out to be an over-optimization penalty. In this case, the same demotion seems to be happening, but the cause is more complex.

Here's a summary for the historical -950 penalty [webmasterworld.com]

[edited by: tedster at 5:06 am (utc) on Oct 9, 2012]

Whitey




msg:4505744
 4:36 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

It kinda sounds like you were in the above category.

@MrSavage - but what about this. I think you're looking for reasons, not just effects.

RishiRich




msg:4505862
 10:01 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

what if someone sells the same product in different countries using micro websites whose name is an EMD for that particular country, has no advertisements running on his website but has the same content which is quite obvious because you are selling the same product. you have a local customer support and prices specific to that particular country and you find yourself hit for doing nothing wrong ?

WebPixie




msg:4505956
 2:58 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Tedster

It's going to take a significant change to the site that Google's algorithm can interpret as improvements to quality.


That might be true for some of the EMDs that are light on content and low on quality of content. But I stand by my previously stated theory that a big part of this update was a removal of over-optimization protection for EMDs. For EMD sites hit with that part of this update changing onsite factors is not going to help at all unless it somehow attracts new and more diverse links in large numbers.

All EMD sites are not spammy 4 page wordpress sites made merely to game the SEs.

lewis1




msg:4505958
 3:05 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think WebPixie is correct in that it is a cause of the removal of the over optimisation protections for EMDs. That's probably the most intelligent comment in this entire thread.

The only problem is that we have optimised and built links to site knowing this protection was in place, but now we are suffering from the lack of it.

Wouldn't it just have made more sense to turn the dial down a little, devalue some of the links, etc, instead of getting rid of some many decent sites?

We're not all spammers!

WebPixie




msg:4505966
 3:22 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I do not think there was a penalty put on EMDs. In the niche where one of my sites was nuked another EMD moved up to page two with this update and is currently #11.

My site (baby-blue-widgets.com) has been around for more than seven years, has over 70 pages of original, quality content, bounce stays below 20% and sometimes dips below 10%, time on site is long, page views are high, lots of likes, tweets and pins; and it is -950.

Meanwhile, BabyBlueWidgets.com (without the dashes) has moved from nowhere up to #11 since the update and it a glorified parked page with less than a handful of inbound links. So I am not thinking that this update had anything to do with a penalty for EMDs.

RishiRich




msg:4505972
 3:36 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

My site (baby-blue-widgets.com) has been around for more than seven years, has over 70 pages of original, quality content, bounce stays below 20% and sometimes dips below 10%, time on site is long, page views are high, lots of likes, tweets and pins; and it is -950


Does this mean the search quality has gone down with this new update ? I personally feel it has!

Also do you guys think that Google will make some changes to this resulting in recovery of some of the website hit wrongly

mihomes




msg:4505999
 4:25 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Not that it really matters, but may be of interest to some of you. I went ahead and sent in a consideration request after this fiasco of my EMD dropping about 10 pages.

Little history :

- EMD since around 2000 and has always been a staple for the market, industry, and has been on page 1 up until this year.

- No ad-sense or ads of any kind ever.

- I would call this far from low-quality as have others who know me and the site in question.

Anyways, they sent me an auto response which explained there has never been a manual penalty for the site, however, it states that this does not mean the algo could not have been triggered for something.

Well, two and two together and this is the EMD algo update as it occured basically that day.

zarathustra2011




msg:4506021
 6:05 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not an EMD, and my very old site, has always been updated and kept high quality, yet dropped about three pages for every searchable keyword/s where I ranked highly (I wasn't affected by Panda or Penguin).
I also sent a reconsideration request a day after the algo change, and got the same standard email about having no manual penalty and to check my messages under webmaster tools to see if there were to ever be any problems with my sites in the future.

jimbeetle




msg:4506070
 7:29 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well, two and two together and this is the EMD algo update as it occured basically that day.

Maybe not EMD, there was a fairly major Panda update the same day. That's why there was so much confusion for the first many pages of this thread.

robdwoods




msg:4506122
 8:05 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi all, just a point on nomenclature. This is and algo update not a penalty. The dfference? With a penalty you can usually fix the single issue causing the penalty and get the penalty removed, returning to your former position.

With this update it is highly unlikely you can simply fix one factor and bounce back. Recovery will likely take a long term plan and revamping your site and marketing and may well, in some instances, simply be better to start over if the ROI isn't there with a total revamp.

robdwoods




msg:4506126
 8:09 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

@zarathustra2011 if you are not an EMD, even though you were not affected by Panda before, you may well have been affected by Panda 20 which was released the day before the EMD update, no?

robdwoods




msg:4506130
 8:17 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've seem a lot of anecdotal evidence on the following, perhaps folks can chime it.

Many of the domains I've heard of being hot by the update are really PMDs (partial match domains) with similar modifiers.

I've heard of many instances of:
"-" in the domain, particularly more than one "-"
common modifiers in the domain like "the", "buy", "now"

My theory is that part of the algo update is a common group of modifiers to EMDs to make them PMDs that were targeted.

Without mentioning the domains can anyone chime in as to whether you were hit on the SERP for which you are an actual EMD (emphasis on "exact") or, if you were a PMD, what was in the domain that made you a PMD (common words or punctuation).

zarathustra2011




msg:4506141
 8:39 pm on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

@robdwoods - My site was hit on September 29th. I don't think it was Panda who came after me.

tedster




msg:4506285
 3:15 am on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

The Sept 27 Panda Update took another 3-4 days to roll out. So not every Panda-affected site was affected exactly on Sept 27.

That overlap does make analysis of an EMD loss more challenging - but since both Panda and EMD are aiming to measure page quality, what the fix should involve is not all that different.

JudgeJeffries




msg:4506357
 9:09 am on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Lots of moaning and groaning. Millions of visitors lost. Some people must have improved - who are they. What did they do right. Lets hear from some of them.

lewis1




msg:4506364
 9:25 am on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

@robdwoods, all of mine hit were PMD's but none have dashed in the domain.

ohno




msg:4506366
 9:35 am on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Lots of moaning and groaning. Millions of visitors lost. Some people must have improved - who are they. What did they do right. Lets hear from some of them.

Sadly, as with customer service people are quick to moan. I can't say I blame them, if I was unaffected I'd be reluctant to post up here what I'd done for fear of the next "quality update" shooting it down in flames....................

Shepherd




msg:4506368
 9:39 am on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some people must have improved - who are they


I hear this a lot, people always say for every website that falls another goes up, which is true however it's not always a commercial website that moves up and that makes all the difference in the world.
In a niche that I'm in commercial sites in the serps have been replaced with non-commercial sites, the kind of sites where the owners probably have no clue that they moved up, nor do they care.

scooterdude




msg:4506393
 10:44 am on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Question for anyone:

Do we know whether this is algo penalises the EMD beyond the boundaries of its EMD benefit?


What i mean is, If the webmaster of an affected EMD continues to build/add value to the site on the EMD, would the Algo allow for this and allow EMD to rise in SERPs on merit.

I ask because an unrestricted algorithimic penalty would effectivel render that EMD problematic

furthermore, remembering Panda 1,2,3,,, penguin 1,2,,,,

Who is to say that the next round will not sweep away some of the unaffected, from Google SERPs.

Appologies if this has been answered, tis an Awefully long thread

tedster




msg:4506419
 12:24 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

penalises the EMD beyond the boundaries of its EMD benefit?

For now, I'd say yes the EMD algorithm does that. With some former #1 pages now ranking on page 99 (at minus 950, as they say) it seems clear that right now, some demoted pages have been driven WAY down.

scooterdude




msg:4506424
 12:40 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

That's not what I wanted to hear, now one has to spend small fortune branding some silly name

mslina2002




msg:4506433
 1:16 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

penalises

Gee tedster, surprised you didn't say anything about using the "penalty" word. :)

That's not what I wanted to hear, now one has to spend small fortune branding some silly name

Not necessarily.

I have an EMD that has not been affected by any of the recent algo changes - Panda 20, EMD, Penguin refreshes, etc. I am sure if you look into any niche you will still see some EMD or PMD ranking on page 1. Ofcourse many will report that many of these don't belong there. But in my particular niche, I actually have not seen any movement or hardly any movement on page 1. Out of the 10 sites (average) that are there, 2 are EMD (one is mine) and 1 is a PMD. The rest are large brands. So I guess you can still rank but you have to have something to offer. In my case, none of the larger brands offer what I do.

My take is that in order to rank you need to take into account

On-site content + Off-site factors and links + Competitor analysis --> your rank.

SevenCubed




msg:4506462
 2:50 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sadly, as with customer service people are quick to moan. I can't say I blame them, if I was unaffected I'd be reluctant to post up here what I'd done for fear of the next "quality update" shooting it down in flames....................


That's why I very rarely ever participated in the panda and penguin threads. When I did it was typically just a very casual remark. I knew that even though my sites had remained unaffected it didn't mean I couldn't be affected by a future algo change. And that's exactly what happened with this EMD/PMD change. But what really discouraged me most from posting in those threads was if I posted valid observations based on experience, albeit concepts difficult to accept, they would get shot down. I can't be bothered with trying anymore. It's kind of like when netmeg tries to reason with people about AdSense. Even though I don't use it I still always read those types of threads because I don't know if I may need that knowledge in the future. But when things start getting too fired up here valuable contributors like her step back into the shadows and let people swing away at each other. That's how I feel too.

Of my sites that could have potentially been affected by this only 1 was. I already know what I need to do to get it back from page 2 to page 1 (WebPixie is on the right trail). But, I also know that I need to wait for the site owner's slow period after the winter holidays. It's not broken enough for me to want to tinker with it right now. I don't want to risk have the site drop to the staging region of page 7 in the SERPs for the long-tail terms that are still bringing in regular highly converting traffic.

Simsi




msg:4506473
 3:14 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can't say I blame them, if I was unaffected I'd be reluctant to post up here what I'd done for fear of the next "quality update" shooting it down in flames


Not so much what I'd done as what I "hadn't" done in my case I think. I've never really got involved in linking schemes, exchanges, paid linking or any sort of targetted external linking. A few exchanges pre-2009 I guess but only a handful, now mostly dead. Nor for that matter have I got too many natural links unfortunately but that's not so uncommon in this niche. Each site has some inbound links but I'd guess no more than 15-20 or so, tops and not especially authoratative ones.

Throughout all these Panda/Penguin/EMD changes, across 8 sites (mostly ecom, mostly affiliate, mostly EMD) this last Penguin iteration was the only time I have seen a negative impact and it was only significant on one site, an EMD site I set up purely to hit a specific competitive key phrase which was doing very well but has fallen back to 50% of that. But at the same time, 2 of the other sites rose significantly (not EMD's), probably as a result of sites above them getting hit.

Over that time, most of my focus has been on trying to create content that enhances the user experience. Overall traffic in general has gone up only slowly - 5% a month maybe - but with no Panda/Penguin hits, it's enough that I've convinced myself that sites relying on links to get position are currently artifically positioned and will, as each new Penguin iteration hits, gradually start to fall away. And that includes EMD's as I firmly believe the algo has devalued EMD exact match anchors.

I may turn out to be way off the mark but the good thing is, my sites are getting better as a result of what I am doing. To be honest, I shudder at some of the stuff I had up there before I started this project LOL.

I'm begining to think that EMD sites overrode the Panda algo to some extent.


I would agree but only because content on an EMD isn't really a reflection on the domain name itself necessarily. Penguin would be more likely to whack EMDs imo.

robdwoods




msg:4506555
 4:22 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some people must have improved - who are they

I'll chime in. I improved over the period since the update and the site is definitely an EMD/PMD. I can't attribute it directly to the update however as not all of the sites I have passed in the rankings are EMDs or PMDs. There were a lot of other things going on with the site at the same time including on-site optimization, new content, and some 301s so there were a lot of moving parts.

I'm not afraid of speaking up and getting smacked by the next update. If you ARE afraid of speaking up because you might get hit by the next update my advice would be to start fixing your site now. Do you think you could actually speak up about something that Google doesn't already know and already have in their sights for a future update? There are no tactics Google doesn't know about, just ones they haven't dealt with yet.

I guarantee that if you are using a tactic that currently works but which Google doesn't intend to work, they WILL come after that tactic. The only question is when. Either make hay while the sun shines and accept it when they finally catch up to the tactic, or change your ways now.

MrSavage




msg:4506562
 4:46 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Off topic, but the reason you don't hear these happy cheerful "I got more traffic after this algo update" posts is? It's simply. It's because big websites and brands get say a million visitors. You think a bump of 5% or even 10% means anything to them? Get real. A billionaire doesn't notice a 10,000 cheque going into their account. Nobody hears a tree fall in the middle of the forest. This idea of ooh I'm afraid to post good news here? That's beyond a lame attitude to have.

Regarding this topic. @Whitey I'm not really sure your question exactly. Can you clarify? I'm a bit confused.

I'm still perplexed on this update. I think my EMD that wasn't hit, was spared because it's simply not in a competitive niche. Is it not possible that those of us with an EMD are smashed because it's a more competitive area? In other words Google is comparing you to the competition and when you don't stack up, then you're low quality in comparison. Is this possibly more of a comparison update? You might be a crappy EMD, but there isn't anything much better that Google can shove in front of you. Make sense? Just a theory. Curious if anyone is seeing this. Some nuked, some not nuked. I think it's because a brand or authority outmatches you punch for punch. I wish things were this simple to understand. Like God, it's something we will likely never quite understand, ever.

mihomes




msg:4506566
 4:56 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

@robdwoods

I've seem a lot of anecdotal evidence on the following, perhaps folks can chime it.

Many of the domains I've heard of being hot by the update are really PMDs (partial match domains) with similar modifiers.

I've heard of many instances of:
"-" in the domain, particularly more than one "-"
common modifiers in the domain like "the", "buy", "now"


I was just going to say the same thing after reading an earlier post. My domain uses the format widget1-widget2 and is an EMD. Now that I look at my sites all of those with a hyphen seem to take a huge drop whereas the ones in the format widget2widget2 seem to have taken a few spots drop if that (just talking about before and after ~ 9-28)

Previously I mentioned an opinion that they were determining what was and was not generic words in your domain... remember they use synonyms so how far fetched is it to determine 'how generic' a word is? I still believe this factors in as well somehow as I have seen domains with hyphens yet they do not contain all 'generic' words... which had no drop at all.

BUT this hyphen thing seems to have some bearing... quite a few people have mentioned it and it seems to have affected myself as well... to be honest I never noticed or thought about it till now.

SevenCubed




msg:4506567
 5:06 pm on Oct 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not afraid of speaking up and getting smacked by the next update. If you ARE afraid of speaking up because you might get hit by the next update my advice would be to start fixing your site now.


It's easy to not be concerned about speaking up when you don't participate in controversial threads or express strong opinions. But for more outspoken members, such as me oftentimes, I become a target for those wanting revenge. So by participating in threads where I can't absolutely prove something other than say "I feel strongly about this" I leave myself wide open to verbal assault. I don't need that, it disturbs my inner peace. I'm not afraid of comments about the updates themselves, actually the word fear doesn't hold me in it's grip, I simply know when I should leave well enough alone.

There are no tactics Google doesn't know about, just ones they haven't dealt with yet.


If you are referring to offsite tactics maybe so but there are definitely onsite optimizations that they will never be able to refine enough for, nor have they even taken it into consideration.

Based on my point about being controversial here's an example of me sticking my hand in the fire unnecessarily. I'll go so far as to speculate that when a site exceeds their algorithm's capability of containing it within their predefined limits they will write an exception to push it back down until they can reverse engineer what the site owner did to exceed their predefined score sheet by XX%.

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